Tag Archives: Gary Hart

Reader Response To Gary Hart

Before I post a couple of excellent responses, I wanted to put Gary Hart’s comments in context.  First, he is and always will be a politician.  Therefore his personal views will have an element of “lipstick beautification” applied.  By default at his core he – like all politicians – tries to be a people-pleaser.   But having said that, I applaud Hart’s courage for offering an honest and brutal assessment of the current political and economic system. He is the first politician – including Ron Paul – who has been willing to publicly condemn our Government as being outright “corrupt.”  Name one other politician who has used that specific word.   My hat’s off to any politician who is willing to do that.

Reader “Guy:”

Excellent article Dave!

Yesterday there was a parade in town (we live near a small town of about 4000 people…very rural). To my wife and I, as we drove through town to meet a friend, we wondered what these people are thinking (those setting up chairs along the parade path in advance of the parade)? What I mean is they have no clue what is happening to this country. Celebrate July 4? Are they kidding us? Does anyone of them know the real significance of July 4, 1776 and what led up to that date? I looked at the people’s eyes and their physical condition (lot of fat) and could see “brain dead”. It’s something I can feel based upon years of experience. It’s sort like they are drugged. They simply don’t comprehend events around them in a manner that would result in knowledge, understanding and wisdom. They are mentally handicapped.

Gary Hart made this statement: “The people of this country are smart, and they want candidates who can say, “And here’s what I think we should do about it,” in very specific terms.” Being a politician, he avoided the truth about people in this country in the collective sense. In our humble opinion, the collective in this country (and abroad, too), are just plain brain dead (stupid). Of course, this is what they (those who think they are in power over us) desire. As such, to those that “know” the score, these people are our enemy (the brain dead), too.

On the subject of the Civil War and the ending of slavery as discussed by Gary Hart, he’s got that all wrong. This shows what he does not know about history. Again, he shows his “politician” sense. The Civil War has the appearance of the “slavery” issue as we were taught. Slavery was promoted to the people at that time to gain support in the north for war (sound familiar?). The real issue was taxation imposed by the north on the south because the south was importing machinery, goods, etc. from Europe instead of purchasing same from northern factories (European trade benefited the south because of lower prices that what the north offered). How many know this? Do the research. We have been lied to and it started a long time ago.

Reader Titus:

 “And as you can see, in the debate over the Confederate flag, we still haven’t gotten it totally right.”

It’s not clear what Hart means here, but I suspect he’s the one who has it wrong here. The Civil War was very much about sovereignty and the power of the people (in this case people living in southern states) to live under their own laws and free of laws that were imposed on them from Washington, D.C. Not everyone–and certainly not every state, which are supposedly sovereign–consented to those laws. This is crucial, because it was consent–and only consent–on which the drafters of the Declaration of Independence based the colonies’ legal right to jettison what they saw as an unjust regime.

Both the south and the colonists had withdrawn their consent. That Hart disagrees with the reasons that one aggrieved group withdrew its consent and agrees with the other is wholly irrelevant. What is relevant is the withdrawal of popular consent, end of story.

After the Declaration, many signers were hunted down and killed. Similarly, it’s no accident that the Civil War accounts for nearly half (620,000–only a tiny fraction of whom owned slaves, incidentally) of the American deaths in her wars.

The stakes don’t get any higher than when sovereignty is at stake.

And today, sovereignty is at stake once again in the form of the TPP. It should be front and center in the national debate, since it’s the life and death of sovereign America that’s at stake.

Hart says nothing about this, a curious omission by someone who tells us he’s so concerned about sovereignty and the power of the people, which is about to vanish down the shithole of history.

Other than completely fucking up the most important thing he was talking about in that interview, Hart was dynamite.

I appreciated Titus’ comment even more on my second read-thru.  I did offer that the TPP was likely above the scope and context of the Westword interview and certainly above the scope of most Denver Westword readers, half of whom are stoned most of the time.

However Titus brings up a spectacular point here.  Given the fact that the TPP, once ratified, will usurp the Constitution as the supreme body of law governing the United States, it is beyond pathetic that every single Congressman and Senator is refusing to go public with the details of the TPP Agreement.  Are you afraid of a little jail time, Elizabeth?  Bernie?  Rand?  

Where are these cowards and hypocrites who refuse to defend the rights of the American public?

Where are these supposed politicians of, by and for the People?  Why are they not standing up for what’s right and telling the world what is in the TPP Agreement?  Apparently the terms of the Agreement are so horrific to the populace and so beneficial to the big corporations who drafted the Agreement that it requires the threat of jail to deter any disclosure.

Once the TPP Agreement is ratified, it will mark the end of the United States as it was founded and has existed for 239 years.

Happy Fourth Of July?

To begin with, the founders created a republic, and all of the founding debate in the late 18th century used the language of the republic from ancient Athens and Greece. And one of the key qualities of the republic was resistance to corruption. Now, they did not define corruption as bribery. They defined corruption as placing special or personal interests ahead of the common good — or today what we would call national interest. And when you apply that standard to politics in America today, we are a massively corrupt republic.  –  Gary Hart, former Senator from Colorado and 1984 Presidential candidate – Westword article link

I’m not really sure why we celebrate the 4th of July anymore.  What is it exactly that we’re celebrating?  The fact that we’ve been stripped of the rights – the Bill of Rights – and the guarantee of those rights – by the most ruthlessly corrupt Government in history?  Are we celebrating the fact that the police in this country get away with killing an average of 1 person every 7 hours?  Perhaps some of you are cracking a champagne bottle over the fact that the business and political elite running this country are allowed to operate free from any fear whatsoever of violating the legal constraints originally put in place to prevent  their unfettererd wanton acts of political  rape, financial pillage and unbridled wealth theft.

Certainly all military activity since WW2 has been based on rampant U.S. imperialism seeded in the U.S. Government’s attempt to rule the globe – to impose our “exceptional” code of values and ethics (note the sarcasm) on the rest of the world.    The principles and Rule of Law upon which this country was founded have been smashed and usurped by an uncontrollable, filthy band of criminal elitists and the corrupted politicians they have purchased.  This specifically and especially includes “President” Obama, who is perhaps the most pathetic political sock-puppet in history.

The theme of the ruling elite this year is “beware of terrorists.”  The news this morning was advising viewers to “report anything suspicious.”   The fear-mongering propagated by our Government has become beyond ridiculous.  Bankers and corporate America commit felonies – and in some cases have admitted it – yet, they go unpunished.  In fact, at tthe absurd extreme, the front-running candidate to be the next President has openly committed treason and multiple felonies.  Go figure that one.

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In the context of the global community, it’s outright embarrassing, if not pathetic to be an American…I wanted to re-print this interview with Gary Hart published in Westword magazine, Denver’s version of New City’s “Village Voice.”  Hart delivers a brutal assessment of this country’s lapse into Dante’s Inferno.

Westword: Can you give a quick synopsis of The Republic of Conscience?

Gary Hart: It’s a contrast between what the founders of our country envisioned and what we have become in the 21st century, especially in the field — I guess you would call it — of political ethics. To begin with, the founders created a republic, and all of the founding debate in the late 18th century used the language of the republic from ancient Athens and Greece. And one of the key qualities of the republic was resistance to corruption. Now, they did not define corruption as bribery. They defined corruption as placing special or personal interests ahead of the common good — or today what we would call national interest. And when you apply that standard to politics in America today, we are a massively corrupt republic. [This is] because of the explosive growth of the lobbying industry in Washington, including now over 400 former members of Congress…and the connection of that industry to the staggering increase in campaign-financing costs, and the amount of money that candidates for office raise from those special interests and lobbyists. And then finally, [we’re] creating a kind of closed political system in Washington, in which you have to be part of that political elite to get anything done or try to pursue what’s best for the country. And that’s my analysis in 200 pages as to why there is such frustration with a stalemated government.

Westword:  The Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case comes to mind when you speak of the growing influence of money in the political system. What have been some of the other developments that have given more power to wealth and special interests?

The time while I was in office, which was in the ’70s and ’80s, [witnessed] the beginning of the merging of office holders with lobbyists, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, the transference of former members of Congress, whether retired or defeated, into the ranks of lobbyists, so that they could use their contacts in Washington…to get what they want for their largely corporate clients, and then, when they were successful, reward the members of Congress who voted for them…with heavy campaign contributions. What the Supreme Court managed to do was legalize and legitimize this kind of institution of corruption. So it’s been a phenomenon of the last thirty, no, more than forty years, and has occurred in my lifetime. And what it does is take away the idealism of young people who want to work in government to help their country, when they see first-hand as members of staff, or as young elected officials, how this system works and how corrupted it is. And it erodes that idealism, and it causes people to say, “Okay, if everybody is making a lot of money doing this, then I’m going to make a lot of money doing it as well.”

Westword:  Can you offer a comparison between what it takes financially to run a political campaign today with what was required when you ran for President in 1984 and 1988?

Well, let’s start with the Senate. It draws a laugh now when I tell people this: When I ran for the Senate in 1974, and there was a contested primary among Democrats to run [against] a very wealthy, two-term, Republican incumbent… the entire race from beginning to end cost $375,000 dollars, and the average contribution was $17. By 1980, when I ran for reelection, I had to raise $1.1 million, three times the amount six years before, and I was outspent, even though I won. By today’s time, a Senate seat in Colorado, a state of five million people, costs roughly $25 million to $30 million — or even more. So you can see the contrast between 1974 and 2015, just in that fairly short period of time in American history. On the national level, I ran a close second to Vice President Mondale for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and I think the total amount in fifty states — we campaigned in all fifty states and the contest went to the convention in San Francisco — our entire campaign was $20 million to $25 million, which I thought was a staggering amount at the time…. Well, today Hillary Clinton says she’s going to raise at least $1 billion, and possibly, her staff says, as much as $2.5 billion. So that’s happened in this country in thirty years — it’s staggering.

Westord:  In 2014 an article out of Princeton caused some stir by implying that the United States is an oligarchy, not a democracy — nor a republic, for that matter. Would you confirm that notion?

Well, make sure that everybody understands what that means. It basically is a term applied to countries where there are very few ruling families, as in much of – in the past, at least – Latin America and other parts of the world. Well, if we get down to a Bush-Clinton race, this will be the fourth presidential campaign for a Clinton, two of which have been successful, and the fourth or fifth race for a member of the Bush family for the presidency, three of which have been successful. That comes very very close to any definition of oligarchy you want to mention. Now somebody’s going to say, “There’s fifteen people on the Republican side.” This is more or less true. But that includes not only a Bush whose father and brother were presidents, but a number of candidates who, right out of the starting block, have their own billionaire sponsors – whether a casino mogul or some other extremely wealthy person. If that’s what we’ve gotten down to, that is a form of oligarchy.

Westword:  Given your open lament of political dynasties in America, who would you want to see as Democratic candidate for the upcoming presidential race?

Someone who understands the dramatic changes going on the world in the 21st century. I’m not going to name any names. 2015 is dramatically different from the 1990s. Even if you were first lady in the 1990s, you need to think about an almost totally different world, and not govern with the same people, the same ideas, the same policies that your husband pursued 15, 20 or 25 years ago. That’s a roundabout way of saying I’m hoping one of the Democratic candidates – and the field is not yet closed, I don’t think – will reveal an understanding of the world in which we live: of globalization, of the information revolution, of the changing nature of warfare, of trade, of immigration, of all of these 21st century new realities and propose policies specifically to address them. Not just say “immigration is a big issue” or “trade is a complicated issue” — that’s not enough. The people of this country are smart, and they want candidates who can say, “And here’s what I think we should do about it,” in very specific terms.

Westword: Going back to the 18th century, what are some of the principles you speak of that inspired you to write Republic of Conscience?

I started twenty or so years ago studying the history of the republic. We’re taught in America about – and we use the language of -democracy. But as I said earlier, if you read the founding documents and the debates, they used the language of the republic, and if you stopped ten people on the street and said, “What is a republic?” they probably couldn’t tell you because it’s not taught in our schools.

So I did my own study, including getting an advanced degree on the history of the republic and the American Republic. And since Athens in the fourth or fifth century BC, there have been four qualities of republics. First of all, what’s called popular sovereignty, that is to say, the power belongs to the people: no king, no potentate, no strong-person. The power of the republic belongs to the people. That’s very important. It sounds like a bumper-strip slogan, but it’s powerful. It’s a powerful idea and has been for 2,500 years. The second thing is what they call civic virtue, and what that meant was citizens owe some of their energy to the maintenance and promotion of the republic. More than just voting, or more even than just volunteering for military service — but engagement and participation in the political issues of the day. Going to town meetings, participating in debates, reading, thinking, staying current and trying to help seek solutions, even at the local level, not necessarily at the presidential level. And then, I mention the sets of the commonwealth, what we have in common, not what we as individuals want, or what our group wants, but what we as Americans have in common. And it’s a lot. It’s transportation systems, it’s natural resources, it’s the environment, it’s national parks and recreation, it’s the military, and the list goes on. If you add up all of the things that belong to all of the people of the United States, its pretty impressive, and it means you have to pay attention to the preservation of that commonwealth. And finally I mentioned resistance to corruption. And those are the four qualities that our founders believed in very strongly, and they believed most strongly in the fourth one. And that’s why I wrote the book.

Westword:  Is there a potential critique of the American Republic, given that such oppressive conditions existed at the founding of the United States, such as slavery and the inability of women to vote? Does this belie the principles that underlie the idea of the Republic?

Well, I deal with those in the book, and I say we have made huge progress in those areas. Not only in the Civil War, which abolished slavery, and all the Civil Rights movements that occurred thereafter, but in the empowerment of women, the increasing protection of the environment, the openness of government: There’s much ability now, at least on CSPAN and so forth, for everyday Americans to see what’s going on in the House or Senate if they care to, and a lot of people do. So, yes, there has been progress, I’m not saying it’s all been downhill. We’ve done very well in many respects.

Civil rights in the ’50s and ’60s we had to do, because we were combatting communism and they were dragging us over the coals in Latin America and Africa and Asia for being a segregationist society. So we couldn’t fight the Cold War in the Third World without achieving greater equality here at home. And as you can see, in the debate over the Confederate flag, we still haven’t gotten it totally right.
But the fact that we’ve made progress in those areas doesn’t mean we’ve also drifted away from some very vital foundational principles. And I make both those arguments.  INTERVIEW LINK