Seems to be identifying as the younger Frank Bruni: Everyone is asking the question! Can Rachel Dolezal transform herself from “white” to “black?”
In our view, the answer is no, unless she wants everyone to think she’s constantly lying. That said, a seamless bit of transjournalism seems to be taking place at the New York Times.
Michael Barbaro seems to have started identifying as the younger Frank Bruni! Today, Barbaro’s fawning profile of Candidate Bush seems to come straight from the work of Bruni in 1999 and 2000, when he was raving about that era’s glorious Candidate Bush.
In today’s profile, Barbaro stresses Candidate Bush’s wonderful sense of “ease” on the trail. Where have we seen this before, we flawlessly asked.
Hard-copy headline included. A definite blast from the past:
BARBARO (6/17/15): Now Official, Bush at Ease on Trail in New HampshireWhere had we seen that before, we flawlessly asked. And then, of course! We had it at last! Bruni wrote the same profile of the previous Candidate Bush in November 1999. In fact, he wrote it several times!
On his first day as a full-fledged, no-longer-just-thinking-about-it candidate for president, Jeb Bush called his adopted hometown Miami “a crazy, wacky place.” He spoke of the trauma of discovering that a hacker had published personal emails he had written about the health of his father. He gave a long, emotional hug to a woman who told of her decades-long struggle with mental disabilities.
And he confessed to a rookie error.
Grabbing back the microphone after wrapping up an event here, Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor—who has not held public office in eight years—asked for a do-over. “I blew it,” he said, before revealing his mistake: He had somehow forgotten to ask his audience to vote for him.
Unencumbered by the artifice and awkwardness entailed in not quite campaigning for the last six months, Mr. Bush on Tuesday seemed a different kind of presidential candidate: disarmingly playful and noticeably relaxed, quick to joke and eager to connect.
No, really! Let’s compare combs! Hard-copy headline included:
BRUNI (11/27/99): Levity Is at the Soul of Bush, the Puck In the Political PackIn each case, the Times reporter was blown away by the natural air of his era’s Candidate Bush. As Barbaro continued his profile this morning, he let us see how skillfully the current Candidate Bush is able to joke around with the folks:
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.
BARBARO (continuing directly from above): As he spoke at a town hall-style meeting here, he noticed that a young woman he had met earlier in the day—who had complained about her crippling student-loan debt and ill-advised psychology major in college—was sneaking out of the room.Sixteen years earlier, Bruni captured the same playful spirit. Candidate Bush is mischievous now. He was vaguely naughty back then!
As she neared the door, Mr. Bush mischievously singled her out. “You’ve left!” he said.
“Sorry,” she replied, “got to work.”
Mr. Bush’s wry response: “Well, I’m glad you got a job.”
The audience erupted into laughter and applause.
BRUNI (continuing directly from above): It emerged again when Mr. Bush crossed paths with an elderly employee, and she told him that he had her support.Back then, Bruni captured Candidate Bush’s kisses and hugs. This morning, Barbaro does the same:
"I'll seal it with a kiss!" Mr. Bush proposed and, wearing a vaguely naughty expression, swooped down on the captive seamstress.
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.
BARBARO (continuing directly from above): One of those who queried Mr. Bush was a woman with developmental disabilities who told Mr. Bush that “doctors told my mother to put me away.” Instead, she said, her mother refused, and the woman now holds down a job helping children like her.We’re sorry, but those are the same freaking profiles! Rachel Dolezal thinks she’s black. Barbaro thinks he’s Frank Bruni!
Before she had even asked her question, Mr. Bush walked over and gave her a firm hug.
“The limits people may have,” he told her, “pale by comparison to the joy they can bring.”
This isn’t Barbaro’s first fawning profile of the new Candidate Bush. On Saturday, he did everything but shine the candidate’s shoes on his brilliant trip to a dazzled Europe.
In this case, the fawning involved the repeated claim that Jeb is better than the previous Candidate Bush. People, whatever it takes! Scripted headline included:
BARBARO (6/13/15): In Europe, Leaders Take Note: Jeb Bush Isn’t His BrotherThe Candidates Bush have changed on the fly. At the Times, the fawning continues.
After emerging from a 45-minute meeting here with Jeb Bush, the foreign minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told colleagues that what struck him most about the American was not the strength of his opinions but something simpler: the depth of his curiosity.
Mr. Bush, who will declare his candidacy for president on Monday in Florida, had impressed Mr. Steinmeier, a veteran of European policy and diplomacy, with a wide range of pointed questions about the Middle East, Ukraine and Greece. It was, declared a German official involved, “a broad tour d’horizon.”
When Mr. Bush’s brother George first ran for president, he erroneously referred to Greeks as “Grecians,” flubbed the name of India’s leader and confused Slovenia with Slovakia, offering the world an unabashed portrait of provinciality.
But across Europe this week, Jeb Bush revealed himself to be a very different kind of Bush: well traveled, almost encyclopedically knowledgeable about foreign countries, and possessing the genuine inquisitiveness that his brother had so notably lacked.
During Campaign 2000, Bruni endlessly fawned to Candidate Bush. Does Barbaro plan to follow suit?
We don’t know how to answer that. But these two profiles by Barbaro are straight outta the younger Frank Bruni.
Bush is so relaxed, so sharp! Where have we heard that before?
How Candidate Goofus was profiled: Is Barbaro planning to fawn about the new Candidate Bush for seventeen months?
We can’t answer that question. “Panchito” fawned so much during Campaign 2000 that a few people actually noticed!
Meanwhile, Candidate Gore was being profiled in an equal but opposite manner. Where Bruni was stressing how natural his candidate seemed, Katharine Seelye kept helping us see that Candidate Gore was a fake and a phony.
This profile from late October 1999 is a good example. Seelye constantly notes the artifice involved in Gore’s every move.
As always, a baby (almost) cries when the hopeful draws near!
SEELYE (10/27/99): Mr. Gore has not only revamped his campaign—rejiggering his staff and moving his headquarters to Nashville—but he is trying to overhaul himself as well. With Mr. Bradley projecting the persona of an independent nonpolitician, Mr. Gore is trying to make himself appear more casual and less scripted.Candidate Gore was reinventing himself! He was no longer letting his arms hang limply at his sides!
This calls for serious attention to detail: not only khakis and cowboy boots and a PalmPilot clipped to his belt, but changes in body language and careful word choice. Instead of letting his arms hang limply at his sides, Mr. Gore gestures. Instead of telling people he went to Vietnam, he makes a point of saying he "enlisted," a word that strategists say strikes a chord with listeners.
Instead of just cooing at babies, he now picks them up. This did not amuse one little girl here who looked at him with some alarm. "I'm not too scary!" the Vice President tried to reassure her. "I'm not too scary!"
Perhaps the biggest change is in his campaign appearances. He is making fewer speeches on podiums to vast audiences, instead making himself available to small groups of voters to press his case one on one. He is even campaigning door to door. Last night he ducked into a few houses here, spending several minutes with surprised families. ("The house is a mess," grumbled Tom Mulligan, who said the visit was "totally unexpected.")
And not only that! When he tried to pick up a baby, the baby looked at him “with some alarm.” Needless to say, Tom Mulligan “grumbled” about that unexpected visit from the annoying Gore.
Without explicitly saying so, Seelye made it sound like Mulligan was pissed. It was strange to see the way a different reporter described that same visit, using explicit language.
The reporter was Timothy Connolly of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. In this passage, he speaks with Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe:
CONNOLLY (10/27/99): Vice President Albert A. Gore, who has slipped below Bradley in the polls, is trying to revive his campaign with retail politics—he is canvassing neighborhoods and talking to people in their living rooms.For the record, Candidate Gore ended up winning the state over Candidate Bradley.
"After one stop, this guy named Mulligan said he was impressed with Gore," Oliphant said. "When I asked why, Mulligan said, "He's the first presidential candidate to knock on my door.' "
Only in New Hampshire.
The Los Angeles Times also described the Mulligan visit as a successful interaction. But so what? At the New York Times, Seelye spent two years putting a negative spin on every move Gore made.
In Seelye’s world, the babies never stopped crying when Candidate Gore drew near! Incredibly, this was the closing passage of Seelye’s final campaign report:
SEELYE (11/4/00): Despite the nerve-racking closeness of the election, Mr. Gore showed uncharacteristic spontaneity with the crowd of thousands huddled in a sports stadium. The vice president focused suddenly on one baby, bundled up in a pink snowsuit and held aloft by a man. "Hold your baby up one more time," Mr. Gore yelled out. "What is your baby's name?" he asked.Incredibly, that was the end of Seelye’s last campaign report.
The answer drifted back across the crowd, "Christina."
"Let me tell you," Mr. Gore shouted. "This entire election is about Christina's future. Will we have the best schools? Will she have opportunity in her life?"
Christina started to bawl.
"Will she stop crying?" the vice president called out affectionately. "Yes, she will," he said. "Hi Christina," he said, giving her a small wave.
Seelye and Bruni never quit during that long, disastrous campaign. Barbaro is out on the trail as we speak with a new Candidate Bush.
Does he plan to pander to this Candidate Bush all through this campaign? We’re only asking because that’s what happened the last time this show came to town.
(We can’t find links to the last two reports. We’re using the Nexis archive.)