Rich Tucker

Good news for the hundreds of millions of you out there who aren’t watching a show that the critics love: You’ll have at least another year to ignore “30 Rock.” Despite low ratings, NBC has renewed the show for another season.

The relative handful of us who do watch (fewer than 7 million most weeks) enjoy the program’s offbeat humor. It’s goofy, but sometimes manages to stumble across a good point. Even if it doesn’t mean to.

Consider a recent episode. Some employees learn that, because he’s a member of a secret society at Princeton, they can force their boss to leave the room by saying “twig and plums.” To show how powerful this society is, 30 Rock includes a clip of Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon news conference.

“Twig and plums,” yells someone in the throng (a reporter for Healthy Tree magazine, perhaps?) and Rumsfeld instantly concocts a flimsy excuse and ducks off the podium. Quite droll. The confident and powerful Defense Secretary, forced from the scene by a yahoo yelling gibberish.

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But the show’s choice of examples is interesting. The real Rumsfeld was an influential leader and a recognizable face. But he left office after the 2006 congressional midterm elections. That’s three-and-a-half years ago. A lifetime, in politics.

Since then, a woman has taken over a Speaker of the House, a black man has been elected president, and Barack Obama has rammed through a sweeping new entitlement program. So 30 Rock actually raises a question here: after more than a year in office, doesn’t President Obama have a powerful (and thus mockable) underling?

But that’s the real joke. He doesn’t.

Quick: name a former Bush cabinet member. Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and John Ashcroft leap to mind. You could also probably identify Condoleezza Rice and Michael Chertoff. Now: name a current cabinet member. Go ahead, take your time.

Let’s see: There’s Hillary Clinton -- is she still the Secretary of State? Oh, sure, she was at a pro-Israel gathering a few weeks back. “As I have assured you on previous occasions with large groups like this and small intimate settings,” she hollered (Clinton never seems to give a speech. She yells them). “For President Obama and for me, and for this entire administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.”

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for