Editor's Notes

Regular readers know I am a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin’s scriptwriting.

“Sports Night.” “The West Wing.” “A Few Good Men.” “The Newsroom.” “The Social Network.”

I’m one of a handful of viewers who even watched every episode of the ill-fated Sorkin show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

There are many memorable moments, iconic rants and walk and talks from “The West Wing” and his other shows that still stick in my mind.

One of my favorites is in the Season 4 episode, “Game On.” Martin Sheen’s President Jed Bartlet character, running for a second term, debates Florida Republican Governor Robert Ritchie, played by James Brolin. The Ritchie character argues that many major issues, including health and education, should be left to the states. 

Bartlet responds as follows:

“There are times when we’re 50 states and there are times when we’re one country and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn’t fight Germany in World War II, or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall to wall. That’s a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year. From Nebraskans and Virginians and New Yorkers and Alaskans with their Eskimo poetry. Twelve point six out of a state budget of 50 billion. I’m supposed to be using this time for a question so, here it is: Can we have it back please?”

Loved it then, love it now!

I saw the other day that Sheen is featured in a new commercial about a discount drug prescription program called SingleCare.

He goes on a rant about high prescription prices, calling them, among other things, “larceny.”  Then, when he’s told about SingleCare, he asks the woman at the pharmacy why she didn’t stop him from ranting.

“I didn’t want to interrupt. Felt like a West Wing moment,” she says.

Anybody who ever watched the show with any regularity knows exactly what that means.

I wondered this week what Sorkin would have written for the Bartlet character about the ineptitude of those involved in staging the Iowa caucus for the Democratic presidential candidates.

It’s Sunday. Do we have the entire vote count in yet?

A faulty smartphone app appears to have been at the center of it all.  But, as the New York Times reported, technical glitches were not the only reasons behind the delay in getting results.

According to the Times, when party chairs recognized problems and called headquarters to submit results via phone, there were not enough staffers available to answer phones. Caucus chairs reported being on hold for hours.

Not enough staffers to take calls? Really? With four years to plan this?

“Others gave up and went to bed, opting to try again in the morning” the Times reported.

Sure. Why not? It’s not like there was any real urgency involved with this.

One more thing I read. The Iowa Democratic Party apparently didn’t roll the untested app until a few hours before the meetings began last Monday night. If you’ve ever had to work with new software, you know that’s a recipe for disaster. 

I’m pretty sure not even Sorkin could make this stuff up. But I’d love to hear a Sorkin-written Bartlet rant about it.

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com.

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