Honesty

by Tom Swift

[Leo’s office]

Toby enters.

Leo: “Yeah.”

Toby: “I’m gonna have breakfast with Ann Stark tomorrow.”

Leo: “Leave it alone.”

Toby: “I think we should be able to discuss the minimum wage and—”

Leo: “Toby. It’s a brand new year.”

Toby: “Let’s not faf around!”

Leo: “It’s breakfast.”

Toby: “I know. It’s breakfast. We’re not gonna come up with solutions in 90 minutes. But we have the principles in a room and no cameras. The—[utters a small laugh] the leaders of the land. And not to talk about how we’re gonna approach the minimum wage, the Patient’s Bill of Rights, tax relief, and education in the legislative session that’s about to begin is a criminally negligent and cowardly refusal to do … what we were all sent her to do. [beat] This is what my ex-wife and I did for years. We had these rules. We could talk about anything but why we couldn’t live with each other. I could’ve been two years younger right now.”

Leo: “There was a freshman democrat who came to Congress 50 years ago. He turned to a senior Democrat and said, ‘Where are the Republicans? I want to meet the enemy.’ The senior Democrat said, ‘The Republicans aren’t the enemy. They’re the opposition. The Senate is the enemy.’ Those days are over. Toby, in this climate …”

Toby: “This climate is exactly what real bipartisan debate should look like.”

Leo: “This woman’s had this job two weeks. I don’t like dealing with people who are trying to impress me.”

Toby: “I know her a little.”

Leo: “Have breakfast with her.”

Toby: “Thank you.”

Leo: “Toby.”

Toby: “Yeah.”

Leo: “Jenny and I wouldn’t talk about it either. You know why?”

Toby: “Why?”

Leo: “Because we loved each other and it was awful and we knew it was never gonna change. Ever.”

Toby leaves.

[Fade out]

The West Wing, Season 2, “The Leadership Breakfast” (2001)