Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fourteen Days Of The West Wing - Day 9 (Almost caught up)

There are a lot of strong episodes in the Second Season of The West Wing but there are a couple of scenes of which I'm inordinately fond because it goes tot he heart of why the characters do what they do. First, comes a scene from Two Cathedrals. That episode is justly remembered for Bartlet's rant at God which switches between English and Latin and culminates with the line "You get Hoynes." However this scene, in which Bartlet converses with the "ghost" of Mrs. Landingham goes to the heart of why he is in politics.

Bartlet: Ah... Damn it! Mrs. Landingham!
Mrs. Landingham: I really wish you wouldn't shout, Mr. President.
Bartlet: The door keeps blowing open.
Mrs. Landingham: Yes, but there's an intercom and you could use it to call me at my desk.
Bartlet: I was...
Mrs. Landingham: You don't know how to use the intercom.
Bartlet: It's not that I don't know how to use it, it's just that I haven't learned yet.
I have MS, and I didn't tell anybody.
Mrs. Landingham: Yeah. So, you're having a little bit of a day.
Bartlet: You're gonna make jokes?
Mrs. Landingham: God doesn't make cars crash, and you know it. Stop using me as an excuse.
Bartlet: The party's not going to want me to run.
Mrs. Landingham: The party'll come back. You'll get them back.
Bartlet: I've got a secret for you, Mrs. Landingham I've never been the most popular guy in the Democratic Party.
Mrs. Landingham: I've got a secret for you, Mr. President your father was a prick who could never get over the fact that he wasn't as smart as his brothers. Are you in a tough spot? Yes. Do I feel sorry for you? I do not. Why? Because there are people way worse off than you.
Bartlet: Give me numbers.
Mrs. Landingham: I don't know numbers. You give them to me.
Bartlet: How about a child born this minute has one in five chance of being born into poverty?
Mrs. Landingham: How many Americans don't have health insurance?
Bartlet: 44 million.
Mrs. Landingham: What's the number one cause of death for black men under 35?
Bartlet: Homicide.
Mrs. Landingham: How many Americans are behind bars?
Bartlet: Three million.
Mrs. Landingham: How many Americans are drug addicts?
Bartlet: Five million.
Mrs. Landingham: And one of five kids in poverty?
Bartlet: That's 13 million American children. 3.5 million kids go to schools that are literally falling apart. We need 127 billion in school construction, and we need it today!
Mrs. Landingham: To say nothing of the 53 people trapped in the embassy.
Bartlet: Yes.
Mrs. Landingham: You know, if you don't want to run again, I respect that. But if you don't run 'cause you think it's gonna be too hard or you think you're gonna lose - well, God, Jed, I don't even want to know you.

The other scene is from the episode which introduced Ainsley Hayes, In This White House. She has come from her meeting with Leo, who has offered her a job in the White Houe Council's office despite the fact that she's a Republican and is meeting her smugly partisan friends for a drink.

Bruce: Did you meet anyone there who isn't worthless?
Ainsley: Don't say that.
Bruce: Did you meet anyone there who has any-?
Ainsley: I said don't say that. Say they're smug and superior, say their approach to public policy makes you want to tear your hair out. Say they like high taxes and spending your money. Say they want to take your guns and open your borders, but don't call them worthless. At least don't do it in front of me. The people that I have met have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is good. Their commitment is true, they are righteous, and they are patriots.
And I'm their lawyer.

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