Thursday, March 10, 2011

You Broke Some Laws, But That's Not The Point

"West Wing" 3:7, entitled "Gone Quiet," contains an Aaron Sorkin teaching about the politics of presidential investigations that was probably inspired by the Clinton impeachment and trial (though not, one assumes, the Nixon near-impeachment and resignation).

White House counsel Oliver Babish (Oliver Platt) is questioning First Lady Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing) about her participation in the cover-up of her husband's MS. When she offers to make a deal with congressional investigators, but takes a surprising line:
You broke some laws, Abbey, and quite frankly you should be ashamed of yourself, but this investigation isn't about that. It's about the criminalization of politics, an attempt to do in the hearing room what they couldn't do at the ballot box.

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