West Wing
The Cold

Episode Report Card
They Took Their Sweet Damn Time

The freight elevator opens and the Santos campaign members walk out into the sun. Leo, with a phone to his ear, tells them, "The 'Santos education plan' is now the 'twenty-first century education plan.'" And so on. Josh is going to have Joey Lucas poll some of the new language, and Bram asks what state he should have Advance prepare for first. Josh: "That's easy." Santos: "California." They all hop in their various SUVs and limos. And, whoops, Josh and Donna have ended up sitting in the back of an SUV together. They each breathlessly say "hi" as the SUV pulls away.

Vinick and company are walking down the aisle of his campaign jet. Sheila is trying to make him drink some medicinal concoction. He refuses, on the basis that it looks like Hawaiian Punch and smells disgusting. Bob, master of the obvious, tells Vinick that they've lost voters due to the nuclear accident. He thinks that, in time, those voters will return to the Vinick fold. The problem, as Bruno notes, is that "a cycle like that takes a month." Which is nine days more than they have. And then Sullivan is there, arguing that they have to go after the Republican base. Sheila doesn't want to hear it, but he continues: "We have had a good time always running for the center. But the party's over. You're a Republican, you need to start talking to the Republican, conservative base." Bruno is even more hostile than I would be, telling Sullivan, "Nail him to the cross. He can stump for votes on the Via Dolorosa." I'm surprised Sullivan didn't punch him right there. Sullivan calmly tells Bruno, "I am the only person talking to values voters." Bruno, dripping sarcasm, responds, "You are doing a fantastic job." Sullivan thinks that if those voters don't hear from Vinick, the campaign will lose the southern states. Bruno points out that the undecided voters they need to win back are moderates, not conservatives. Sullivan thinks the only way Vinick could win the moderate undecideds back is if he "suddenly pull[ed] the Arnold Vinick Health Care Plan out of his tailpipe." Vinick asks, "Would that qualify as a miracle? They like the miracles, your people." I'm sorry, "your people"? I can't believe they're actually making me feel some sympathy for Sullivan.

Bob suggests a negative ad blitz. Bruno hates the idea; Sullivan loves it. The fight goes on for a while, and in the end, Vinick agrees with Bruno. Except that he seems to think that he's disagreeing with Bruno, and has to be reminded that Bruno also hates the idea of negative ads. And then Vinick gets confused about what Sullivan's role in the campaign will be. And I didn't realize that sneezing was an early sign of quick-onset dementia. Sheila tells them that they'll stick with their existing strategy, with minor modifications. Sullivan asks, "So you're sticking with the fifty-state strategy?" Sheila doesn't answer, and Sullivan points out that they can't win fifty states anymore. She doesn't disagree, but still thinks it's the best strategy they have. Someone hands Sheila a note, and she tells Vinick that he has a meeting with Pensy and Carolton. Somehow, this meeting has something to do with Vinick going after the Republican base, which he thinks will make him look like an idiot. Sheila points out that Sullivan will go after the base, and that all Vinick has to do is "make nice with Pensy and Carolton." Vinick leaves. Sullivan proposes setting up a lunch with Sheila to discuss his message, and Bruno thinks they have time to discuss it right away. Sullivan doesn't even look at him, and just waits on Sheila for an answer. Bruno, quick on the uptake, gets that Sullivan doesn't really want to discuss it with him. Sullivan leaves. Right now, I'm kind of missing Governor Ritchie. The Republicans would be a lot easier to recap if all they did was kind of grunt and scratch themselves like they did back then.

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West Wing




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