SAME OLD STORIES: The openness of Candidate Bush!

TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015

Part 2—As pioneered by the younger Frank Bruni:
Viewed as a system, our system of endless White House campaigns has its pros and its cons.

On the plus side, the system is good for hotel and restaurant interests in Iowa and New Hampshire. It lets partisan channels burn oodles of time snarking at the other party’s three hundred early contenders.

There’s also a down side to the endlessness of these campaigns. On the down side, our endless campaigns can lead to silly “campaign reporting” of the kind we found in Friday’s New York Times.

Candidate Christie was swearing too much! Candidate Clinton got fluffed! These utterly trivial news reports sat together on a page which featured an utterly trivial “campaign report” about the remarkably outgoing, candid, intimate and friendly Candidate Bush.

As part of a long tradition, Nick Corasaniti is the latest young reporter the Times has turned loose on the trail. His report was bannered across the top of the page which bore the other reports.

Hopeful-affirming headline included, this is the way it began:

CORASANITI (5/22/15): Jeb Bush Opens His Campaign Playbook by Opening Himself

BEDFORD, N.H.—His S.U.V.’s motor was running and an open door beckoned. But Jeb Bush, quite possibly the most media-friendly hopeful in the Republican presidential field, was not done answering questions.

A journalist tossed him an intimate inquiry, the kind usually brushed off by politicians:
Who in his family was ailing with Alzheimer’s?

Mr. Bush, his back to the reporter and an escape within reach, nevertheless whirled around. “My mother-in-law has dementia and she’s 94 years old,” he responded. “She’s a gift from God; she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.”

The candid, personal detail would have gone unknown and unreported had Mr. Bush not stopped to answer a question. But that has been his hallmark throughout his two-day swing through New Hampshire: He has been open, available and engaging, in contrast with the stage-managed, tightly controlled events held by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Candidly, that’s just sad.

By paragraph 4, the young reporter was pounding away at the hopeful who hasn’t been open, available and media-friendly. This is one of the same old stories you’ve read a million times as newspapers like the New York Times pretend to cover campaigns.

Candidate Bush has been most media-friendly! In contrast to Candidate Clinton! That said, please note the boon the public received as a result of that open and friendly behavior:

The public learned that Candidate Bush’s 94-year-old grandmother has dementia. Also, that she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met!

“The candid, personal detail would have gone unknown and unreported had Mr. Bush not stopped to answer a question,” the young reporter said. He failed to note that this “candid detail” provides nothing useful to any voter. The excited young scribe was drowning the public in useless distraction again!

Alas! When our campaigns drag on for two years, this is the way they get covered. On the one hand, campaign reporters pound away at the candidates who aren’t sufficiently “media-friendly.” At the same time, when they put their news judgment on display, they help us see why certain candidates might be well advised to steer away from the filters they will provide.

Corasaniti seemed to be blown away by the openness of Candidate Bush. As he continued, he continued hailing the hopeful for his media-friendly behavior.

As we read this passage which follows, we were struck by the way it repeated a story the New York Times told the last time a Candidate Bush hit the trail in pursuit of the White House. To our well-trained ear, this had the unmistakable sound of a “same old story:”
CORASANITI (continuing directly): But the openness carries risks, too, as shown when he engaged in a debate last week with a college student in Nevada who told him before a pack of reporters that “your brother created ISIS.” It was an instant viral moment, one that put Mr. Bush on the defensive.

Still, that encounter did not seem to deter him in New Hampshire this week. At a press gathering in Portsmouth, he shouted over his shoulder while being shoved toward an S.U.V. when asked about the troop levels in Iraq. He stopped to speak in Spanish with a voter after an event in Concord. And he playfully grabbed at a boom microphone dangling over his car in Salem, before apologizing and saying he didn’t know they could break. (The microphone was fine.)

“I really like campaigning,” Mr. Bush said as he began his two-day swing in Portsmouth, before quickly adding, “I’m not a candidate.”

Mr. Bush has even alluded to the contrast with Mrs. Clinton, who finally answered questions from the news media this week after coming under increasing criticism for failing to engage reporters. Mr. Bush regularly mentions how many questions he has fielded, and at one point was counting the number of questions Mrs. Clinton had taken.
Corasaniti sailed past the various problems this candidate had with his openness last week. He said a college student’s question “didn’t seem to deter him in New Hampshire,” then went back to marveling at the open, honest and “playful” way the candidate conducted himself on the trail in that state.

Reporting like this is highly subjective. It’s highly subject to being tilted, depending on a reporter’s point of view, or that of his superiors.

It also seems to be highly subject to repetition. This is precisely the way the New York Times portrayed the previous Candidate Bush when he was on the trail in New Hampshire in 1999.

We refer to the upbeat campaign reporting of Frank Bruni, who was then a young, inexperienced political reporter himself. Starting in September 1999, Bruni’s treatment of Candidate Bush was so fawning that it has even been mentioned by people other than us. In late November of that year, he delivered the same upbeat, subjective portrait Corasaniti delivered last Friday.

On November 4 of that year, Bruni had told the world that Candidate Bush “wrapped up a feverishly busy visit to New Hampshire that saw him log hundreds of road miles, lunge for every hand in his path and, above all, look less like a carefree front-runner than a scrappy contender who had indeed broken a sweat.”

That was a down payment on what was to come. Three weeks later, Bruni delivered the same portrait we read in the Times last week.

Shakespearean headline included, this is the way he started, though the profile went on and on:
BRUNI (11/27/99): Levity the Soul Of Bush, a Puck Among the Pols

As George W. Bush loped through the headquarters of the Timberland Company here, he might have been any candidate in the hunt for votes,
any pol on the path toward the presidency. He tirelessly shook hands, dutifully took questions and let a multitude of promises bloom.

But there was something different about Governor Bush's approach, something jazzier and jauntier. It came out in the way he praised a 20-year-old man for his "articulate" remarks, then appended the high-minded compliment with a surprising term of endearment.

"Dude," Mr. Bush called his new acquaintance.

It emerged again when Mr. Bush crossed paths with an elderly employee, and she told him that he had her support.

"I'll seal it with a kiss!" Mr. Bush proposed
and, wearing a vaguely naughty expression, swooped down on the captive seamstress.
On and on the description went. We aren’t saying that Bruni’s description of Bush was “wrong.” We’re saying that, to a weird degree, it’s the same old story Corsaniti just told:
BRUNI: Mr. Bush's arm curled tight around the shoulders of other voters; he arched his eyebrows and threw coquettish grins and conspiratorial glances their way. It was campaigning as facial calisthenics, and Mr. Bush was its Jack LaLanne.

He is frequently that way.
When Mr. Bush is not reciting memorized lines in an official speech or rendering careful answers in a formal interview, he is physically expansive and verbally irreverent, folksy and feisty, a politician more playful than most of his peers.

This disarming demeanor goes a long way toward explaining the commitment and confidence of Mr. Bush's core Republican supporters. They clearly see in the two-term Texas governor a warmth and affability that provide a sharp, necessary contrast to the brooding of a Bob Dole or the belligerence of a Newt Gingrich.
“Interestingly, it is sometimes Mr. Bush's most mischievous moments that demonstrate how astute he can be,” Bruni wrote before he finished the day’s sponge bath. He went on and on and on this day, presenting the highly subjective portrait which we almost thought we were reading again, in shortened form, in last Friday’s Times.

Candidate Bush went on to lose New Hampshire by 19 points. Bruni’s sense that he was watching a political genius may have been somewhat inaccurate.

That said, he wasn’t the first Timesman to offer that portrait of Bush that year. In August, the dean of the Times political staff had painted the same picture in yet another over-the-top affirmative profile of the “loosy-goosey, laughter-punctuated” style of the talented hopeful.

Upbeat headline included, Johnny Apple started like this:

APPLE (8/21/99): A Gregarious Bush Warms to Politicking

Former President George Bush's biggest problem, an old friend of his once suggested, was that he liked policy a lot more than politics.

Nobody who has watched him would ever say that about Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, who plunges into crowds—a crowd of 10 at an airport late at night, a crowd of hundreds at a fund-raiser, a crowd of thousands at a rally—with all the enthusiasm of Bill Clinton or Nelson A. Rockefeller or that formidable flesh-pressing Texan of yesteryear, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Nobody would ever mistake him for Vice President Al Gore.
Last Friday, Corasaniti waited until paragraph 4 before he named the candidate you’re supposed to dislike. Perhaps due to his seniority, Apple had unsheathed the knives by just his third paragraph.

Apple went on and on, for 1600 words, about Bush’s unparalleled greatness. He marveled at Bush’s joke-telling skill with 6-year-olds and at his skill with adults as well:
APPLE: Nothing seemed to faze Mr. Bush in the slightest as he moved slowly past market stalls stacked high with peaches, pole beans, Japanese eggplants and Silver Queen corn, the bounty of late summer in the Virginia Piedmont. After he had spent more than an hour shaking hands, posing for photographs, chatting about the military and the local museum and the weather, kissing a baby swathed in pink (and a grandmother or two as well), complimenting Gina Thomas on her "good-looking" family of four children and signing a lot of autographs, a man handed him a $100 bill and asked him to sign that.

"You must be doing pretty darn well," Mr. Bush said.

"Not as well as you and your father," the man replied, and the Governor, laughing, gave him a chummy punch on the upper arm.

Where did this come from, a campaign visitor asked, this knack for putting people at ease, this common touch? Well, Mr. Bush said pointedly, he grew up in Midland, Tex., and not in Greenwich, Conn., like his father. Then he thought a minute and added, "I must get it from my mother."
That Candidate Bush cited his mother, not his grandmother. For ourselves, we’d say that Apple gave Candidate Bush a “chummy punch on the arm” this day. When he did his profile of Candidate Gore, it was a poisonous mess.

This is the kind of piddle we get when our pseudo-campaigns go on forever. Hotels in New Hampshire make a killing. The public gets stuck with this.

When we read Corasaniti’s report, we had a strong sense of déjà vu. A young reporter was gushing about the openness of a Candidate Bush! Just where had we read that story before?

We knew where we had read it, of course. We think Dems and liberals should be concerned by this style of “campaign reporting,” even if they prefer the politics of Bernie Sanders to that of the hopeful we’re being encouraged to dislike this time around.

Tomorrow: Bruni’s latest column inspires a same old story

This afternoon: Bruni expands that same old portrait in April 2000


  1. Bob wrote: "The public learned that Candidate Bush’s 94-year-old grandmother has dementia. Also, that she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met!"

    Wrong, re-read the piece (or even the portion you quoted) and try again.

    1. You don't have to tell Bob to try again. He proved with the geometric logic of D'Leisha Dents inability to get into a four year college that he can repeat a factual error over and over with the best of our press corps.

    2. Jeb's parents are well known figures who are in their 90s. One doesn't need to know much about math or human reproductive biology to know he cannot have a 94 year old grandmother. One would have to be dumb to think HW or Barbara had a 94 year old mom. Very dumb.

      Is Bob dumber than a whale?

    3. 11:17, Barbara won't be 90 for a few days. ah ha!!! Maybe she was on the ramp to the bridge, not the bridge itself? That's all that matters, small details given (it was 48 degrees outside) or small details ignored (but the football pressures were meaured inside).... making whales of all of us. Except Bob, he has never made a mistake worthy of correction... ever.

    4. Jeb could have been adopted. Anything is possible. We just don't know.

    5. It is possible one of Bush's parents or in-laws may pass between now and the primary. Fawning press coverage of this irrelevant fluff may cause him to win. Coupled with the Jihad Against Hillary (not to be confused with the War on Clinton, or the War on Gore) this may render predictions of the Walker Administration as useful as an old Frank Bruni restaurant review.

    6. Does anyone think it matters whether the woman in question was his grandmother or his mother-in-law? Well, if it is his mother-in-law, the condition cannot be hereditary. That is safe. Instead of criticizing Somerby for overlooking something trivial, why not tell us whether the mother-in-law actually has dementia. A 94-year old woman is grandmother-age whether she has children or not, so Somerby's mistake is understandable.

      Do it undermine the point he makes in this post? I don't think so.

    7. "A 94-year old woman is grandmother-age whether she has children or not, so Somerby's mistake is understandable."

      Only if Bob didn't know who Jeb's parents were or that they were on the far side of 85. Maybe he's dumb as a whale.

      Belch, excuse me.

    8. 12:55, grandmother or mother-in-law? What's the difference, minor point. For that matter, 21 year old intern, or 22 year old former intern? What's the difference, minor point.

      Carry on.

    9. It does matter whether she was an Intern or not (she was not), and it does matter whether she was of age or not (21 vs 19 for example). It also matters whether she worked for him directly or for somebody else (it was somebody else). These facts do matter because they define moral and legal culpability and sexual harassment as opposed to a consenting adult relationship.

      No one is saying NO details matter. It takes some actual thought to decide whether certain details do or do not matter. If you can identify any way in which it matters whether the woman was grandmother or mother-in-law, I will agree Somerby should have done better. The details that don't matter are the ones most likely to be gotten wrong because when they matter, they are the substance of what is being discussed, not the trivia.

    10. In some parts of the country, like Arkansas, that intern was young enough to be somebody's granddaughter. But as the old saying goes, the devil is in the blue dress.

    11. Calling Hillary a grandmother may make someone mistake her for being 94.

    12. Why did you throw Cosby in there? Liberals should have defended in all the other situations, Cosby aside.

      You raise an interesting point. For a supposed womanizer, there were remarkably few women willing to accuse Clinton, even with offers of money and fame and conservative support. Those who came forward were pretty readily discredited. That suggests the opposite of what you are implying -- it suggests he didn't go around seducing (much less raping anybody), and that whatever dalliances he had were consensual (as was his affair with Lewinsky).

      If Hillary is nominated, it will be because grandmothers appreciate what she has done and will do for women, and want to see a female president in their own lifetime. Most women can tell the difference between Bill and Hillary, even if Republicans and trolls cannot.

  2. No forest, just trees.

    1. You appear to be replying to @ 9:32. You seem to say errors are to be overlooked as one absorbs the blogger's larger message.

      You miss the blogger's biggest forest. You imply he can see the trees. Bob has told us repeatedly liberals as well as pseudo-liberals cannot see at all. Neither can their leaders.

    2. Yes, let's NOT focus on small errors (e.g., was it a lane to the bridge or a lane to the entry ramp of the bridge?) and focus on the larger picture (e.g., Christie appointees caused a traffic jam in Ft Lee for political pay back).

      I agree, someone tell Bob.

    3. This is the game being played by super-concrete literal trolls who pretend they cannot understand figurative language and think all mistakes are alike, whether pertinent or peripheral to any point being made. It is such a waste of time. If you hate Somerby, just go away.

    4. As @ 1:31 knows, you go to war with the trolls you have. They’re not the commenters you might want to converse with or wish Somerby might attract at a later time.

    5. @1:55

      Do you think trolls should be ignored because they are trolls? Or do you think that despite being trolls, their comments may do damage to issues you care about, thus they should be opposed because you don't want their specious criticisms to be the only word standing?

      I truly would like to know what you think should be done. Abandoning the field to opposition doesn't seem like the best solution. I really wish Somerby would moderate the comments. I see rebuttal of troll garbage as a form of moderation in which trolls are tagged for what they are and at least the message that there are people who care about Somerby's message around here.

      You tell me what you think should be done instead.

    6. Thanks for asking at 2:45. There are known trolls. These are trolls we know that we know. There are known secret trolls. That is to say, there are comments that we know we don't know are really by trolls. But there is also unknown unknowns trolling. There are comments we don't know we don't know are by trolls.

      Then there is KZ. And comments we don't know are by KZ but others attrbute to the troll known as KZ.

      Finally there is yours. I am wary of Anonymous comments calling for moderation. This as old a trick as the message from the Trojan horse's mouth.

    7. I see, you were not being serious. More troll gibberish.

  3. [Yet another anonymous] I'm in sympathy with Bob's larger point, but I also believe the details matter. And I think Bob may as well.

    1. Mother-in-law...grandmother...crazy aunt in the basement.

      Who cares if it is right? Nobody needs to be accurate when describing "useless distractions." What is important is Bob's review of the press coverage. And whether they got things right about, say, Bush's response to questions about his brother's decision to invade Iraq. Which Somerby brilliantly analyzed in a multi-part series in which he let the air out of media misperformance all last week,

    2. Or crazy uncle in the belfry.... Some people gotta dispute every single "useless distraction", I guess. While this particular point of accuracy may be irrelevant, a habit of "who cares if it is right" is what's led the press corps -- especially the political press corps -- to it's present sad and tarnished state. It is sort of important to get it right.

    3. Losers, guess what? The accuracy of piddling details has nothing to do with this post. Coverage of the campaign was not affected, only access to the relevant facts by the public.
      Who are dumb rubes. And should not be mocked. If you are a pseudo-liberal.

      This time-killing, exciting diversion tells you nothing about the substance of this currently pointless story. Rachel figured you wouldn't see that.

      Rachel Maddow is Fox.

    4. Do you not see the difference between a mistake made by a blogger in a daily post and a mistake made by a journalist (whose job is dissemination of facts) at a major paper (some would say THE major paper) with an editor and fact checkers, and the ability to publish a follow-up correction once an error has been identified?

    5. Yes, how dare we hold Somerby to standards he demands of others!

      If we did that and realized how full of bullroar he is, we'd have to go out all over again to find someone new offering ridiculously simple answers to a complicated world.

      Either that or (gasp!) we'd have to start thinking for ourselves!

    6. If you think Somerby is demanding that journalists get trivialities correct and never make mistakes, you cannot read. But we already knew that.

      Reading and thinking go hand-in-hand. In your case, I think it would be dangerous for you to attempt to think for yourself. If you think Somerby is simple, for example, you are missing his points, but we already knew that too.

    7. A person with no hands can read and think. A person who reads Bob can repeat and repeat. Other than those two nothing is that new.

    8. Troll gibberish

  4. Deja vu? So Bruni fawned over W. in 1999? Apple fluffed Younger as well!

    "For ourselves, we’d say that Apple gave Candidate Bush a “chummy punch on the arm” this day. When he did his profile of Candidate Gore, it was a poisonous mess" sez the blogger, himself swimming perilously close to the cesspool of recycled piddle.

    And what else new do we learn from Somerby surely most of us already knew before?

    "Candidate Bush went on to lose New Hampshire by 19 points. Bruni’s sense that he was watching a political genius may have been somewhat inaccurate."

    Sometimes (in fairness almost always) Somerby leaves something else out in these necessary revisitations of Battlefields of the War on Gore. Candidate Gore, despite already struggling from the damage of the big three salvos in the War on Gore (Internet Invention and the two Love Lies) won in New Hampshire as well.

    Somerby's sense that he has his rough thumb on the all powerful influence of the press may be somewhat inaccurate. That won't stop him from telling the tale again to those who remain rapt around the campfire.

    1. As you never tire of reminding us, Somerby's tale of media malfeasance is old, one he's told many times.

      But that doesn't invalidate it.

      And you want us to know: Gore won NH.

      But that doesn't invalidate the tale either.

      The press acted badly.

      We all get that you think that saying so is equivalent to saying the press are "all powerful," but that simply reveals your own stupidity (or the depth of your pretense, take your pick).

      Come back when you have something to real add maybe? (Which would most like mean never)

    2. Shorter Anonymous 1:01

      You are as repetitive as Bob. Tribe Bob does not want to hear your old message in the combox of an old Bob post made new again. I've told you this before.

    3. You left out, 1:24, that it's not merely the repetition, it's the uselessness, the fatuity of the bobtrolls which makes them so unwelcome.

      But you've been that told so many times, that I'm sure it isn't that you don't know it -- you just prefer to pretend otherwise.

    4. Shorter 2:08:

      The whole world doesn't think my guru is brilliant!

      Wah! Wah! WAAAAAAH!

  5. On behalf of the "Free the Handsome Super Star Quarterback Organizing Committee" let me express sadness at Bob abandoning the continuing injustice of the whales while Tom Brady's still imminent suspension looms closer and closer and will precede anything that happens in our craggy, backward neighboring state on the electoral front by months.

    Don't Defame the Deflator!

    Free Tom Now!

    Quarterback Lives Matter!

    ¡Ideal Gas Law,Si!
    ¡Pinche Press Corps, No!

    1. Sadly, Bob hung his hat on the Ideal Gas Law, that bubble burst [mixed metaphor!] when commenters read the report and pointed out the pressures were measured inside, so the Ideal Gas Law cannot explain the pressures reported. That was rude of the commenters.

      Sadly, Bob won't be discussing the Ideal Gas Law anymore.

    2. The most reliable witness in Ferguson (according to the Grand Jury and the Justice Department whose report was the final word) was two football fields away. Do you know where the most reliable air pressure gauge was at half time? I thought not.

    3. Bob hung his hat on the Ideal Gas Law, which was the wrong horse to bet on. Will he change horses in mid-stream and now double down on the "gauge controversy?" For ourselves, we don't know.

      He's like a whale with a bone until the page is turned.

    4. What happens to the whale when the page is turned? Or does the turning page do something to the bone? Your comment is slippery. Like a whale bone. Or murky. Like the concept of a page turning whale.

  6. Liberals are back in the woods again, sleeping with whales and Professors. Will this mean President Walker? For ourselves, we don't know.

    1. "HA hahaha ha haaa haha!! OMG! You are sooo clever!"

      What 12:37 Anonymous said to himself before clicking "publish"

      And wasn't he right!?!? OMG! So clever!

    2. I think it is funnier to imagine Bob as a whale with a hat.

      And when he hangs his hat on the ideal gas law it floats away. And the crying analysts laugh as he swims after it though a sea of bubbles caused by leaking footballs.

    3. 1:28's Inner VoiceMay 26, 2015 at 2:14 PM

      Thank goodness you have both the insight to realize you are brimfull of comedic gold, and the confidence to boldly share it!!

    4. I'm so funny I almost gave up my teaching job to pursue the stand up comedy career of my dreams. Fortunately I discovered the high paying world of vanity blog trolling before
      I made that mistake. I make so much now I no longer have to cheat for my students on their standardized tests.

    5. So sad that you chose to type this instead of something with some content. Even a mistaken opinion would be better than this garbage.

    6. Thanks for the advice @ 2:37. With a little content it would be better than garbage too.

  7. I cannot thank Bob Somerby enough for helping me think for myself about press coverage. Without the Howler, I might have been fooled by Nick Corasaniti, the latest young reporter the Times has turned loose on the trail. I would not have noticed how quickly the young reporter was pounding away at Hillary alleging she is not open, available and media-friendly. They always say this and it cannot be true.

    Also too Somerby makes good use of quotes to show the irrelevant things the young reporter said. He notes that this excited young scribe was drowning the public in useless distraction again! My untrained eye might have missed what the reporter seemed to say or not speculated about the tilting he implied, or worse was instructed by superiors to imply about which candidates to like or dislike.

    In my view it was helpful to be reminded how green behind the ears Frank Bruni was back in 1999. He was then a young, inexperienced political reporter barely 35. No wonder he sucked up to Johnny Apple, the dean. I would never have even noticed how, by being old enough to draw a Social Security check, Apple was able to gut Gore a paragraph earlier to please the Times corporate brass.

    It is amazing the way the mainstream, or should I say lamestream, media suffocates us with trivia like this. I do wish, however, Bob had reminded us all again, like he did just yesterday of the way these young Ivy League collegians infest our discourse. Don't forget Corasaniti's background in something that looks like sports and his degree from Cornell [Ithaca College].

    1. It will be hilarious when Walker becomes president because you jerks think it is OK for the NY Times to pretend neutrality while torpedoing Hillary every chance they get.

    2. Or you could wind up with Jeb Bush as president because he seems like someone you would want to have a beer with.

    3. Or we could wind up with President Warren because a sexist press does the Hillary takedown they are primed for using misogyny again because young scribes repeat the mistakes of their elders despite being two years ahead of them on NAEP scores.

      You know, I wonder how far ahead of their 94 year old grandmothers-in-law they are, the lucky young pups.

    4. Warren will not run. She has an agreement with Clinton. Sanders is doing a Nader. He is entirely tone-deaf and ego-involved and is doing something destructive of both progressive interests and the party. We can lose to the extent that he splits the vote, as occurred during Gore's candidacy.

      Our trolls here are working overtime to keep liberals from understanding their own interests. We need to support our most viable candidate because several supreme court seats are at stake. Sanders and Warren cannot win. Clinton can. It is that simple.

      If you think it would be fun to watch the Republicans fiddle while major problems like Wall Street, income disparity and natural disasters related to global warming destroy our economy and make us into a third-world country, keep mocking people like Somerby who are trying to keep the election out of the hands of the plutocrats.

    5. "Our trolls here are working overtime to keep liberals from understanding their own interests."

      @ 2:34 (trying to prove she understands Bob).

      "Alas! Gaze on the brave new pseudo-lib world! Our “leaders” are endlessly dumb and corrupt. We are unable to see this."

      Bob (Telling us how hopeless we are and It is)

    6. More troll gibberish

  8. I understand there is an editing error (more likely a lack-of-editing error) in today's column. Fortunately for my understanding of media, the error invalidates the column completely.

    1. Unfortunately today's grandfather aged boomer bloggers performed several years behind millennials on standardized reading comprehension tests. I understand this validates my theory of the role of opposable thumbs in spreading gorilla dust.

    2. 2:17, Bob made the same strange editing error twice:

      "That Candidate Bush cited his mother, not his grandmother. "

    3. He misremembered an irrelevant fact in a column about the irrelevancy of a question asked by a reporter.

    4. Bob left off some background. Jeb mentioned during a recent round table that he knew someone with dementia. Jeb has two very old and very famous parents. Seems like something a reporter should ask, in that situation.

      But Bob has a script, sorry for the distraction - carry on.

    5. Bob is just the latest old blogger to misremember things. By paragraph 4 the old blogger was pounding away at trivia.

      "The public learned that Candidate Bush’s 94-year-old grandmother has dementia," the old blogger said. The agitated old scribe had forgotten what he pasted a few paragraphs above about whose memory it was that was fading. Later, when reprising posts he had written when he was just a late middle aged blogger, Bob had the same lapse in recalling the right relationship.

      Perhaps due to his seniority, Somerby had unsheathed the dullness by his third paragraph. These campaigns are just too long, he lamented. And silly.

    6. Why should a reporter ask an irrelevant question about the health of the Bush parents and expect an answer? that is majorly inappropriate unless you live in the TMZ world.

    7. 3:50, the point of the piece Bob quotes is not that the reporter should expect an answer, but that he actually got one. Bob even bolded it for simpletons such as yourself

      "A journalist tossed him an intimate inquiry, the kind usually brushed off by politicians...."

    8. Why should Bob suggest it is irrelevant to ask a candidate a question about a topic that candidate broached himself in a public setting unless Bob is one of the stupidest bloggers on the planet?

    9. Why do you think a candidate has volunteered to talk about relatives health problems just because he said his family has been touched by Alzheimer's (in the context of a speech about many things)?

      It is irrelevant because it has no bearing on the election -- it has nothing to do with the qualifications or policies of the candidate.

      Is there some reason why you need to end every comment with an insult?

    10. What empowers Bob Somerby to decide that which is relevant?

    11. The point seems to be that some reporters, in lieu of anything significant to say, will latch onto the meaningless and mundane in order to try to prove their depth and uncanny insight. Bruni saw into W.'s soul via his monogrammed cowboy boots, and this new guy is seemingly in awe over the other Bush's Alzheimer's answer.

  9. George W. Bush, October 7, 2002:

    That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected, revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue. The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.
    Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear mujahedeen” — his nuclear holy warriors.
    Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past.
    Toensing: “As Lincoln Chafee said on NPR, if these satellite photos exist, then surely the public has a right to see them. Surely mere photos would not compromise sources and methods.” [In 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.S. government claimed that Iraqi troops were threatening Saudi Arabia; this turned out to be false.]
    Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
    If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. As long as it retains its scientists, this will remain the case.”
    And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.

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