West Wing
Talking Points

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Trade (And Intellectual) Deficits

In the speaker's office, Josh is pleading the case of the trade deal. He offers to discuss any "issues" the speaker may have. "I have no issues," the speaker announces. As it turns out, the Republicans are pleased as punch about this trade deal, because they are West Wing Republicans, and thus don't care about lost jobs or constituents or anything like that, and secretly throw parties every time the rich get an opportunity to screw the poor. Oh, to live in such a simple world. The speaker promises to deliver the votes. "My members love it!" he says enthusiastically. He also says that they knew about the India issue ahead of time -- "and so did the White House." Josh looks ill. "India can have our programming jobs! We'll give 'em up, like we gave up horses and buggies! They can't take away what's great about the American spirit!" Okay, whoever wrote that? Ought to be fucking fired. For the love of all that is good and holy, Republicans aren't going to say, "To hell with programming jobs!" That's absurd. That's one of the clumsiest pieces of bullshit I've ever heard. You think Republicans don't fear their constituents, even if they didn't, you know, want people to have good, high-paying jobs, which they generally do? Nobody in any party blows off 17,000 lost jobs as if they don't matter. This is just...this show has become such a silly caricature of itself that I hardly know what to say anymore. I can see how it has burned out braver women than I.

Josh leaves. "So that's it?" he says. "Unless I can interest you in running for Congress as a Republican!" the speaker piles on. Hilarious! That's exactly what the Republican speaker would say! I tell you, if these idiots ever win another writing Emmy, it's going to reveal that the entire process is corrupt, because OH MY GOD that scene sucked ass. It sucked as much ass as Yes, Dear. It sucked as much ass as My Mother The Car. If I had to watch this scene any more times than I already have, I think I would have to take at least seven shots of tequila before I made the attempt.

Josh waits for Leo in his office. When Leo returns, he asks about the meeting with the speaker, and Josh asks whether it's true that the White House knew the tech lobby was leaning on India -- and, presumably, using the promise of the programming jobs to do so. Leo hedges. "You sent me into that room knowing it might cost the CWA jobs," Josh accuses. Leo says that he sent Josh into the room to close the deal, not to make "economic policy." Josh gets all "I never would have done it if I'd known," and Leo points out the obvious, which is that it isn't Josh's job to judge whether they should or shouldn't make the deal. Josh complains about the promise they made to the CWA during the first campaign, and how critical it was to future union support. "We campaign in poetry; we govern in prose," says Leo. Josh rails about the broken promise to the union that their jobs would be protected. Josh insists that they need to strip the copyright protections out of the trade deal; apparently, he thinks this would cause the job transfers to fall through. Leo brings up the transition assistance, Josh counters about "burial insurance," and then Josh gets all "we're practically putting our nine-year-olds into sweatshops" about it, which is...yeah, okay, Josh. Leo gets irritated and finally tells Josh to move along, basically. Josh accuses Leo of "talking in abstractions," and Leo points out that public policy is about abstractions, and thank you, Leo, because that is exactly correct. The alternative is legislation by anecdote and heartstrings, which is apparently how Josh would have them function. Josh returns to the fact that they made a promise, and that they can't break it, and he's taking the fight to Jed, even "if [he has] to park a tractor on the south lawn to do it." Leo looks shocked at Josh's sudden outbreak of naiveté. But amused, presumably, at the idea of Josh driving a tractor.

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West Wing

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