Here's a concept that's been played out many times!
For those of you have followed and commented on Reds!, this will at least in part be a retread of what you've already read. However, this is the revised, definitive edition of the timeline, so there will be changes, new material and retcons abound. I hope that this will make a more complete alternate history. Unfortunately, this will be distracting me from updates for some time.
However, Illuminatus_Primus and myself are collaborating on this retcon project, with the hope of accomplishing it as quickly and thoroughly as possible, so that we can continue to surge ahead with the rest of the timeline. This will be part of the overall transition of the TL from a one-person show (with heavy reader input) to a collaborative TL. This baby has grown too big for one person to manage at any decent rate.
So, without further adieu, I present the revised Reds! TL.
The Central Committee’s Staff
The brainchild of PBS 7’s Aaron Sorkin, The Central Committee’s Staff was a weekly television drama that detailed the lives and work of the men and women in the Central Committee’s senior staff. The senior staff of the Central Committee are responsible for the unglamorous but crucially necessary work that keeps the government of the UASR functioning. Often criticized for having an overly optimistic picture of the inner functions of socialist democracy at the union level, it remained a huge critical and viewer success on public television for eight seasons before drawing to a close.
Here follows an excerpt from a novelization of the pilot episode:So begins another day at the Committee’s Office. With all of the activity in the lobby this morning, it is easy to forget that this is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the seat of the All-Union Central Committee for the Union of American Socialist Republics, and not a busy subway terminal. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the early morning activity, a stately man, advanced in age, walks briskly past the security guards at the entrance. He moves quickly through the lobby, weaving past a busy clerical worker as he walks towards the receptionist’s office.
As he passes the receptionist terminal, the attendant says “Nice morning, Comrade McGarry.”
“We’ll take care of that in a hurry, won’t we, Mike?” the man replies with dry sarcasm.
“Yes sir,” the attendant chuckles.
The man continues his brisk pace into the inner workings of the west wing of the old Pennsylvania House. He is Leo McGarry, the Chief of Staff to the Central Committee, and a personal friend of the First Secretary.
He quickly pushes through a set of white double doors, into the inner office. A woman runs past him quickly, pausing only momentarily to exclaim, “Don’t kill the messenger, Leo.”
“Oh, why the Hell not, Bonnie?” he replies as he grabs the morning’s memos. He passes quickly through the press office, making his routine morning acquaintances before calling out for his deputy. “Josh!” he yells.
Josh’s blond assistant responds instead. “Morning, Leo,” she says.
“Hey Donna,” Leo responds. “Is he in yet?”
She pauses from stirring her coffee, looking up at him coyly. “Yeah...”
“Can you get him for me?” he replies, clearly irritated.
She turns around in her seat and yells “Josh!”
“Thanks...” he sighs.
“I heard it’s broken,” she says, abruptly changing the subject.
“You heard wrong,” he replies, barely pausing from reading the memo.
“I heard it’s–”
“It’s a mild sprain,” he interrupts; “he’ll be back later today.” He begins walking out of Donna's cubicle, still skimming the memos. “What was the cause of the accident?”“What are you, from the NHS?” he sighed, “Go! Do a job or something!”“I'm just asking-”He anticipated her next question: “He was swerving to avoid a tree...”“What happened?” she asked.“He was unsuccessful.”Excerpts from Sean Hannity, A History of the Worker's Vanguard in America, 1876-1946, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999)
Leo walks though Josh’s open door just as Josh finishes his phone conversation. He asks “How many Cubans exactly have crammed themselves into these fishing boats?”
Josh responds as he busily jots down a note, “Well, it’s important to understand, Leo, that by and large, these aren’t exactly fishing boats. You hear ‘fishing boats’, you conjure an image of, well, a boat, first of all. What the Cubans are on would charitably be described as rafts. Okay? They’re making the hop from Havana to Miami in fruit baskets, basically. Let’s just be clear on that. Donna’s desk, if it could float, would look good to them right now.”
Leo begins walking out into the hallway, beckoning Josh to follow him. “I get it,” he says, “How many are there?”
“We don’t know.”
“What time exactly did they leave?”
“We don’t know.”
“Do we know when they get here?”
Leo stops, turning towards Josh, and looks him straight in the eye. “True or false: If I were to stand on high ground in Key West with a good pair of binoculars, I’d be as informed as I am right now.”
“That’s the Foreign Office’s money well spent.”
“Well, having any sort of diplomatic relations with the exile regime occupying Cuba, we might have a better idea.”
“You look like Hell, by the way,” Leo sighs as he begins the walk toward his office.
“Yes, I do. Listen, Leo, did he say anything about it?” Josh asks timidly as he follows Leo.
“Did he say anything?!” Leo cries. “The First Secretary is pissed as hell at you Josh, and so am I.”
“I know,” he protests.
“We’ve gotta work with these people, and how the Hell do you get off strutting your--”
“Al Caldwell is a good man,” Leo scolds.
“Al Caldwell wasn’t there!”
“I’m saying you take everyone on the Christian Left, dump them into one big basket and label them stupid! We need these people.”
“We do not need these people...”
“Josh, if this minority government can’t get at least some votes from the Left Democrats, then we can’t govern. You know we have a whole lot better chance dealing with them than with the Socialists or the SEU.”