By watching the show again, some episodes after 10 years, I conclude in hindsight:
The show reached its peak with the final episode of season 2. They totally lost it when Rob Lowe left the show. Afterwards to many new character were introduced and those characters never really got a hold in the story line. For instance the Lowe replacement or the new security adviser. Terry O'Quinn as one of the generals is a good example as well. Usually it's a shark sign if O'Quinn joins a show. I guess it's safe to say at least season 5/6 where a total waste of time. Let's be candid, doesn't the oval office provide enough political stories or do we really have to watch shootings and kidnappings on the lead actors every season finale? However, series 7 provided somehow a comeback with focusing on the Santos campaign. But it never matched the first 2 seasons.
BTW, could somebody please enlighten me why Barlet in season 7 all of a sudden started to call everybody "kid"?