On Sunday night, May 14 2006, NBC aired the final episode of The West Wing.
Since its debut in September of 1999 when "President Josiah Bartlet," played by
Martin Sheen, told some cartoon-ish conservative religious leaders to "get your
fat asses out of my White House," as ratings fell over the years the prime time
drama regularly advocated liberal policies and showcased liberal causes. From
oldest to newest, this Web compilation provides text and video/audio for a "Top
Ten" presentation of some of the program's most notorious liberal moments and
crusades. Actually, you'll find nine scenes pushing liberal ideas followed by
one unusual scene which mocked liberal opposition to tax cuts.
September 22, 1999, the series debut. Viewers saw how the Hollywood Left
views conservatives as the show concocted a preposterous plot and series of
scenes which portrayed leaders of the Religious Right as anti-Semitic buffoons.
The show culminated with an angry Democratic "President Josiah Bartlet," played
by Martin Sheen, indignantly telling some conservative ministers: "You can all
get your fat asses out of my White House." For more, check the
September 29, 1999 CyberAlert.
Video (4 minutes) is of the scene described below:
Controversy ensues after Deputy Chief-of-Staff "Josh Lyman" says to a Ralph
Reed-type character, named "Mary," on a TV show: "Lady, the God you pray to is
too busy being indicted for tax fraud."
For some reason this concerns the Democratic White House and the staff call
in Mary and several other male Christian Right types so that Josh can
apologize. Mary then demands that in return for "insulting millions of
Americans" the liberal President come around to their viewpoint: "Sunday
morning radio address: public morals, school prayer, or pornography, take your
Mary soon says to Josh: "It was only a matter of time with you, Josh. That
New York sense of humor was just a little..."
A reverend tries to calm her down and Josh points out he's from
Connecticut, but "Toby Ziegler," the Communications Director played by Richard
Schiff, is on to her: "She meant Jewish. When she said New York sense of
humor, she was talking about you and me."
The show soon portrays the ministers as confused by basic religious facts:
Reverend: "The First Commandment says: 'Honor thy father.'"
Toby: "No, it doesn't."
Toby: "It doesn't. No! If I'm going to make you sit through this preposterous
exercise, we're going to get the names of the damn commandments, right. Honor
thy father is the Third Commandment."
Reverend: "Then what's the First Commandment?"
In walks "President Bartlet," limping from a bike accident: "'I am the Lord
your God, thou shalt worship no other god before me.' Boy those were the days,
The Reverend asks Bartlet: "If our children can buy pornography on any
street corner for five dollars, isn't that too high a price to pay for free
The Reverend seems surprised by this logical answer from a liberal:
Bartlet: "On the other hand I do think that five dollars is too high a
price to pay for pornography."
"C.J.", the Press Secretary: "Why don't we all sit down?"
Bartlet: "No, let's not, C.J., these people won't be staying that long."
Turning to one of the ministers, Bartlet demands: "Al, how many times have
I asked you to denounce the practices of a fringe group that calls itself the
Lambs of God."
Reverend Al: "Sir, that's not up to me."
Bartlet: "Crap, it is up to you, Al. You know my wife, Abby, she never
wants me to do anything while I'm upset. Twenty-eight years ago I came home
from a very bad day at the State House, I tell Abby I'm going out for a drive.
I get into the station wagon, put it in reverse and pull out of the garage
full speed. Except I forgot to open the garage door. Abby told me not to drive
while I was upset and she was right. She was right yesterday when she told me
not to get on that damn bicycle while I was upset but I did it anyway. And I
guess I was just about as angry as I'd ever been in my life. Seems my
granddaughter Annie had given an interview in one of those teen magazines and
somewhere between movie stars and makeup tips she talked about her feelings on
a woman's right to choose. Now, Annie, all of 12 has always been precocious
but she's got a good head on her shoulders and I like it when she uses it so I
couldn't understand it when her mother called me in tears yesterday. I said,
Elizabeth what's wrong. She said, 'It's Annie.' Now, I love my family, and
I've read my Bible from cover to cover so I want you to tell me from what part
of Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their divine
inspiration when they sent my 12 year old granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll
with a knife stuck through its throat? You'll denounce these people Al, you'll
do it publicly, and until you do you can all get your fat asses out of my
White House. C.J., show these people out."
Mary: "I believe we can find the door."
Bartlet: "Find it now!"
Video (1:30) is of the scene described below:
Toby goes to see the President in the living quarters where he is
recovering from the flu. He's joined there by "Deputy Chief-of-Staff Josh
Lyman." Toby utters the line to the President: "The era of big government is
President Bartlet: "You want to cut the line?"
Toby reaches into his liberal gut to deliver an emotional appeal for
hardcore liberalism: "I want to change the sentiment. We're running away from
ourselves. And I know we can score points that way. I was a principle
architect of 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 it's failures in the past and in times to come for
that matter, 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. 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."
Toby's sermon convinces the President: "I think so, too. What do you think
Josh: "I make it a point never to disagree with Toby when he's right, Mr.
Video (1 minute) of the scene described below:
The liberal political crusading came when Allison Janney, as Press
Secretary "C.J. Cregg," briefed the press the morning after the shooting. She
used the barely 12-hour-old tragedy to make a political point:
"This is our fifth press briefing since midnight and obviously there is one
story that's going to be dominating the news around the world for the next few
days and it would be easy to think that President Bartlett, Joshua Lyman and
Stephanie Abbott were the only people who were victims of a gun crime last
night. They weren't. Mark Davis and Sheila Evans of Philadelphia were killed
by a gun last night. He was a biology teacher and she was a nursing student.
Tina Bishop and Belinda Larkin were killed with a gun last night. They were
twelve. There were 36 homicides last night, 480 sexual assaults, 3,411
robberies, 3,685 aggravated assaults, all at gunpoint. If anyone thinks those
crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying
guns I'd only remind you that the President of the United States was shot last
night while surrounded by the best-trained armed guards in the history of the
world. Back to the briefing."
In the back of the room a reporter turned to Chief-of-Staff "Leo McGarry"
and opined: "She's good." McGarry agreed: "Yes she is."
Video (2:15) is of the scene described below:
"President Bartlet" walked into the large room where most
people were standing and talking, but "Dr. Jena Jacobs" who was played by a
blond women prettier and younger than the real Dr. Laura (though with the same
hair style), remained sitting, the relevance of which you'll soon see.
Bartlet saw her and became distracted, leading to this
exchange followed by a sermon from Bartlet: "Forgive me Dr. Jabobs, are you an
Jacobs: "A PhD."
Bartlet: "A PhD?"
Jacobs: "Yes sir."
Jacobs: "No sir."
Bartlet: "Social work?"
Jacobs: "I have a PhD in English literature."
Bartlet: "I'm asking because on your show people call in for
advice and you go by the name 'Dr. Jacobs' on your show and I didn't know if
maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced
training in psychology, theology or health care."
Jacobs: "I don't believe they are confused, no sir."
Bartlet: "Good. I like your show. I like how you call
homosexuality ‘an abomination.'"
Jacobs: "I don't say homosexuality is an abomination Mr.
President. The Bible does."
Bartlet: "Yes it does. Leviticus-"
Bartlet launched into an impassioned diatribe which was
interspersed with shots of an uncomfortable Jacobs fidgeting: "Chapter and
verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm
interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always
cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
[silence in the room] While thinking about that can I ask another? My
chief-of-staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2
clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him
myself or is it okay to call the police?
"Here's one that's really important, 'cause we've got a lot of
sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean,
Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves can the Washington Redskins
still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town
really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different
crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for
wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions,
"One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your
monthly meeting of the ignorant tight-ass club, in this building when the
President stands, nobody sits."
Unlike the real Dr. Laura, this one was silenced and after a
long pause she acquiesced and stood up before a proud Bartlet walked out of
Video (52 seconds) is of the scene described below:
The President's personal aide, "Charlie Young," played by Dule Hill,
expresses doubt about the White House position. He and "Press Secretary C.J.
Cregg," played by Allison Janney, have this exchange:
Charlie: "If we want to be energy independent, if we've been relying for
too long on foreign oil, what's wrong with drilling in Alaska?"
C.J.: "It will do huge and lasting damage to the environment and will not
in the long run reap that much oil."
Charlie: "It will have zero impact on the environment. And how do you know
how much oil is down there until you explore?"
C.J.: "You mean drill?"
Charlie: "That's how you get where the oil's at."
C.J. asks an aide to put together a briefing packet for Charlie and soon
after the two meet up again in a hallway and Charlie reveals he has seen the
C.J.: "So as a matter of cold fact, chipper, you'll see that it's the
porcupine caribou and ANWR is their calving ground and you can't put a price
on that, but that's hardly the point."
Charlie, reading from the folder: "36 species of fish, 36 land mammals, 160
different bird species. I admit, this is a lot of wildlife."
C.J.: "Forget the wildlife. It hurts flesh and blood subsistence hunters in
the area, changes migratory patterns in ways we don't even understand,
increases freezing depths of rivers and lakes."
Charlie: "And the emissions from drilling."
C.J.: "Welcome home. It will cause pollutant haze and acid raid and all
this in exchange for?"
Charlie: "Not a lot of oil to begin with."
Later in the two-hour season premiere, in a scene set in the Oval Office,
Bartlet lectured his Commerce Secretary about a global warming treaty: "I think
what’s lunacy is a nation of SUVs telling a nation of bicycles that they have to
change the way they live before we’ll agree to do something about greenhouse
Video (1 minute) is of the scene described below:
The show opened with the crowd on an Indiana farm chanting "four more
Sheen, as President Bartlet, related a joke he subsequently used to slam
Republicans: "You know the story about the guy whose car gets stuck in a muddy
hole. Farmer comes along and says he'll pull the car out of the mud, but he's
going to have to charge fifty bucks because this is the tenth time he's had to
pull it out of the mud today. The driver says, 'God, when do you have time to
plow your land? At night?' The farmer says 'no, no,' night time is when I fill
the hole with water.
"We need to find energy alternatives. We're getting our cue [cue? Hard to
understand what he said], we're getting it right now. The Republicans are
busy. They're trying to convince us that they care about new energy and that
they're not in the chest pockets of Big Oil. And that's a tough sell. I don't
envy them because their only hope is that we don't notice that they're the
ones who are filling the hole with water every night. And I think Americans
are smarter than that. I think we noticed....
"This isn't a time for people whose doomsday scenario is a little less at
the pump for Texaco and Shell. This isn't a time for people who say there
aren't any energy alternatives just because they can't think of any. This is a
time for American heroes and we reach for the stars."
Video (1 minute) is of the scene described below:
McGarry is in a roomful of people being briefed on the situation. A man
identified only as "Paul" informs him that "so far we've evacuated 250 people,
but residents along the shores of the lake have been difficult to reach."
McGarry asks, "Why?" The man tells him: "For one thing, most of them don't
have addresses anymore."
McGarry, exasperated: "Paul-"
Paul: "And for another, there are high winds in the more exposed areas
right along the shore."
McGarry: "Alright. And Canada?"
Paul: "Canada is delivering the Pavehawks inside the hour."
McGarry: "Can someone tell me why this happened? Is this an act of God?"
Woman's voice pipes up from the back of the room: "No."
McGarry, confused: "I'm sorry?"
Paul: "This is Hillary Toobin. She's a hydroclimatologist with the USGS."
McGarry: "What's a hydroclimatologist?"
Hillary Toobin: "An expert in what I'm about to say. Mean temperatures in
Alaska have risen seven degrees in the last 30 years. That's insane. The
temperature hike has caused glaciers to shrink and go backward, leaving lakes
of melted glacier water in their wake. A shift in these collapsing glaciers
puts pressure on the lakes, forcing them to overflow their natural limits, and
killing, this morning, 14 people, not spotted owls."
McGarry, looking uncomfortable: "Are you telling me that the deaths this
morning are the first fatalities of global warming?"
Toobin: "They're definitely global warming fatalities, but I doubt that
they're the first."
March 23, 2005. Hollywood's ideal Republican President, as brought to life
late in the 2004-2005 season on The West Wing, is "pro-choice,"
"pro-environment," will save the party from the "right wing," engineers a deal
to raise the minimum wage and lectures about keeping religion out of politics.
On the March 23 episode, a Democratic consultant told Republican presidential
candidate, "Senator Arnold Vinick," played by Alan Alda, that he can win in a
landslide because he's "moving the Republicans away from the right wing. You're
not saying Democrats are not patriotic." After pro-life leader "Reverend
Butler," who is so intolerant that he rejects Vinick's offer of the vice
presidency, invites Vinick to join him in church,
Vinick lectures a gaggle of
reporters: "I don't see how we can have a separation of church and state in this
government if you have to pass a religious test to get in this government." For
much more about those scenes and others on this episode, check the
April 6, 2005 CyberAlert.
Video (1:20) is of the scene described below:
In the final scene of the episode, Vinick is in front of the
White House at night with a gaggle of reporters when he delivers a lecture
that was clearly meant to denounce the tactics of the real President Bush,
picking up after he touts his championing a hike in the minimum wage:
Reporter: "Senator, are you going to reconsider Reverend
Butler's invitation to his church this weekend?"
Vinick: "I fully respect Reverend Butler's position. I mean, I
appreciate his invitation and, look, I respect Reverend Butler and I respect
his church too much to use it for my own political purposes. And that's
exactly what I'd be doing if I went down there this Sunday, because the truth
is it would just be an act of political phoniness. I may be wrong, but I
suspect our churches already have enough political phonies in them."
Reporter: "Senator, do you or do you not-"
Vinick: "I don't see how we can have a separation of church
and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test to get in
this government. And I want to warn everyone in the press and all the voters
out there. If you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you
are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you, but a lot of them
will, and it'll be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes.
So, every day until the end of this campaign, I'll answer any question anyone
has on government. But if you have a question on religion, please, go to
church. Thank you."
October 30, 2005. Hollywood's fantasy that Republicans could sweep the
nation if they only put up a "pro-choice" candidate animated the episode -- and Janeane Garofalo got in a blast at conservatives. Anti-Religious Right
Republican presidential nominee "Arnie Vinick" is angered by an independent ad
which attacks liberal Democratic presidential candidate "Matt Santos," played by
Jimmy Smits, for opposing parental notification and a ban on partial-birth
abortions, policies the otherwise pro-choice Vinick backs: "Who told them to
drag abortion into my campaign?" Demanding the ad be pulled, Vinick asserts: "Do
you realize how many states my pro-choice position puts on the table?" Later,
remarks: "Vinick's appeal is that he's a different kind of Republican,
moderate, reasonable, pro-choice." Democratic VP nominee "Leo McGarry" relegates
two mainstream positions as far right: "Vinick's the one who won't criticize his
party on this -- partial-birth, parental notification. He's bowing to the
far-right fringes." For a lot more of the dialogue in this episode, check the
November 4, 2005 CyberAlert.
Video (18 seconds) is of the scene below:
Vinick goes to the RNC Chairman to ask that he get the ads pulled. The RNC
guy points outs corporate conservatives and libertarians like Vinick, but
Vinick doesn't speak to social conservative issues.
Vinick to RNC Chairman: "If this were Europe, the Republican Party would be
RNC guy: "Thank goodness they don't have to sleep together. They just have
to show up on the same day and vote Republican."
Vinick, leaning forward at table: "Do you realize how many states my
pro-choice position puts on the table? Do you realize how we can grow this
party if we're willing to reach out?"
An Anti-Liberal Moment:
November 3, 1999 episode, a rare instance of air time to ridiculing liberal
assumptions as "Donna Moss," the assistant to "Deputy Chief-of-Staff Josh Lyman"
played by Bradley Whitford, demands to know why Democrats won't trust her to
spend her own money and so oppose a tax cut.
Video (1 minute) is of the scene described below:
Donna, played by Janel Moloney, as she and Josh walk down a hallway: "We
have a $32 billion budget surplus for the first time in three decades. The
Republicans in Congress want to use this money for tax relief, right?"
Donna: "Essentially what they're saying is we want to give back the money.
Why don't we want to give back the money?"
Josh: "Because we're Democrats."
Donna: "But it's not the government's money."
Josh: "Sure it is. It's right there in our bank accounts."
Donna: "That's only because we collected more money than we ended up
Josh: "Isn't it great?"
Donna: "I want my money back."
Later, they pick up the argument:
Donna: "What's wrong with me getting my money back?"
Josh: "You won't spend it right."
Donna: "What do you mean?"
Josh: "Let's say your cut of the surplus is $700. I want to take your
money, combine it with everybody else's money, and use it to pay down the debt
and further endow Social Security. What do you want to do with it?"
Donna: "Buy a DVD player."
Donna: "But my $700 is helping employ the people who manufacture and sell
DVD players, not to mention the people who manufacture and sell DVDs. It's the
natural evolution of the market economy."
Josh: "The problem is the DVD player you buy might be manufactured in
Donna: "I'll buy an American one."
Josh: "We don't trust you."
Donna: "Why not?"
Josh: "We're Democrats."
Donna, exasperated: "I want my money back."
Josh, snickering: "You shouldn't have voted for us."