Still, at the risk of my job with Human Events and his with The New York Times -- I really love Frank Bruni's new book, "Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush." Bruni is my friend, but I can prove it has absolutely nothing to do with that.
We've got a file on Bruni at Human Events, cataloguing some of his world-class snippy comments about Bush for The New York Times. I've always explained these away with the excuse parents invariably use for their delinquent children: My kid is fine, but he's hanging out with a bad crowd. I don't know how Bruni got mixed up with a bunch like The New York Times, but there it is.
Moreover, Bruni is snippy about everyone, including the press. These are some of the most satisfying sections of this book. He witheringly describes the insecurity driving the media's group-think reporting style: Reporters fixate on "tidy plot lines," as he calls them, and "when one emerges, few reporters want to find themselves on a different, lonelier page."
Bruni does not address how the "plot line" on the leading Republican candidate is always, invariably, without exception, that he is a bozo. But he does observe that in the case of Bush, this judgment -- treated as "stark and irrefutable" by "some observers" (as Bruni terms bitter, angry leftists) -- was "willfully selective and oblivious to a contradictory body of facts."
During one campaign speech, Bush was asked about the mapping of the human genome. Bruni writes: "I could see my colleagues widen their eyes and draw in their breath, steeling themselves for catastrophe, and I quickly shot a glance at my recorder to make sure it was working. This promised to be priceless. Would the genome be a vehicle to make sure the American dream was touching every willing heart?"
And then Bush gave a fluid and serious response on a topic he had never before addressed publicly. It's hard to imagine any other reporter who would describe his own prejudices with such candor.
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