Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Political Lessons from a Slow Learner

Gary Hart, who might have been President, suggests today on the Huffington Post the lessons to be learned from the disaster in Iraq, chief among them not to treat dealing with terrorism as a war but as a law enforcement effort against organized crime and create an international agency to prosecute it.

It is a sad reminder of the losses to our public life we suffer from the media-centric treatment of politicians like rock stars.

Hart, a Senator from Colorado, barely lost the Democratic nomination to Walter Mondale in 1984 and was considered the front runner for 1988 until he challenged the media to “follow me around” after rumors about his womanizing began to circulate.

They did and published a photo of a young woman on his lap during a cruise on a yacht named “Monkey Business,” and Democrats ended up with Michael Dukakis, who apparently was faithful to his wife but had little else to endear him to voters. Hart has been on the political sidelines since then.

Oddly, I met him in 1984 at a party hosted by Arianna Huffington, then Stassinopolous. Hart had just appeared on the “Today” show and, when I suggested he had muffed an answer, yawned and said, “It was just too early in the morning.”

He shouldn’t have been staying up late even then.

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