King first tried to write Under the Dome (1,072 pages) in 1976. The book, about a town that suddenly discovers itself trapped underneath a translucent, impenetrable dome, draws its political undertones from King’s frustration with the latest Bush Administration.
King: I was angry about incompetency. Obviously I’m on the left of center. I didn’t believe there was justification for going into the war in Iraq. And it just seemed at the time, that in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration was like this angry kid walking down the street who couldn’t find whoever sucker punched him, and so turned around and punched the first likely suspect. Sometimes the sublimely wrong people can be in power at a time when you really need the right people.
I put a lot of that into the book. But when I started I said, “I want to use the Bush-Cheney dynamic for the people who are the leaders of this town.” As a result, you have Big Jim Rennie, the villain of the piece. I got to like the other guy, Andy Sanders. He wasn’t actively evil, he was just incompetent — which is how I always felt about George W. Bush.