West Wing
The Lame Duck Congress

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
Lame Duck Soup

Ainsley and Sam show up in Leo's office. Leo announces that "Dr. Zhivago" is outta there. Sam says that they want to recommend that they back an amendment (endorsed by the Commerce Department) to a bill that would help small businesses with fraud prevention and employee theft. Leo asks whether he's got numbers. Sam hands Leo a file. Sam cites some statistics from an independent study he says he has faith in: "Thirty percent of workers plan to steal from their employers; 30% give in to occasional temptation; 5% will commit fraud regardless of circumstance; 85% will commit fraud given the right circumstances." Sam explains that the "right circumstances" are "need, opportunity, and the ability to rationalize their behaviour." He elaborates that it's called "The Fraud Triangle." He feels that it will help them out when they want to raise the minimum wage, since it's small business owners who are most opposed to hiking it. Leo asks whether Sam wasn't going to go the other way on this; Sam admits he was, but that he got turned around. Leo says, "Okay, good. Thanks." Sam starts to go, Ainsley tries to wedge in a couple of words but Sam hustles her out. She asks, "That was it?" She says she doesn't understand what just happened. Sam says, "Leo said yes. We're in." She insists that she doesn't understand. Sam explains, "Leo said yes. That's the end of the meeting." She protests that she was just talking. Sam says, "Well, we play with live ammo around here. You convince me, I convince Leo, Leo'll convince the President." She seems genuinely distressed. He adds, "It's a short day, Ainsley, and a big country. We've got to move fast." She says that Sam has to tell her when this is going to happen. How naïve are you, girlie? She asks if this is how they decide to go to war. Sam says he doesn't know: "I'm usually not in the room when they do that." She keeps whining. He's losing patience and leaves his office, yelling, "Could somebody get her a cupcake or something?" That must be the one grain-based carbohydrate snack she hasn't scarfed today. ["Scone? Turnover? I feel her." -- Wing Chun] She stands in his doorway, as the camera slowly whirls around three hundred and sixty degrees to show all the people busily working around her, and comes back to rest on her. She almost smiles, and then struts off, feeling her oats, I guess. ["Oats! Hee!" -- Wing Chun]

Back in the Oval Office, Charlie announces Toby's arrival, and Jed thanks him and dismisses him for the night. Jed seems aware that Marino would abstain. He tells Toby that Marino was a great public servant, and a great senator. Toby asks, "Didn't Edmund Burke say that a representative owes not just his industry, but his judgment, and betrays you if he sacrifices his judgment to yours?" Jed says, "Yeah, and then he was voted out of office five years later by the people of Bristol." Toby says that's not the point. Jed says he knows, but the fact is that there are opponents of the treaty on both sides of the aisle: "You gotta respect'em, Toby. They're politicians, and they're flying in the face of overwhelming public opinion." Toby asks mildly, "I have to respect senators for defying 82% of the American people?" Jed replies, "Can I tell you something honestly? This is one of those situations I could give a damn what the people think. The complexities of a global arms treaty, the technological, military, diplomatic nuances...it's staggering, Toby. Eighty-two percent of the people can't possibly be expected to reach an informed opinion. You want to call a session anyway?" Toby says, "No...if we lose, and we will, we'll be cut off..." They both look slightly defeated. Jed adds, "You know what we forget sometimes? In all the talk about democracy, we forget it's not a democracy, it's a republic. People don't make the decisions, they choose the people who make the decisions. Could they do a better job choosing? Yeah. But when you consider the alternatives..." Well, that was an in-depth examination of other political models and possibilities. He says that Abby's in New Hampshire, and invites Toby to come up and have a cigar. Toby looks like a sad little kid who lost a baseball game. Jed says, "The day is over, Toby. We'll live to fight another one. Come on up, I'll beat your ass at chess." Toby asks, "Are you baiting me, Mr. President?" and kind of scuffs the carpet with his foot. He sure is adorable for a guy who smokes cigars. Why do my two favourite characters smoke cigars? Revolting. Jed cheerfully says, "Yes!" Toby reluctantly agrees and they motor off. Some guy comes in and turns off the lights in Jed's office as the Music of Victory Forestalled (tm ragdoll) plays.

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West Wing




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