West Wing
Opposition Research

Episode Report Card
LTG: B- | 3 USERS: A+
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Lovers' Spat

Out on the porch, Santos tells Josh that he's "road-testing" ideas for his education speech. Josh points out that these are "top-tier activists, and [Santos] just fired their cousin Phyllis." Is there a weekly poll of political columnists who establish which activists go in which tier? Santos makes light of Phyllis's plight, telling Josh, "Next week, we'll be training Phyllis in computer programming." Josh reminds Santos that he should be introducing himself and telling his life story, but Santos points out that Janice and Jamie asked him for his views on education. Josh points out that they didn't like what they heard, and Santos tells him to "unfurrow his brow." Oh, Santos, I think they could really use your services on a certain other show. Santos reminds Josh that he's run for office six times, but Josh is not impressed: "New Hampshire has an education funding crisis. They have no income tax, they can't afford to pay for sixty more days of school." Santos suggests that we need to save New Hampshire from its own moronic policy decisions by "nationalizing the system." (Yes, I do think that having virtually the only source of state revenue be a property tax is moronic. Sue me.) Josh calls that "a half-trillion-dollar joke." Santos thinks that the only way to move discussion forward is to raise these kind of ideas, but Josh thinks that the voters in New Hampshire, like Jamie and Janice, just want to know who Santos is. Santos likens that to a "swimsuit competition." You know, if all candidates looked like Matt Santos, Bingo Bob, and John Hoynes, I might not be opposed to that idea.

Josh suggests actually studying various ideas for education reform before announcing policy initiatives, and Santos wants to know how long that would take. Josh points out that it would cost money: "We've exhausted the donors in your district. One idea is a big fund-raising drive in the Latino community." But Santos is not comfortable with that: "I don't want to just be the brown candidate. I want to be the American candidate." Josh wonders whether Santos would rather go broke "as the brown candidate or as the American candidate." Santos informs Josh that he has reviewed the daily spending reports, and that he thinks they are spending too much on yard signs. Josh is frustrated that Santos is wasting his time and energy on spending reports, and he calls him "Congressman." Santos asks him to call him "Matt," and suggests that they can have this conversation later. Josh doesn't think they can wait: "The Times is already digging around, maybe other campaigns too. We need to get proactive." Oh, I guess this was "the conversation" that Toby wanted Josh to have with Santos -- the conversation about enlivening the campaign with useless management jargon. Santos is opposed to conducting any opposition research, and as Josh is about to start arguing with him, Janice sticks her head out the door: "I didn't want you two to catch cold." Santos tells her that the scheduling problem is resolved, and then he heads back inside to bore them some more. Commercials.

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West Wing

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