Aaron Sorkin, Times Columnist by Proxy

sorkin092208 Aaron Sorkin, Times Columnist by ProxyYesterday in her New York Times op-ed column, Maureen Dowd presented one of her signature imaginary dialogues. But instead of imagining her own little Sunday morning playhouse production about the head of Lehman Brothers talking to the Monopoly Guy on a bread line or whatever, she outsourced the effort to her ex-boyfriend, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin.

This isn’t the first time Ms. Dowd has relied on someone else to write her column: On October 14, 2007, she had Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert write I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!) for her.

Mr. Sorkin, who must’ve taken a break from his hectic Facebook movie writing schedule, turned in the sort of far-reaching, speechifying, slightly heavy-handed script that fans of his shows enjoy and detractors enjoy mocking, in which he imagined a conversation between his idealized President Jed Bartlet and Senator Barack Obama. (Let’s hope it was written by Aaron Sorkin and not The Times‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin, whom New York Magazine’s Ariel Levy reported in 2005 was the unwanted recipient of "randy" emails from Ms. Dowd intended for the similarly named TV writer-producer.)

Here’s a sample:

BARTLET [Y]ou’re losing a ton of white women.
OBAMA Yes, sir. BARTLET I mean tons.
OBAMA I understand.
BARTLET I didn’t even think there were that many white women.
OBAMA I see the numbers, sir. What do they want from me?
BARTLET I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me.
OBAMA How did you do it?
BARTLET Well, I say I’m sorry a lot.
OBAMA I don’t mean your marriage, sir. I mean how did you get America on your side?
BARTLET There again, I didn’t have to be president of America, I just had to be president of the people who watched “The West Wing.”
OBAMA That would make it easier.
BARTLET You’d do very well on NBC. Thursday nights in the old “ER” time slot with “30 Rock” as your lead-in, you’d get seven, seven-five in the demo with a 20, 22 share — you’d be selling $450,000 minutes. OBAMA What the hell does that mean?
BARTLET TV talk. I thought you’d be interested.

Most of the good lines belong to the fictional "President" Bartlet. Perhaps Mr. Sorkin doesn’t want to put any more words into Senator Obama’s mouth since, as he told GQ‘s Mickey Rapkin in August:

The first time I met Barack Obama—I should say the only time I’ve met Barack Obama—was a year ago, when he was doing fifty-person-cocktail-party fund-raisers. He flattered me by saying, "My intention is to steal a lot of your lines."