Bush knew a good thing when he saw it. As a candidate, he put his arms around Bruni, whom he nicknamed “Panchito” Bruni, and cooed, “You know we love you.” Later, Bush looked across a crowded room at Bruni and mouthed, “I love you, man.” Bruni did not mention whether he told Bush that he loved him back, but in relationships as in literature, it is always better to show than to tell. Either way, Bush sure knew his man. Bruni went over to the Gore camp one day and found out, to his apparent horror, that Al Gore not only did not love him; he did not even bother to come up with a nonsensical nickname for the writer.
Gore, Bruni complained, “made no effort. His energies were channeled into his campaign trail remarks, so dense with knowledge, so showy with digressions. He sweated the big stuff and muffed the small stuff.” To Bruni this was unforgiveable—the idea that a potential president thought it worthwhile to focus on issues rather than declaring his love for reporters—and Bruni more than made him pay for it.
Bruni was an awful political reporter and a worse food critic (I do like the blog that parodies him). I also find his general on-page demeanor to be too much of a caricature of society’s negative stereotypes of gay men. Maybe that’s what he’s really like, but it rubs me the wrong way, the same way it does when Tweety and MoDo start sounding like a poor parody of my Irish aunts and uncles.