The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 12

Guns Not Butter

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 08, 2003 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: President Bartlet goes over to the crowd to "work the rope line" and shake hands. Normally, there would be Secret Service agents surrounding him, including one right behind him literally holding onto the president's belt. That is known as the "body man", and his job is to make sure the president isn't pulled into the crowd. However, there weren't any agents around him at all, including a "body man".

    • The Senator who offers Toby a vote for foreign aid in exchange for funding a study of prayer refers to Duke as a non-sectarian school. Duke is actually a United Methodist school, complete with a full United Methodist seminary.

  • Quotes

    • Barlet: Turn around causually and tell me if Le Vicomte de Valvert's got his hands near anyone who's related to me.
      C.J.: That's a good-looking young man.
      Barlet: Zoey!
      Zoey: I don't respond when you shout.
      Barlet: Yeah? I think you'd respond if I stopped feeding you!

    • Will: You like that stat?
      Josh: I do.
      Will: Why?
      Josh: Because nine percent think it's too high and shouldn't be cut. Nine percent of respondents could not fully get their arms around the question. There should be another box you can check for, "I have utterly no idea what you're talking about. Please, God, don't ask for my input."

    • Will: I will take my hazing like the Eton valedictorian I am.

  • Notes

    • When Charlie Young is handed a letter on the rope line, it is a plea for help from an enlisted soldier whose family needs food stamps. Charlie phones a contact at the Defense Department to inquire to whom he can send the letter for action, a Sergeant Major Barry Moreland, with whom he plays basketball. The name seems a likely tribute to the movie Taps, where the main character, the ranking cadet at a military academy, leads a revolt when the Board of Governors decides to close the school. That character, played by Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, was Cadet Major Brian Moreland, and his father, who criticizes his actions, was played by the late character actor Wayne Tippit (L.A. Law, Melrose Place), was Sergeant Major Kevin (not Barry) Moreland.

    • Episode Title: The title of this episode comes from a quote from Paul Joseph Goebbels, German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, made during an address in Berlin on January 17, 1936.

      "We can do without butter, but, despite all our love of peace, not without arms. One cannot shoot with butter but with guns".

      The term has evolved into a macroeconomics model which determines a nations' investment in civilian goods and services or national defense.

    • The title of this episode refers to the theoretical extremes of how a nation may choose to spend its money, "Guns" (all defense and no food) or "Butter" (all food and no defense).

  • Allusions