It's always fun to write about a man I've seen in a dress. (You're next, Dad.)
Jon Bruning is tall with the face and hair of a man who should have been a mid-market sportscaster but who was tragically blessed with enough charisma to win smiles, enough wealth to make his dreams bigger, and not enough intelligence to understand his own fallibility. That is not to say Jon Bruning is dumb--I have no idea and I doubt very much that he is. What he should have been is this guy:
Lincoln, NE's ABC Affiliate KLKN Sportscaster Jon Wofford
What he is is this guy:
Kind of a Douchebag Jon Bruning
I don't really care for people who might rather have been born in a manger. Or those who at any point might wish for a catastrophe that they might transcend. Inevitably they create the catastrophe, fail it, and slink away to an ignoble twilight where they unironically contemplate how God could have ever failed them. I've always thought that was the subtext of this book. I'm sure if we think hard enough, we might be able to think of even more figures this profile applies to in our current scene. Maybe even someone who is on TV a lot. No, not Wolf Blitzer. Although yes, probably Wolf Blitzer.
I've spoken briefly with Jon Bruning maybe twice, each time at party where there were drinks, a few of his lackey's, and no talk of politics. He was very nice though seemingly guarded, perhaps naturally, when anything that could make him the least bit vulnerable came up. When one of his assistant AGs and I were talking a little about law school, for example, he declined to enter into the conversation politely but firmly, making it clear he wanted no part of any conversation, no matter how innocuous, that went into his past. And while it would be hard to blame him for that, it would have been nice to walk away with the feeling that he wasn't just a 6'4" election machine stuck on vote-getter. (Of course, considering what he wrote while in law school, his reticence might be more understandable).
I like to think I'm not a bad person, so I didn't take a picture of him on the occasion where he was in drag. But the photo would have been a great one: white frilly dress, blond wig, fake books and presumably real bra, a little makeup, and the biggest pair of platform heels I've ever seen. He must have rented it. It was a Halloween party at some friends' house, and I, like the attorney general, were guests there. Everyone was in some degree of embarrassing garb, but his getup was a statement while mine was a costume. Had I taken the picture--and for all I know someone did, we weren't his only party that night--I imagine all hell would have broken loose as it would have been exactly the thing his carefully parsed words try to hide: Jon Bruning is an aged-frat guy whose ambitions far outpace his talents.
He wants to be president. He thinks he would be governor if Osborne hadn't run (and lost). He's upset at the Nebraska Republican Party and taking it out by transforming himself even further to the right by becoming an anti-immigration, pro-war zealot. Since even in Nebraska being that right-wing makes most a little uncomfortable, I have a hard time seeing him beating Hagel or a strong darkhorse (like, say, Johans). That said, if Hagel doesn't run, Johans takes a cushy lobbying or CEO gig, and the Democrats run one of their usual punching bags, we're probably looking at Senator Bruning which is a positive only in that it pretty much ends any chance of finding himself elected president.