In the annals of sexual politics and odd couples, none could ever match the possibilities of mating Maureen Dowd and Rush Limbaugh, a power pairing that would have made Mary Matalin and James Carville look like America's Sweethearts.
The image comes to mind from Dowd's column today, recounting a four-hour dinner at Manhattan's 21 Club back when she was "a reportette" and El Rushbo's puss had not yet been carved on the Mt. Rushmore of the Rabid Right.
"He was charming, in a shy, awkward, lonely-guy way," Dowd recalls. "Not a man of the people. He arrived in a chauffeured town car and ordered $70-an-ounce Beluga, Porterhouse and 1990 Corton-Charlemagne."
Just another suave type trying to look good on a first date and apparently making some headway, impressing Dowd as "not a Neanderthal, though he did have a cold and blew his nose in his napkin. He talked about Chopin’s Polonaise No. 6, C.S. Lewis and how much he loved the end of the movie 'Love Story.'"
That last should have given Dowd pause if she recalled that the heroine of the 1970 weeper is "smart and poor," falls for a guy who is "stupid and rich" and dies an early death murmuring "Love is never having to say you're sorry."
But the chemistry apparently failed, depriving the world of a match that would have made media history.
Now Dowd is hammering her might-have-been mate with rueful memories:
"At our long-ago dinner, Limbaugh credited his success with being 'one-dimensional.' 'I’m totally concerned with me,' he said. And that was way before he got a contract for $400 million, so we can only imagine how one-dimensional he is now.
"But on Sunday, he ripped the president for having 'an out-of-this-world ego,' for being 'very narcissistic,' 'immature, inexperienced, in over his head.' (Isn’t immaturity scoring OxyContin from your maid?)
"It gives new meaning to pot, kettle and black."
Ouch. Love hurts.