Confused about debt-limit politics? Allow "The West Wing" to explain:

CJ: They always like to schedule it at the last minute, just when the government's about to default.

Toby:That way, it's too dangerous for any senator to try to stop it.

In the episode, written* by current MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, President Bartlet successfully attaches a minimum-wage hike to the debt-limit increase, which ultimately passes.

That's not so different from President Obama seeking to attach a tax increase and congressional Republicans pushing deeper spending cuts, except Bartlet and his fictional Congress didn't argue about it for months. Let's hope the real-life political system finds agreement at the last minute, too.

The episode, titled "In God We Trust," ends with a heart-to-heart between Bartlet and Senator Vinick (Alan Alda) over the role of religion in politics. That might be too much to ask of Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at this point.

Video credit: NBC, YouTube

This post originally referred to the episode as being "co-written" by O'Donnell.