During the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race, liberals dismissed as irrelevant Elizabeth Warren’s false claim that she was Native American, because they liked her progressive politics.

Most people don’t understand, however, what Warren did.

Warren didn’t just once check a box on a meaningless form from which she stood no gain.

As detailed at ElizabethWarrenWiki.org, for years Warren listed herself as Native American on questionnaires for a law professor directory used for hiring during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s, as she was climbing the law school ladder from U. Texas to U. Penn. to Harvard Law School. Warren then stopped that ethnic claim when she received a tenured position at Harvard in 1995.

While Warren claims that the law schools were not aware of her claim and it had no impact on her hiring, Warren has never authorized or directed Harvard to release its entire hiring file.

Somehow, this supposed secret that never was disclosed to Harvard prior to hiring was known to the Harvard Women’s Law Journal when Warren was a visiting professor in 1993, which listed Warren as a Woman of Color in Legal Academia. And after hiring, Harvard promptly promoted Warren as a Native American hire.  When the Boston Herald broke the story, Warren initially claimed not to know why Harvard touted her that way.

Warren excused this conduct by claiming that she either was Native American or at least thought so because of family lore.

Put aside that both the genealogy and much of the family lore have been debunked.

Warren never embraced Native American culture, never associated with Native Americans, never helped a Native American student group or represented Native Americans as a lawyer (though she did represent some of the largest corporations).

Fast forward. The NY Times has uncovered a 2009 voter application in which Jeb listed himself as Hispanic:

There is little doubt that Jeb Bush possesses strong credentials for appealing to Hispanic voters.

He speaks fluent Spanish. His wife, Columba Bush, was born in Mexico. For two years in his 20s, he lived in Venezuela, immersing himself in the country’s culture.

Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate, was born in Texas and hails from one of America’s most prominent political dynasties. But on at least one occasion, it appears he got carried away with his appeal to Spanish-speaking voters and claimed he actually was Hispanic.

In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled “race/ethnicity.”

A Bush spokeswoman could offer no explanation for the characterization. However, Mr. Bush took to Twitter late on Monday morning to call the situation a mistake.

Here was Jeb’s response on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JebBush/status/585091719550656512

Are the situations similar?

There is no reason for Jeb to have checked that box. If you want to count that against him, I can’t defend it. But there was no possible gain from it. It’s just a voter registration card.

Warren, by contrast, stood to gain from the law directory listing, putting her in the rather small category of “Minority Law Teachers” in the 1980s as law schools desperately were seeking to diversify faculty.

Whether Warren actually gained, she tried to.

Warren also stayed as far away from Indians as anyone possibly could — except to the extent it might help hiring through the law professor directory. Jeb, by contrast, has immersed himself in Hispanic culture and language.

And there is one other very big difference.

Jeb Bush immediately admitted his mistake. Elizabeth Warren never has.