Don’t look for lurid details in Hart offering
We take former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart at his word in his new autobiography, “The Thunder and the Sunshine,” that he never dared the entire press corps covering his 1988 presidential bid to follow him.
We already know that five days before the Colorado Democrat ended that presidential bid on May 8, 1987, which President George H. Bush eventually won, the New York Times Magazine quoted Hart as saying, “Follow me around, I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’d be very bored.”
But if readers of the book want to learn more about that incident, Donna Rice, Monkey Business or any other lurid details that led to his decision to drop out of the race, they will be disappointed.
He mentions none of it.
Instead, the well-connected, well-informed Hart tells a tale of his life in and out of politics from the 1960s to the present, offering an inside look at George McGovern’s 1972 presidential bid, for which he was campaign manager, to his role as co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on National Security in the late 1990s.
Told through the lens of Ulysses, the Homer character who abandoned his country and family in search of he knows not what, Hart gives us a glimpse of the back story of modern American politics, what the real hopes and dreams were for a then young Denver lawyer out to change the world.
He talks of McGovern’s successes and shortcomings, and the commission’s hope for a more secure America. For example, though most believe the Homeland Security Act passed by Congress in 2002 was a direct result of 9-11, it actually was a chief recommendation of the commission, which was a created by former President Bill Clinton three years earlier.
Hart does say he would have made a good president — “possibly even a very good one” — hinting that he could have ended the Cold War years before it ended itself.
Believe or don’t believe a word he says. As Hart writes in the forward:
“History ultimately is its own judge. Only history will determine if a man’s recollections are worth noting or remembering. In the end, one does not record for history; one records for oneself. The only thing unique about this history is that only I could have recorded it.”