**Editor's Note: It occurred to me last night, and no, not for the first time, that The West Wing is political and historical... so it is within my blog boundaries (not that I ever really stay true to the rules of posting on political and historical subjects only). One epiphany later and I have decided that Mondays (or Tuesdays if I forget on Mondays) will be reserved for a post on the Sunday night episode of The West Wing. I will title the posts the same as they are titled by the writer's of the show, followed by (TWW) in case anyone forgets that it is The West Wing I am talking about...
As I predicted, Leo McGarry is going to take a lot of heat for his past alcohol and prescription drug use as well his heart condition. His heart condition I don't feel is such an issue, it hasn't been for Dick Cheney, why would it be for a fictional candidate for the vice-presidency. The real issue that is facing Leo McGarry (played by amazing John Spencer) is that his running mate, Congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) doesn't trust him. Leo has gone from being the right hand man and best friend of President Bartlett to being almost the odd man out. I'm not sure Leo can handle being the outsider and I would almost admit a hope that they all see it and make Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) the vp and keep Leo on as chief-of-staff.
What I didn't predict was the Donna Moss encounter. I never in a million years thought Josh Lyman (former deputy chief of staff to Leo McGarry and now campaign manager and right hand man of Matt Santos) could dismiss his long time assistant Donna Moss as he did in last night's episode. Sure she worked for the opposition, but hey, Johnson was Kennedy's opposition and he wound up being the vice-president. And Donna Moss (Donnatella Moss, for those of us die-hard West Wingers) has been nothing but supportive, dedicated, and loyal to Josh Lyman. When he got shot in Rosalyn it was Donna who was by his side through it all. Josh will realize that he can't live without Donna. He dismissed her prematurely out of loyalty to his candidate, but I hope he comes around. I can't imagine The West Wing without Donna and I can't imagine Josh Lyman running the show as a future chief-of-staff, assuming Santos wins, without having Donna by his side as Deputy.
Claudia Jean...oh CJ. The illustrious press secretary and now chief-of-staff is in for the ride of her life. If she is the leak from the White House that the White House counsel thinks she is, not only will they rake her over the coals, the President, NASA, and the American public will line up for their turn. I'm not sure she really is the leak..she's too, well CJ, for a lack of a better way to explain it. AND...in the beginning of the episode when they flashed forward three years to the dedication of the Bartlett Library, I was not only shocked to see her with old flame Danny (played by Timothy Busfield), I was shocked to learn she had a baby with him! Somewhere along the way the writers will have to catch us up on how it went from Danny leaving the White House Press Corp. and not telling CJ to them getting back together. I'm not sure the show itself has another three seasons left in it to catch us up to that point where they meet for the dedication, but this will be interesting to watch play off.
Another couple observations at the dedication... it seemed as if Josh was running the show for the new president arriving at the dedication, which would make one believe Santos wins (but wouldn't it be great if somehow they got Leo elected instead?) and Josh is his right hand man. It would be too big of a stretch to say Josh switched parties and is working for President Vinick (Alan Alda). And what's the deal with Tobey? It seemed really cold, the interaction between Tobey and President Bartlett. We'll see.
Wow. Who knew I had so much to say about one hour of television. In a perfect world, in my crazy head, I'd have President Bartlett healthy through the rest of his term, pushing landmark legislation and getting another Democrat into the White House. I'd have Santos, the charismatic hunk that he is, bow out and let Josh or Leo run and I'd have them bring in Sam from the earlier seasons (Rob Lowe) to jump in to a top slot. And last but certainly not least I'd like to see CJ move up, for me the show is about Leo's brilliance and CJ's talent.