Monday, October 13, 2014

a load of really good laws

Charlie Wilson's constituent Larry Liddle from Nacogdoches, Texas [they pronounce it "Naga-DOHSH-es] waits for the congressman in his office.

The atmosphere is bustling and cheerful.  An orange marmalade-colored cat nestles on one desk, among stacks of papers.

Mr. Liddle has his daughter Jane with him,

and a look about him that suggests his default setting may be, "Hah - rummph!"

He looks around at the people working in Charlie Wilson's office...then addresses the receptionist:

"Miss?  It seems to me, looking around, that it's almost all women working here.  And that they're all [suspicious, accusing tone] very pretty.  Is that common?"

------------------- Congressman Wilson enters, exchanges greetings with everyone as he moves through, greets Liddle and Jane, then excuses himself to Jane and takes Mr. Liddle into his inner office alone.

The two men face each other, over a low coffee table that looks like a big uneven block of wood -- Western chic.  Wilson stretches back and puts his cowboy-booted feet up on the table.  Larry Liddle follows suit, awkwardly plunking his own boots up there.

Liddle is similar to Paul Brown and Crystal Lee in the Vegas hot tub, in that he is essentially barking up a wrong tree.  He's all "on a roll" of ego and self-righteous excitement, thinking that because he's welcome in his congressman's office that he's somehow on top of the world now and simply cannot wait to get started throwin' his weight around.

He believes the congressman can intervene with a judge in Texas, and suggests that Wilson do so.

Liddle - "We welcome other faiths to worship as they wish, but when you can't put a nativity scene in front of a firehouse at Christmas time in Nacogdoches Township, something's gone terribly wrong."

Wilson - "Well that's not really true, Larry.  You could move that crèche over to that church, and everything's just fine."

-- That's not the point!
-- Okay.  Why don't we just start back at the beginning -- What can I do for you?
-- You can intervene in the case against the crèche committee.
-- Intervene?  How?

Larry Liddle's voice turns knowing, and sly.

-- You appointed the judge.

Wilson - "I don't appoint judges.  I just make a recommendation to the President."
Liddell - (grinning, sly and knowing) "I think you and I both know what that means."
Wilson - "I cannot just call up a judge and tell him what to do."

-- Why?
-- Well, 'cause it's against a shitload of really good laws, Gary.
-- Larry.
-- Larry.

A knock at the door interrupts them.  Wilson excuses himself and goes out --
-- Jim.
-- Congressman.

Wilson - "You see Lederer's AP story out of Kabul?"

-- Yeah.  We're reading this story every day now.
-- You see Dan Rather last night?
-- Yeah.  I did.
-- Tell me something.  What is the Defense Subcommittee's budget for covert ops against the Communists in Afghanistan?
-- All in?
-- All in.
-- It's 5 million.

Wilson - "Well, they can't shoot down helicopters for 5 million dollars, Jim.

Though they're tryin' to. 

Which is more than I can say for us.
Get everybody together for me, would you?  And double it."

-- Okay, I'm sorry, sir?
-- The covert ops budget.  Double it.

{Charlie Wilson's War.  Mike Nichols.  Aaron Sorkin.  2007.  book / George Crile}


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