West Wing

Episode Report Card
Deus Ex Mehchina

Leo goes to the Oval Office to tell Jed Haffley's arrived. Abby's there, too. She leaves to get dressed for dinner, and reminds Jed that the British PM and his wife will be there in two hours: "Try not to be late." He says, "I won't." Coat flip! Leo asks if he's sure he wants to do this alone. Jed says he'll be fine. Leo nods and heads out. Jed stops him: "Leo: these last months...thank you. Thank you for everything." Wow...the eloquence knocks me to the floor. Seriously, it's a tribute and a credit to the work these two have done together over the years to establish such a deep and meaningful relationship between their characters that I felt anything at all there. For Jed to express himself on this subject with a comment that's about as personal and specific and heartfelt as a mass-produced greeting card is just sad. There needed to be more there. Just as we needed to hear what Leo said to Abby. They keep showing us the wrong stuff, because they don't completely get the characters or why certain things are important. Anyway, Leo nods and brings in Haffley.

Jed sits at his desk and invites Haffley to take a seat next to it. Now Haffley's coughing. Jed says it's going around. Maybe that's the plague on both their houses. They exchange small talk about the "state dinner," and then Haffley launches in with his 3%-for-sixty-days routine. Jed says they're not doing another CR. Haffley sighs, and says that the Oval Office was designed to throw people off balance. Including the President? Because that would explain a hell of a lot over the last few administrations. They yammer about the office (both literal and metaphorical) and the historical responsibilities of POTUS and Congress. Then we get chapter and verse on the involved and protracted process of cobbling together the present 15,000-page budget. Haffley insist that the White House still hasn't cut enough spending. Jed agrees, but points out he wants the Republicans to cut agriculture subsidies and they want him to cut Medicaid, but he'll veto any budget that cuts Medicaid and he knows Haffley won't give on the agriculture subsidies. Haffley says they're back to a CR: "Which I can probably pass with a 2%...." Jed's not playing that: "We were $100 billion apart, and I met you halfway at $50 billion. Then we were $50 billion apart and I suspect if I'd gone down to twenty-five [billion], we'd be $12 billion apart." Then there's a lot of donkey-and-elephant bitching back and forth at increasing volume, culminating in Jed hollering, "I'm not going to negotiate with anyone who holds a gun to my head! We had a deal! I don't care if my approval ratings drop into single digits. I am the President of the United States and I will leave this government shut down until we reach an equitable agreement!" Haffley just peed his pants, but hopes Jed can't smell it.

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West Wing




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