West Wing
Constituency Of One

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The 101st Senator

Amy's working in her office when suddenly, without warning, POTUS arrives. She stands up and says, nervously, "Mr. President." Yeah, where's all that "principal's office" bravado now? Jed gestures for Amy to sit, but she doesn't. Jed says they're doing pretty well on violence prevention: "They were going to gut it. First Lady really turned it around." Amy stumbles over her words: "I hope you don't...we probably should have run it through, um, Legislative Affairs...." You mean, like you would have if you understood how to do your job? You mean, like Josh told you to? Jed: "Nah, I'm not going to have Abby jump through hoops." Amy: "You know, intimate partner violence affects more people than breast cancer [does]." Jed: "How many calls today?" Amy: "Sir?" Jed: "The First Lady -- how many calls did she make to members of the Subcommittee today?" Amy's mental wheels spin in the muck and she says nothing. Jed continues: "No calls. She's hiking in the White Mountains. She made no calls. You made them." Amy emits a little sound and then says, "It's a cause she believes in...." Jed: "Don't tell me what she believes." Amy: "I'm telling the Congress...this isn't...." Jed: "My wife is not a budget appropriation. She's not a line. Don't put words in her mouth. Don't treat her like she's your blank chequebook." Jed turns to go, and Amy, looking tearful, takes off her glasses and says, "Due respect, sir, it's what she'd want." Yeah, that wasn't a good idea. Jed turns and says with authority, "She has to be here to want things!" He adds, "And you don't have to be here at all." Amy's taken aback. She always seems like the sort of person who would throw rocks at a window and yet be surprised when it breaks. Has she no foresight, no ability to imagine that actions have consequences? Also: man, I'm sure it's not fun to have your ass chewed by Bartlet, but I'd be more upset that Martin Sheen had talked to me that way than Jed Bartlet. But as a viewer, I usually enjoy it when Jed's mad. Martin Sheen sure can bring the pissitude.

An assistant I'm pretty sure we've never seen before is working with Toby. Where is Ginger? Where's Bonnie, for that matter? Wastin' away again in Mandyville, I suppose. Toby and the assistant are hassling over the colour-coding of the message calendar. Will arrives, and Toby asks if he got VPOTUS to sign off. Will: "Not exactly." Toby: "What did you get, exactly?" Will: "He offered me a job last night as his chief strategist." Toby laughs. Will would like to know what's funny. Toby: "Russell's an empty cowboy suit; you work for the leader of the free world...." Toby makes vague weighing gestures with his hands. Will corrects him: "No, I work for a guy who works for a guy who works for the leader of the free world." Sounds like somebody's already made his decision. Not-Ginger comes back to tell Toby that the Treasury Secretary is ready in the Roosevelt Room. Will walks into his office and tosses a paper down with annoyance. Toby reminds her that he needs the calendar, and walks into Will's office. Will says, "He has private lunches with the President. Direct access. He's not taking orders from us." Toby asks what he told Russell. Will hasn't told him anything -- yet. Toby: "You're not considering it." It's not a question. Will says that the clock's running out. Toby: "You are not considering it!" Will asks how many months they're going to spend making calendars. Toby: "You think I want to be making calendars? You think I like being in a PR dogfight with Congress, writing banner copy for photo ops?" He's yelling now. Not-Ginger reminds Toby that the Treasury Secretary is waiting, adding, "Did you want all this flush right?" Toby looks at Will, as if he doesn't know what to say. Then he turns to Not-Ginger: "Calendars aren't...." He sighs. "It's a calendar. Make it look like a calendar. How hard is that?" He turns to Will and says, "This is the NBA. You don't go back to shirts and skins." Somehow that point might be more compelling if he weren't being asked for guidance on margins by an assistant. Will looks unconvinced.

Amy walks down the hall to Josh's office, walks in, and sits down. Josh is typing away, and takes note of her arrival, but doesn't say anything. She waits in vain for him to show her the kind of empathy in which she herself is so resplendent, finally commenting, "'Gee Amy, looks like you've had a tough day. Why don't you tell me all about it while I give you a foot massage?'" Ugh, again with her feet. Josh shoves his keyboard drawer in, pushes his chair back, and says, "Okay, let's talk about the fish. You don't understand this building." Amy: "Not being an architect or a steamfitter." You know what? Maybe not so much for you with the metaphors. Josh isn't kidding around: "I'm talking about a code, an ethos you don't understand. Amy: "Josh, I was just...." He brings up the story in the Post, saying: "All those anecdotes, all those quotes came from you." Amy: "Happy birthday." I can't tell if she planned it for his birthday, or is just making a smart remark now that she can see he's not happy about it. Josh: "We don't glorify ourselves! How is the President going to feel when I've got better press than him [sic]? How's every punk Congressional staffer going to feel when I'm taking victory laps the week after losing a key vote?" Amy: "They'll feel like you're not going to lose the next one." Josh: "We don't advertise! It's not the code." Amy asks, "It's not the code to look strong to your constituents, to build yourself up so...." Josh: "The only constituency that matters in this building is the constituency of one: the guy in the round room, and that's who [sic] I work for." Amy stands up, complaining as she walks out, "I came here to be work on issues, not to be part of a messianic cult." Josh says, "You serve the issues by serving the man." Amy turns around and says, "Well, I'm pretty sure 'the man' just revoked my parking privileges!" Josh asks what she's talking about. She says she's pretty sure she was just fired by POTUS for doing her job. She seems close to crying. Josh: "HHS appropriations." Amy nods, "Sort of." Josh advises her to go and apologize. Amy: "I've got a constituency of one, too, Josh, but it's me." Josh and Amy both notice that Donna's appeared at the door, looking uncomfortable and sheepish. Josh gets up and walks out to talk to Donna, asking Amy to hang on for a second.

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West Wing




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