“The West Wing,” the parallel universe for liberals during the benighted Bush years, is being cancelled after seven seasons. Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes reports:

“Martin Sheen, who has played our fantasy president for seven seasons, was asked to reflect on what the show has meant to the country over the years.

“‘We can be very cynical about the people that lead us,’ he said, adding that he hoped the show managed ‘to make people realize that being a public servant is an honor . . . and that so many good and decent people do it and never get any credit.

“‘We were a fantasy but we had a parallel universe to reality,’ he continued. That changed radically, he said, when the Bush administration came into office and then 9/11 happened and ‘the country moved much further away from the center and we felt we were dead in the center and we gave everyone a fair shot.'”

No doubt many factors played into the decision to end the fantasy White House-the death of the talented John Spencer, who played political operative Leo McGarry, and declining ratings (though the show still has TV’s most upscale audience!).

But I’m wondering if there’s a subliminal factor: The new fantasy president next season was to be Matt Sanchez (played by Jimmy Smitts), the first ethnic president. Did the possibility that the GOP is more likely to have a non-white candidate (Dr. Rice) than the Democrats (most likely plantation mistress Hill), influence the decision to vacate fantasy island?