If Only Life Reflected Art

BARTLET [sits] What’s on your mind?

TOBY The era of big government is over.

BARTLET You want to cut the line?

TOBY I want to change the sentiment. We’re running away from ourselves, and I know we can score points that way. I was the principle architect in that campaign strategy, right along with you, Josh. But we’re here now. Tomorrow night, we do an immense thing. We have to say what we feel. That government, no matter what its failures are in the past, and in times to come, for that matter, the government can be a place where people come together and where no one gets left behind. No one… gets left behind, an instrument of… good. [pause] I have no trouble understanding why the line tested well, Josh, but I don’t think that means we should say it. I think that means we should… change it.

BARTLET I think so, too. [beat] What do you think, Josh?

JOSH I’d make it a point never to disagree with Toby when he’s right, Mr. President.

BARTLET Then you and Sam get your people together and get to work.

TOBY Thank you, Mr. President.

BARTLET Thank you.

Perhaps, in some alternate universe, Obama would make the argument Toby Ziegler makes to the fictional President Bartlett on The West Wing—with a direct reference to health care. Well, I suppose a guy can dream.

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