"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” said Santorum, who went on to explain that the Iraq war had drawn the “eye” of the terrorists away from America. “It’s being drawn to Iraq, and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. And you know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”*The question of whether or not Battlestar Galactica can be read as a simplistic political allegory isn't really within the purview of Reed's article, but in laying out his argument against Republican politicians, he does partake of the conventional wisdom, that to take advice from a work of genre fiction (here defined as an undifferentiated lump encompassing both Galactica and Star Wars) is an indication of an infantile outlook and an inability to face reality head-on. The cliché of the genre dork, in other words, extended to the beltway set. In that sense, it is, of course, only right and proper that he should be taken to task (although whether his greater crime is that he oversimplifies the mindset of his opponents, or whether it is that he offends genre fans by once again perpetuating the mouth-breathing, Klingon-speaking stereotype, is not entirely clear to me). As fans of all genres know, taking inspiration from art is only a problem if you reduce that art to suit your own preconceived notions, and use it to prop up whatever decision you had already made.
The Lord of the Rings, for example, can be taken as an allegory of WWII (although personally, I prefer Neal Stephenson's interpretation, which is that WWII itself was an allegory for a much older and more primal story), but only through a extraordinarily superficial reading. Tolkien himself famously shied away from that reading. He understood that, as M. John Harrison puts it, to explain something so completely is to explain it away, reducing it to a single, temporary significance and, ultimately, to an ephemeral half-life as the shadow of the thing it purports to represent. When Rick Santorum used Tolkien's work as a crutch for his government's policies, political commentators may have recoiled from the absurdity of his rhetoric, but Tolkien fans were sighing at yet another simplistic interpretation of a work that, although by no means unproblematic, deserves so much more care and attention than Santorum gave it.
The same, however, can't be said of Battlestar Galactica. The conservative fans quoted in Reed's article may have misinterpreted Ronald D. Moore's political affiliations (at least to begin with), but their brand of unthinking, politically blinkered viewing (and Reed's willingness to buy into it) is exactly the sort that Moore and his writers have been aiming for lately, and thus no more than they deserve. If Galactica's writers prioritize being "topical" and "daring" over the integrity of their plots and characters, then they should be prepared to be watched on that level and that level alone.
There are always going to be stupid viewers. Against every fan willing to surrender themselves and their real-world prejudices to the complexity of an invented universe, there will always be at least one other who believes that all fiction is a roman a clef. In its most recent installments, Battlestar Galactica has been speaking to this latter subset of its audience, willingly surrendering its complexity, and whatever chance it may have had to endure as a work of art, for the sake of causing controversy. For this choice, it deserves to be dismissed as unthinkingly as Brad Reed does in his article, and as blindly as the former fans he quotes.
* And by the way, I find it very interesting that so many of Santorum's political opponents have latched on to his admittedly fatuous comparison, instead of pointing out that, once the analogy is decrypted, what Santorum is saying is that the US plans to prevent terrorist attacks on American civilians by using Iraqi civilians and American servicepeople as a human shield.