West Wing
Talking Points

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Trade (And Intellectual) Deficits

Anyway. "If auto makers innovated the way we do," Lobbyist Frank says proudly, "cars would get 100,000 miles to the gallon and cost 50 cents." "They'd only be this big," Josh says miserably, holding up his thumb and forefinger. HA! Best line of the episode, by far. Not that this is saying very much. Josh begs the guy at least to spread the layoffs over a couple of years, but nothing doing. He begs for retraining, but the guy won't budge. "Is that what you told the head of your union?" Josh says as the guy is leaving. Lobbyist Frank says no, but that Josh can feel free to tell him. Lobbyist Frank is pretty confident that the union is probably in touch with the White House. Yeah, no kidding, if by "in touch" you're referring to the touch of the union's icy fingers around Josh's scrawny neck.

We move to the monitors behind C.J. and Toby, which are blaring out the farmer protests in Europe. Toby is telling C.J. something meaningless about playing footsie with Reuters on the plane, but she's busy sniffing out the fact that there's something rotten about the media ownership standard of 39.37%. Noooooo, you think so? You think that when a bizarre benchmark comes out of the air with a bunch of decimal points in it, it might be there to avoid cooking some particular interested party's bacon? Good God. Welcome to your first week in any political job. Toby claims that it seems to be a good compromise, since the alternative was 45%. C.J. questions the weird number again. Toby blows off her concern. "The FCC's totally independent," he says preposterously. C.J. goes on about big business absorbing local media and so forth, but just then, Carol appears in the door to tell them that Ben is stopping by. C.J. tells Carol to tell Ben he can't come by, but that she'll call him from the plane. "You're going to Belgium; he wants to make sure you don't sample the endive," Toby says with a smarmy wink. C.J. says that she can't become "one of those women who sits around eyes a-fluttering, waiting for her man." "'Eyes a-fluttering'?" Toby asks. "You know, parasols a-twirling," she says. Duh, C.J. Everyone knows if you do you're a-fluttering and you're a-twirling at the same time, you'll poke yourself in the eye. C.J. yells to Carol that she'll call Ben from the plane. Toby gets up to leave, and C.J. asks again why no one can explain the 39.37% figure. "You want to crack that code?" Toby asks. "Follow the money." Oh, good. Because stupid C.J. never would have thought of that. Money! It's about regulated companies who have money! Next, they'll be telling us that there are people who give of their own personal private funds to support political candidates, who then are allowed to meet with those candidates in person. Somebody dab my forehead with cool water, would you? With this pearl of wisdom duly dispensed, C.J. asks Carol to pull last year's media ownership records from the FCC. Because maybe...just maybe...dun dun duuuuun!

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West Wing

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