Video of the Day: 'The West Wing' Explains the Debt Ceiling

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.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Politics

Just In