The New York Times magazine brilliantly notes that former Sen. Bob Graham's strange habit of domenting all sorts of personal minutiae -- an idiosyncracy that tainted his presidential bid in 2004 -- wasn't so different from the nonsense twittered by many politicians these days.
Matt Bai writes: I've been thinking lately about poor Bob Graham, as decent a man as any who ever entered politics. A presidential hopeful in 2004, the courtly Florida senator, who will be remembered for having the foresight to oppose the invasion of Iraq, was generally dismissed as a little too flaky to be taken seriously, and the chief evidence of this flakiness was his 20-plus years of personal diaries, in which he meticulously recorded the most mundane acts of his daily life: the content of his meals, the color of his shorts or tie, the application of his scalp medication. On the day in 1994 when his daughter Cissy gave birth, Graham noted the precise intervals at which he had watched and then rewound and then returned Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
After Time magazine published excerpts in 2000, rivals and journalists gleefully whispered that Graham was obsessive-compulsive and just plain weird. It turns out, though, that the weirdest thing about Bob Graham, at least by the standards of the current moment, is that he recorded all of his arcana privately, without assuming that the rest of the world would be dying to read it. Not so the politicians who have in recent months fallen madly in love with Twitter, the Internet service that lets you send out constant brief updates on whatever you might be doing at the moment which, when you come right down to it, is really just a Graham-like diary beamed out to hundreds or even thousands of voyeuristic subscribers.
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