West Wing
Let Bartlet Be Bartlet

Episode Report Card
Strega: B- | 3 USERS: A+
Let Bartlet Be Bartlet

Josh runs into Toby and Sam in the hallway, and tells them about his nominees. Or potential nominees. Toby tells Josh, "It's our turn with the boys," and Josh continues on his way as Sam and Toby enter the meeting room. A large number of men in uniform, and some men in suits, take their seats as Toby and Sam sit down at the table. Toby explains, "We feel a little hamstrung because of the policy inherited regarding gays and lesbians in the military, and we'd like as much informed input as possible before making recommendations to the President." A major asks what consequence their recommendation will have. Sam says, "Bearing in mind that the President seldom, if ever, listens to my recommendations, I would imagine the consequences to be little." Then he adds, "If the Commander-in-Chief orders that gays can serve openly in the military, that's the way it's gonna be, and anybody who chooses to disobey that order can stand court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice." Unnamed Major #2 opines, "It takes an act of Congress to amend the Uniform Code, and the Uniform Code makes sodomy a crime." Toby smiles grimly and says, "I guess it's gonna be a pretty short meeting."

Donna gives C.J. some facts about the egg roll, which is an Easter event at the White House and not a tasty Chinese appetizer, and mentions that Mandy is in C.J.'s office. C.J. goes to her office, confirms Mandy's presence, and closes the door. Mandy hands C.J. a manila envelope containing the memo. C.J. asks who else has it, but Mandy doesn't know. C.J. says she'll read it now, and tells Mandy, "Go back to your office and don't answer any questions." ["Mandy has an actual office? We've never seen it." - deborah] Nervously, Mandy asks, "You'll call me when you're done reading?" C.J. looks up and says, "I'd count on it." Mandy exits, perhaps stopping on the way to her office to pick up some empty boxes so that she can start packing.

Over lunch, Josh talks to some people about campaign finance reform. Blah blah soft money, blah blah political action committees, blah blah corruption-cakes. Paul Provenza listens to Josh's lecture with amusement. Josh finally gets to the point and explains, "The President is strongly considering John Ranford Bacon and Patty Calhoun to fill the two seats." Provenza says, "I'm pretty sure we've already got our two guys." Apparently they've selected Grant Kalen and Joe Barkley. "Who will oppose any campaign finance reform," Josh notes. Provenza bobs his head up and down like a parrot as he says, "The party leadership's gonna choose a Republican. The party leadership's gonna choose a Democrat. That's the way it's always been, that's the way it's gonna be, that's the way it is." Then he takes a dainty sip of coffee while Josh sniffs that it's the President who makes the appointments. Provenza snaps, "And the Senate confirms them!" He threatens, "Embarrass us like this, and we will give the same back to you tenfold. Every piece of legislation [that] the White House wants off the table will make a sudden appearance." Another, less recognizable, actor details the items: "541, school prayer, family support act, the entertainment decency act..." "English as the national language," adds another vaguely familiar, but not quite recognizable, guy in a suit. Josh wonders, "Wouldn't it be easier to just not confirm our nominees?" Provenza says they'll do that, too. Josh is stunned by the idea that there would be political retribution for the nominations. Sometimes Josh is just a little bit naïve. Provenza explains, "You know why? Because you know, if you do this, you're gonna lose, and we're gonna look bad winning." Josh gets fed up, and snaps, "Reject whatever you want! You know, four hours ago, this was a fool's errand, and the President knew it. This was a test balloon, this was a 'just out of curiosity, let's see what would happen if' meeting. But you've managed to get me on board." One of the suits declares that there's a caucus, and they all scamper out, leaving Josh alone at the table. To this day, the word "caucus" makes me think of the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland which has probably influenced my view of politics significantly.

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West Wing




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