Written by: Josh Singer, Directed by: Laura Innes
John Spencer as Leo McGarry, White House Chief of Staff
(with Teddy Roosevelt)
NBC Photo: Michael O'Neill
- Takes Place: Mostly on Valentines Day
- Broadcast: February 9, 2005
- Query: Who is Professor Lawrence Lessig (played by Christopher Lloyd)?
- Query: What book was Toby reading?
- Query: What part of what Opera was Bartlet listening to?
- The Iranians shoot down a British commercial airliner that they have mistaken for an American spy plane since it drifted into their airspace very close to the area in which the Americans had been sending spy planes. While C.J. deals with that and trying to still allow Bartlet to rest, Toby is helping a Constitutional law professor deal with a delegation from Belarus that is trying to write a founding document for their new democracy. C.J. finds Toby deep in a book. When she asks him about it, he tells her,
- "It's amazing how tricky emergency powers are.... If you're the executive in a young republic, you're going to need some type of emergency power so do you write that into the constitution or does that lead to abuse?"
C.J. is too swamped dealing with the crisis to help him, but to send him a valentine, she assigns him to meet with Miss World.
- Then Abbey returns to complain that C.J. isn't keeping Bartlet away from work. And the British Prime Minister is "overreacting" and the British Ambassador, Lord Marbury, when shown the evidence about the spy planes and the obvious mistake, tells Bartlet,
- "So, it's your fault.... You've been spying on their nuclear facilities.... Why do you think they want you to stop?" Still, Marbury sides with his Prime Minister.
- The Belarus delegation wants a constitution like the United States has but Toby thinks,
- "Your country has a history of brutal dictatorship, I don't think a strong executive is such a good idea.... Half the faculty at Yale Law describes the American Presidential system as one of this country's most dangerous exports.... It is recipe for constitutional breakdown."
'Well," says Professor Lessig. "I can see this is going to be a vibrant discussion."
Later in the discussion with Lessig and the delegates, Toby says, "Only four presidential democracies have lasted longer than 30 years.... You need systemic protection; safeguards that can last beyond a generation. You've got to look beyond the moment, beyond the here and now." At this point in his argument, Miss World shows up to see Toby.
- Toby's meeting with Miss World keeps being interrupted by people trying to meet her. And Annabeth is approached by a reporter who has heard that the President wasn't awakened immediately when the news first arrived about the British airliner and that he was still not up to speak to the British Prime Minister before she went on television. So Annabeth interrupts Toby's meeting to bring him the reporter but really wants to introduce the reporter to Miss World. That actually seems to capture the attention of the reporter more than Toby would have expected. Meanwhile, C.J. and Leo are handling the meetings with Iranians and the French. Bartlet is furious that people are doing his job for him,
- "All I have in this situation is influence. Influence and relationships. If you take that away from me, I am powerless!" C.J. argues with him and he turns and walks away from her.
- Meanwhile, Toby, who is writing a speech for the President to possibly give to the country, and checking on the Miss World reporter conversation, has a moment to get back to the meetings with Professor Lessig and the delegation. He finds them at lunch and complains to Lessig,
- "These guys have to walk out of this building on Friday with a set of laws to take back home to Minsk."`
"Not a set of laws, a sense of the rule of law."
"You're not planning on writing a constitution this week?"
"...the document is just a beginning. A constitutional democracy succeeds only if the constitution reflects democratic values alive in the citizenry.... Which is why our most important job is to instill those values in their leaders through discussion and debate."
- Bartlet is still fuming and complains to Leo,
- "She didn't wake me up this morning. I could have ---"
"What? Prime Minister Graty thinks you are an intellectual snob. A Yankee Doodle windbag. Likely as not you would have made things worse."
"If an American dies and there is even the slightest suspicion of international intrigue, she's supposed to wake me."
"Since when? If I had used that rule, you'd be dead by now of sleep deprivation."
- C.J. finds she can't be pulled in so many directions: Abbey wants her to control Bartlet since he won't control himself to control his MS, Bartlet wants to continue to do as much as he did before. She finally tells both that she has to put the country first. Which leaves the Bartlets to fight it out between them.
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.