It's a flashback scene from episode seven, "The Trail." In it, Cyrus Beene is arguing with the then not yet President, Fitzgerald Grant, about Olivia Pope. Beene had just hired Pope, and Grant, having just met her, didn't like what she had to say and wanted Beene to fire her. Trying to persuade Grant not to fire Pope, Beene said (and then Grant responded) as follows:
Beene: Let's be clear about something, I run a sausage factory.
Grant: Which makes me, "sausage"?
Beene then launched into a diatribe about why he needs Olivia, which wasn't particularly relevant to the usage of "sausage factory." It could have been, but it wasn't.
My question is this: What did Beene mean by "sausage factory"?
I have two theories:
"Sausage factory" refers to the reputedly disgusting practices involved in making sausage and Beene is referring to the fact that he needs Olivia because she's a white hat.
"Sausage factory" refers to the fact that Grant's a man, Beene's a man, pretty much everyone that works for them is a man, and the predominantly male campaign needs to avoid the optics of firing a woman.
The second definition cited above gives, aside from being a gathering with no women present, a political definition, which would make sense given the show, but it doesn't seem to fit; I say "seem" because maybe it does and I don't see it.
What was meant by this reference? Can anyone suss it out?