West Wing
The Red Mass

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The Fortune-Cookie Candidacy

Sam arrives in Leo's office, noticing that one of his office doors doesn't work. He asks if Leo knows who Horton Wilde is. Leo thinks the name is familiar. Leo remembers that he's running in Orange County. Sam tells him Wilde's in the hospital with a heart attack. Leo says he's sorry to hear it, and that they'll send something. Sam says it's Wilde's fourth heart attack: "In the Idaho 2nd we're running a guy who lost the race for city council. In the Texas 22nd our candidate's an electrical engineer who paid his filing fee by dumping the cash out of a cigar box." So only well-heeled lawyers and millionaire businessmen should get to run for office, or should be taken seriously? Sam goes on with his examples of weak Democratic candidates. Leo tells Sam he named three districts that are impossible for Democrats: "Finding qualified sacrificial lambs ain't easy." Sam says the "D-Triple C" (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) tries to raise money by saying they're taking back the House, but it doesn't look like they're giving it the old college try. Margaret tells Leo he has a call on line one. Leo says they're putting their resources where they'll be most effective. Leo takes his call while Sam paces around. He asks the caller to fax something over, and sits at his desk. Sam: "We didn't get the five." Leo shakes his head. They got two debates. Sam can't believe it. Leo yells for Margaret and asks her to let Josh, Toby, and C.J. know that the report is out, and that it's two debates. She's wearing a suit, even though it's Saturday. Have we ever seen Margaret in more casual clothes? I can't think of a time. She leaves. Sam asks whether they gave a reason. Leo says they're faxing it over. Sam asks, "Don't we want one debate alone on new global threats? I guess I mean to say, doesn't everybody want one debate..." Leo doesn't know.

Leo asks Sam if he reads much international news. Sam says, "Herald Tribune...whatever C.J. puts in front of me...Agence France." Leo assumes he's read about Qumar reopening the investigation of Shareef's disappearance. Sam: "Yeah. Watch. They're going to say Israel had something to do with it." Leo asks whether that's what Sam thinks. Sam shrugs: "What do I know? Shareef was a bad guy. Feels like he had money in the Bahji cell." I've spelled it as the closed captioning does. He pronounces it Bah-hee. Is that how they pronounced it in "The Black Vera Wang"? I don't remember. Shack, bless his heart, wrote that one. Leo: "He did. He was also behind the plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge." Sam: "Bridges and tunnels. That's my nightmare. What's yours?" Leo: "Well, now it's bridges and tunnels, Sam." Sam: "Then my work here is done." Leo leans forward and says, "It's that I don't know what winning looks like. What does it look like? Is it...I mean, is it honestly the U.S. flag flying over Mecca? Is that what's gonna straighten this out? And, if that's the case, why are we postponing that? What are we hoping is gonna happen in the meantime?" If I told you what I actually said to my TV at this point, Wing would probably have to edit it out. Several forum posters believe that this remark was not being "seriously" proposed as a solution to terrorism against the United States. Be that as it may, the fact that he even comes up with it as an example of what "winning" against terrorism would look like is extremely telling and, not incidentally, totally misguided. Once again, just because, gee whiz, I never get tired of saying it, the source of terrorism is not located in the Ka'aba, nor in the theology of Islam. This is just the sort of casual, gratuitous, and twisted remark that I've come to expect from this show for over a year now, so I'm not at all surprised. I'm just really glad we're always "raising the level of debate." Sam hesitates and replies, "That somebody'll think of something, before we have to do the unthinkable." Leo: "You're one of the big minds of your generation. Have you thought of anything yet?" Sam says he hasn't. Leo says he hasn't either, adding, "Neither has the President of the United States -- also a pretty good mind." Sam: "The Golden Gate Bridge?" Leo, who's gone back to his work, says, "Yeah."

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