January 22, 2019

The proper way to end an affair

Maureen Dowd and Aaron Sorkin “used to date,” as Dowd coyly put it in a 2005 profile for New York Magazine.

In that same story, Sorkin told writer Ariel Levy that perhaps, one thing troubling their relationship was that he found Dowd “more independent than I would like.” How terrible!

At least Sorkin is mature enough to note his needs. And, evinced by Dowd's column today in The Times, they are both mature enough to carry on in friendship after a romantic failing. This is how it should be. One can get, it turns out, very good columns from a former flame:

AFTER the debate, I was talking to Aaron Sorkin, who was a little down. Or, as he put it, “nonverbal, shouting incoherently at a squirrel, angrier than when the Jets lost to the 49ers last Sunday without ever really being on the field.”

Aaron was mollified when he learned that President Obama, realizing things were dire, privately sought the counsel of a former Democratic president known for throwing down in debates. I asked Aaron if he knew how the conversation between the two presidents had gone and, as it happened, he did. This is his account.

The lights from the presidential motorcade illuminate a New Hampshire farmhouse at night in the sprawling New England landscape. JED BARTLET steps out onto his porch as the motorcade slows to a stop.

BARTLET (calling out) Don’t even get out of the car!


BARACK OBAMA (opening the door of his limo) Five minutes, that’s all I want.

BARTLET Were you sleepy?



BARTLET Was that the problem? Had you just taken allergy medication? General anesthesia?


OBAMA I had an off night.

BARTLET What makes you say that? The fact that the Cheesecake Factory is preparing an ad campaign boasting that it served Romney his pre-debate meal? Law school graduates all over America are preparing to take the bar exam by going to the freakin’ Cheesecake Factory!


OBAMA (following Bartlet inside) I can understand why you’re upset, Jed.

BARTLET Did your staff let you know the debate was gonna be on television?


OBAMA (looking in the other room) Is that Jeff Daniels?

BARTLET That’s Will McAvoy, he just looks like Jeff Daniels.


OBAMA Why’s he got Jim Lehrer in a hammerlock?

Read the rest at The Times.