Hack Writing, Pt. 3412

Count the cliches in this story:

There are other ways the Bush team thinks the Jeb brand could be unique. His father, George H.W. Bush, governed as a ­free-spending, tax-raising, ­foreign-policy pragmatist, while Jeb Bush aims to offer himself as a small-government conservative reformer motivated chiefly by domestic concerns. Where older brother George W. Bush was widely regarded as an incurious and at times inept executive, Jeb Bush believes he might appeal to voters as a competent and detail-oriented leader with wonkish curiosity and a zest for big ideas.

The 41st president presented himself as an patrician patriot and public servant, while the 43rd styled himself as a brush-clearing cowboy with Texas bravado. The Bush who hopes to become the 45th president thinks he can do so by portraying himself as the embodiment of modern America’s cultural melange: a fluent Spanish speaker and Catholic convert who married a Mexican immigrant, made Miami his home and preaches a gospel of inclusion and opportunity.

The operating intelligence of the average political reporter can’t comprehend the mind that can read policy documents, thus “wonk.” Note how the story defines “wonk” — a “detail-oriented” person, a phrase stolen from leadership manuals. Nothing in this excerpt would displease a Bush, not even the ostensibly disparaging remarks about the last Bush president. He’s a Texas maverick, see, full of bravado.

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