The paper's political profiler Mark Leibovich was stirred into action with a "Man In The News" profile of the new senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, "For Kennedy's Republican Successor, Discipline Helped Carve Path to Senate." Leibovich generally flatters Democrats and mocks Republicans, and that double standard was on display in his Brown profile.
Scott Brown lives by what he calls "Army values," instilled 30 years ago when he joined the Massachusetts National Guard. "The most regimented person I know," his oldest daughter calls the Republican politician, who abhors disorder while sometimes inviting it with audacious pursuits - whether jumping into frigid lakes at 5 a.m. (for triathlon training) or into a seemingly quixotic Senate race.
"I treated this campaign like a sprint triathlon," Mr. Brown said in an interview Wednesday. "You have to be good in everything, 18, 19 hours a day. We were just out there cranking."
"Just out there cranking" could be a mantra of a man quick to boast of his athletic accomplishments and confident enough to challenge President Obama - who had called to congratulate him Tuesday night - to a basketball game. He strives for "total discipline" but can be prone to curious public statements (declaring his 19- and 21- year-old daughters "available" in his victory speech ); he has fashioned a "nice guy" image while sometimes offending ( saying, for instance, in 2001 that lesbians having children was "not normal").
After documenting Brown's troubled childhood, misspent youth, and eventual turnaround, Leibovich implied a snarl behind the smile:
Mr. Brown has tried to project a more conciliatory image even while unloading criticism on the state "Democratic machine" and being embraced by many conservative hardliners across the country. He sprinkles his sentences with "sirs" and "ma'ams" and "with all due respects." He has been generous in praising Mr. Kennedy and said the first person he called after his victory Tuesday night was Mr. Kennedy's widow, Victoria.
Leibovich was more forgiving of the gaffe-tastic Joe Biden in a March 2009 profile of the veep. Far from calling some of Biden's past comments "offensive," as he did with Brown, Leibovich didn't even mention Biden's multiple gaffes, like calling Obama "articulate and bright and clean," or his argument that someone needed an Indian accent to walk into a Dunkin' Donuts in his home state of Delaware.