West Wing
Inauguration: Over There

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Deborah: C+ | 1 USERS: A+
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March of the Wooden Soldiers

Thursday. Three Days Before Inauguration. Will is in his office working, trying to ignore the insistent bouncing of Toby's ball against the window between their offices. He finally goes into Toby's office asking, "You're not ever worried about the window breaking?" Toby: "During moments of peak frustration. When the Speaker of the House threatened to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. A couple of Yankee games. And there was the time Congress censured my boss. But it's always held up, that window. That window's a game-day player." Toby wants to talk to Will about what he said to the President. Will recounts his conversation with POTUS. Toby: "Didn't we talk about this? But you gave it a shot anyway?" Will says he wasn't giving it a shot, it was just casual conversation. Toby says the Dow plummets because of casual conversations with the President. He tells Will that he can't get into the President's head this close to something this important: "You've got to keep the train on the tracks." Will apologizes, adding, "But there's a..." Toby says there's no "but" at the end of that sentence: "Not on this one. This one haunts him. It haunts everyone." Good. It should haunt everyone. Will stands up, duly chastised, and says he finished the language. Toby asks how it is. Will: "Bloodless, compromising, and half a loaf." Toby, opening the door and walking to Will's office: "That's foreign policy."

Will sits at his desk and reads from his laptop: "'America stands today as the one truly indispensable nation.'" Oh, God. "'The strongest force and the proudest voice for peace, pluralism and prosperity the world has ever known." Toby: "Okay. Keep the Ancient Romans out of the first ten rows and we're fine." Will continues, "'Today, at the dawn of a new century, America needs a new commitment to protect our own security and model freedom to the world.'" Toby: "To 'model' it?" Will: "I figure if we're not going to create freedom from tyranny, let's at least sell some Barcaloungers." Barcaloungers? Isn't that kind of a dated reference for someone Will's age? Are they even still made? ["Apparently." -- Wing Chun] Toby: "The U.S. doesn't help create freedom from tyranny?" Will: "I forgot to add, 'where our own interests aren't necessarily involved.'" He reads on: "'To do what we can to fulfill humanity's promise and to prove that self-determination is the watchword of all mankind.'" Toby: "'The watchword of all mankind'? I don't even know what that means." Will tells him not to worry; no one else will, either. Toby emits a little sniff of impatience and says, "The speech is good. It's better than good. There's one paragraph that's vague and we're gonna live with it." Will: "Which is more than you can say for the Kundunese." Burn! Toby glares at Will briefly and says he'll be in his office. Will calls, "I heard once -- I don't know if this is true -- I heard once that you convinced the President to let you rewrite a section of the State of the Union with less than twenty-four hours to go. It was the second year and everybody was a Republican, whether they were or not, and people at the DNC had convinced him to include the line, 'The era of big government is over.' And you couldn't live with it. Because government should be a place where people come together and no one gets left behind. An instrument of good. And that's exactly what we heard in the State of the Union the next night." Toby looks slightly dumsquizzled: "There were maybe four people in the room when I had that conversation." Will: "Well, if I'd have been one of them, I would have repeated it to everyone I met. Anyway, I'm going to move on to some language in trade and commerce." Toby goes back to his office. Credits.

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