Might Have Been

By Jamie, a Trail Mix Contributor

Anyone who knows me knows that if Hugh Jackman is in a movie, don’t stand between me and the theater on opening day.  This year, he stars in a film that asks more questions than it gives answers that will be released on Election Day or as the promoters say, “Go vote, then go to the movies”.  This combines my two greatest obsessions:  Politics and Movies.

The Front Runner is based on Matt Bai’s book, All The Truth is Out:  The Week Politics Went Tabloid, about the week that Gary Hart’s campaign was destroyed by the rumors of an extra marital affair that may or may not have happened in this case (there were others as he seems to have had a zipper problem) but changed political coverage by media seemingly forever.  As Hart has said, “You can get awful famous in this country in seven days.”

While I lived through the events, I knew next to nothing about Hart, except for the positions he took and then of course, the scandal that ended the campaign.  In a desire to know more I read a few articles and then wondered what he had been up to since. As it turns out, he never really went away and that scandal may have cost us an excellent President.  Fortunately, it did not deprive us of a great thinker. He returned to law, acted as an advisor to other politicians, made speeches, and most of all, he wrote:

  • James Monroe, the 5th President
  • God and Caesar in America
  • The Courage of Our Convictions
  • Restoration of the Republic, The Jeffersonian Ideal
  • The Fourth Power, A Grand Strategy for the US in the 21st Century
  • The Shield and the Cloak, The Security of the Commons

Hart is now considered one of the foremost thinkers on national security.  On September 4, 2001, exactly one week before the September attacks Hart gave a speech warning that within the next 25 years a terrorist attack would lead to mass deaths in the United States.  Hart met with aviation executives in Montreal, Canada, on September 5, 2001, to warn of airborne terrorist attacks. The Montreal Gazette reported the story the following day with a headline, “Thousands Will Die, Ex-Presidential Hopeful Says.”  On September 6, 2001, Hart met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to urge, “You must move more quickly on homeland security. An attack is going to happen.”  In a subsequent interview with Salon.com, Hart accused President George W. Bush and other administration officials of ignoring his warnings.

Recently I picked up his most recent (2015) book, Republic of Conscience  which is very much in line with Ben Franklin’s, “We’ve given you a Republic if you can keep it.” Hart provides an action plan. In about the clearest words I have read, this man now 81, has written a book that makes you want to highlight something on every page.   From the beginning of the Amazon introduction:

Going back as early as 400 BC, the idea of a true republic has been threatened by narrow, special interests taking precedence over the commonwealth. The United States Constitution was drafted to protect against such corruption, but as Gary Hart details in The Republic of Conscience, America is nowhere near the republic it set out to be almost 250 years ago, falling to the very misconduct it hoped to avoid.

Writing well before the 2016 campaign – “Conservatives have mounted a stealth campaign to produce barriers to voting.  There is an over-all domination of money, virtually all of it representing one special interest or another.  The political media even provide honors for those raising the most money.” I would quote more, but I would be rewriting the whole book.  Just go get it.

Hart and his wife Lee (now married for 60 years) were given a private showing of The Front Runner.  They both liked it and the questions presented.  Over hot chocolate afterwards, Hart asked, “Do I really talk like that?”  Lee answered, “Yes dear, just like that.”

Buy the books, go to the movie … Oh and don’t forget to vote.

More Posts by Jamie

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Author: Jamie

Retired writer/editor

54 thoughts on “Might Have Been”

  1. Jamie, thanks for starting off what seems to become (according to fearless leader) the trail’s Friday book mobile.

    and speaking of books, here’s packer’s take from 9/24 issue of new Yorker: With “Fear” and Trump, Bob Woodward Has a Bookend to the Nixon Story


    Bob Woodward’s “Fear” belongs on a shelf with the literature of mad kings, next to Robert Graves’s “I, Claudius,” featuring the Roman emperor Caligula, and Ryszard Kapuściński’s “The Emperor,” about the last days in the court of Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie. Those books are masterpieces of fictionalized history, while “Fear” is a remarkable feat of reporting conveyed in prose that couldn’t be called literary. But they resemble one another in their atmosphere of antic dread—the claustrophobic, gut-tightening sense that power has come utterly unmoored from reality, and no one in the palace is safe from the wild impulses of the ruler. …


    Woodward has written a kind of bookend to the Nixon story, and the ghost of the scandal that launched his career haunts the Trump White House. “All the President’s Men,” Woodward’s first collaboration with Bernstein, was at its heart a detective story, and the trail of evidence led the reporters into the Oval Office. We don’t yet know the outcome of Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice, but in a sense it doesn’t matter. The real crime is already in plain sight. 

  2. well, the fall-out and impact on many a reputation of many a folk will make a mighty interesting book someday.


    stuff like this from wapo: 

    Amid the maneuvering, the nomination was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent Kavanaugh friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as Ford’s possible attacker.
    Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.
    Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” the other classmate, Ford said, adding that she had once visited him in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”
    Republicans on Capitol Hill and White House officials immediately sought to distance themselves from Whelan’s claims and said they were not aware of his plans to identify the former classmate, now a middle school teacher, who could not be reached for comment and did not answer the door at his house Thursday night.
    Whelan did not respond to requests for comment. He had told people around him that he had spent several days putting together the theory and thought it was more convincing than her story, according to two friends who had talked to him.
    Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with both Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society who has been helping to spearhead the nomination. Kavanaugh and Whelan also worked together in the Bush administration.


  3. Republic of Conscience with its focus on security and the importance of “The Commons” was published at the beginning of the 2016 campaign.   Looking at the final paragraphs could make you either very depressed or very angry.
    “An increasingly bright searchlight is focusing on the explosion of lobbying interests discussed in this book.  There is still that latent streak of mystical idealism that may, against considerable odds, bring us home safely yet again.
    The future belongs to the leader or leaders who invent ways to reawaken America’s natural idealism and to create a new sense of the commons—all those things we hold together:  our climate and environment; our security; our public lands, resources, schools, transportation systems, and public health—in our founder’s words, our commonwealth.” 

  4. looks like Stephen Colbert also has a new book out –  also addressing an aspect of our commonweal – according to the week:

    President Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday, after the waters of Hurricane Florence had subsided in some communities, and he had a lot of things to say about boats, telling the owner of one destroyed home that at least he “got a nice boat out of the deal,” Stephen Colbert noted on Thursday’s Late Show. “His comments are so disturbingly inappropriate relative to this tragedy, the only way we could make them remotely palatable is to turn them into a children’s book. So gather round, kids, it’s time to read a little book we at The Late Show put together called Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane. Just a quick reminder, these are all actual things that he said to the storm-ravaged people.” Also, the illustrations are actually pretty great. Watch below. Peter Weber

  5. and Colbert critiques portion of what one might call a stormy book


    p.s thank you, sturge, for posting that unforgettable Imus tweet (though Flaubert of Madame Bov fame he is not quite) :
    @WhereMyImusAt Sep 19
    iMan could have gone a long time without a description of Trump’s dick. Add them big ole Blubber Titties and the stupid hair….that’s some freaky shit.

  6. I was signing books at the National Press Club’s annual Book Festival a few years ago and Gary Hart was at the booth next to me. Unprompted he signed his book and gave it to me without a word. So I reciprocated, also said nothing. We were both busy, thankfully, and never actually spoke to each other before I realized he was gone. Somehow my memory of that is more special because of the silence.

  7. Craig

    We really need a “thumbs up” (no down thumbs) for stories such as yours above.  Just to mark them as special.


  8. Jamie,

    Thanks for the thread.  Excellent idea.  (BTW your avatar appears to be rotated 1/4 turn counter clockwise).

  9. Really would like to use the occasional Friday for book play — even a paragraph on what you’re reading would do. Just email it to me and when I get two or three I’ll post them. Of course, longer form like Jamie’s fine piece today would also be nice. help@craigcrawford.com

  10. so much for restraint …

    I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!

  11. I know Gary Hart somewhat — from the McGovern campaign and later when he surfaced publicly and thought about being more in the public eye around 2007.  For a really smart guy, he did not understand the general public at all.

  12. Jamie…  great review!

    Bink… thanks for the song… nice.

    I finally got my copy of Fear and my real ID license in the mail yesterday.  Now I can legally read it!

  13. Flatus… the Browns won a game….   The BROWNS WON A GAME!

    The Red Sox clinched their division last night at Yankee Stadium.  The Browns beat the NY Jets.  Seeing the ending of both games against New York teams….     delicious!

  14. KGC

    Jackman did a whole lot of research and then stayed with Gary and Lee for a day plus seeing them again at the Telluride premiere.  His comments on him was that he was incredibly brilliant, but still a complete enigma as if there was something closed off from average people and he came away trying to play that element of mystery as much as the events.

    This is the Q & A from Telluride featuring Reitman (Director) and various cast members on what they hoped to convey and the questions they wanted to leave unanswered for the public to discuss:


  15. Jaime

    Yeah that sounds right.He just didn’t get it.  I think he thought JFK slept with anyone and everyone ..why couldn’t he

  16. Yeah, Renee, finally. But I have my memories of the olde Post-War Browns when most of the players had ‘real’ jobs during most of the year in order that they might play their hearts out in the Autumn and early Winter months.

    And I see that your team finally clinched the AL East. Somewhere along the line they’ll be playing the Indians again. Nice tradition there.

  17. Browns players worked as substitute teachers at my high school –Canton McKinley.  I remember Vince Costello cause some not very bright high school football player tried to tackle him in the hall

  18. KGC,

    We had to drive into Hudson to get Ice for our and my grandparents’ refrigerator at the Farm. Kicker Dante Lavelli worked at his father’s wrought iron works not far from where we picked-up the ice. We were impressed. If we were good, Dad would stop at Isaly’s and let us get ice cream cones. Those were the days.

  19. Now I am re-reading the book. Initially struck by this extremely relevant quote Hart put on the faceplate:

    Jonathan Swift: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”

  20. still wonder how many 17 year old boys in Maryland at this moment have been charged with sexual assault similar to that described by dr. ford.  would like to know the disposition of same.

    heard a former prosecutor say this a.m. on tv that in maryland there would be no statute of limitations problem in charging Kavanaugh now for the decades old event.

    my best advice, if he were my client,  would be to quietly withdraw from nomination, stay in job on appellate bench, and either beg the powers that be for an investigation to clear my name or confess youthful drunkenness begging the accused for forgiveness.

  21. The Montgomery County prosecutor and police said they would open a case but someone needs to file a complaint

  22. Craig

    I’ll look forward to your review.  As I said in my review of one book, you keep getting caught up with the insight and quotes on every page.

  23. This could be fun tonight”

    Texas Senate Debate between Ted Cruz & Beto O’Rourke – LIVE at 7pm ET on C-SPAN & C-SPAN Radio

    Check your time zone.  My channel is 4 – 5 PM

  24. Poohbah, Mrs. P and I heard the idiotic tweet from IMPOTUS this morning about why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago? Well there is this one little detail, sexual assault is not a federal crime so the FBI would have had no jurisdiction. He retweeted doubling down but correcting the jurisdictional defect asking to bring the criminal complaint she filed (she didn’t) then. What a fucking asswipe.

  25. Haha…..the sailors and jarheads weren’t acting out Finnegan’s Wake, they were acting out “Donovan’s Reef”.

  26. We are watching the Chairman ”asswipe and Mushroom-dick-in-chief show today it appears.  Consensus on the radio seems to be that ‘assley is doing everything he can to keep Pr. Ford from showing up to testify.  God I hate these guys.

  27. someone is using ny times to get Rosenstein sacked

    Rosenstein Suggested He Secretly Record Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment

    Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.
    None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.

  28. Exactly what I thought upon first hearing the story. A deep state distraction. The next domino will fall.

  29. the hill:

    Rosenstein rips NYT for ‘inaccurate’ story on Trump recordings

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is challenging a bombshell story in The New York Times alleging that he discussed secretly recording President Trump last year, calling it “inaccurate” and “factually incorrect.”
    Rosenstein said in a statement released by the Justice Department that there was “no basis” to invoke the 25th Amendment, after the Times reported that he proposed recruiting various Cabinet officials to take such a step in order to remove Trump from office over his unfitness.
    “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein said. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
    The Times, citing anonymous sources, reported Friday afternoon that Rosenstein made the comments in discussions with Justice Department and FBI officials in spring 2017, shortly after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director.


  30. Bill Shine certainly knows about covering up and diminishing  claims of sexual assualt, abuse and harrassment

  31. So, basically McConnell just that ‘in the very near future, a man who sexually assaulted a 15-year old girl will soon be on the Supreme Court.’   The GOP speaks.

  32. Watching the Texas debate.  Beto O’Rourke looks and sounds like a Senator.  Ted Cruz acts and talks like a high school junior spouting memorized talking points.

  33. Ted is “blessed to be married to Heidi”…yeah, and all of that Goldman Sachs money she hauled in.

  34. Oh, Tedious.  Low-cost healthcare policies that have been gutted of any benefits until  an astronomical deductible has been met will not fix the problem.   Your (the GOP’s) tax cuts got the wealthy only lined the pockets of the insurance industry.

    Insurance, like Wall Street, is legalized gambling.

    You gamble with our health, you gamble with our retirement futures, and,  you do it in a way that benefits the 1% like You and Heidi “Goldman-Sachs” Cruz.

    Lyin’ Ted Cruz.

  35. Ha! “True to form.”   Yep, the worst thing you can accuse Ted Cruz of is that he is Ted Cruz.

  36. meanwhile, back at the kangaroo court chambers
    cbs news:
    Grassley extends counteroffer deadline to 10 p.m.
    Grassley extended the deadline for Ford to respond to the counteroffer to 10 p.m., after initially requesting that she respond by 5 p.m.
    “It’s Friday night and nothing’s been agreed to despite our extensive efforts to make testimony possible,” Grassley said in a statement. “I’m extending the deadline for response yet again to 10 o’clock this evening. I’m providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford’s attorneys don’t respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify. In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I’ve been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony. We cannot continue to delay.”

    Republican staffer sent email to potential party attendee
    CBS News has obtained an email sent by a Republican staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee to a woman who may have attended the party in 1982 where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The letter says that this woman — whose name was redacted in the copy CBS News received — has “been identified as an individual who was in attendance at a party that occurred circa 1982 described in a recent Washington Post article.”
    The letter to the unnamed woman, dated Sept. 18, asks if she would be willing to participate in a confidential phone call to discuss the allegations made against Kavanaugh the following day.
    This kind of email may have been sent to the small number of people who attended the party in 1982, some of whom have not been identified.

    Senate GOP provides counteroffer to Ford’s terms
    CBS News has confirmed that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have provided a counteroffer to Ford, and the committee asked her to respond by 5 p.m. Friday to accept the terms. Conditions of the counteroffer include:

    The hearing will be held on Wednesday rather than Thursday;
    An outside counsel will question Ford;
    Ford will speak before Kavanaugh;
    Only one pool camera in the hearing room;
    Kavanaugh and Ford will be in separate rooms

    Judiciary Committee Democrats criticized these terms in a letter sent to Grassley Friday afternoon.
    “Now that it appears the Committee may be holding a hearing potentially as soon as next Thursday, we need to ensure the hearing is fair, impartial, and designed to uncover the truth. This means the Committee should at a minimum hear from the FBI, the individual who administered Dr. Ford’s polygraph test, and all witnesses to the event. This includes Mark Judge, each of the individuals Republican staff have contacted, and other relevant witnesses. There is simply no reason not to hear all the facts,” the letter reads. “The Committee should also hear from character witnesses for Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford – it is only fair to both – as well as from outside experts who can speak to these allegations. We will submit a list of minority witnesses we would like to call in the next day.”

  37. newsbusters:
    MSNBC: Maybe Ford Should File Criminal Charges Against Kavanaugh
    Appearing on MSNBC Friday afternoon, journalist Tim Phelps, who broke the story of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas in 1991, argued for Christine Blasey Ford to file criminal charges against Brett Kavanaugh with police in Montgomery County, Maryland based on her 36-year-old sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
    Reacting to a tweet from President Trump questioning why Ford did not report her claims to the authorities when alleged assault occurred in 1982, Phelps told fill-in anchor Kristen Welker: “…there’s no statute of limitations on felony sexual assault in Maryland. The President today has challenged Dr. Ford to come forward with documentation of her allegations. The road is still open to her to file charges in Montgomery County…”
    Phelps seemed excited by the prospect, declaring: “Can you imagine a Supreme Court nominee going forward if charges are filed against him?” Welker replied: “Makes it a lot more difficult, that is for sure.”
    Later in the 1:00 p.m. ET hour show, Welker conducted an exclusive interview with Ford’s sister-in-law, Sandra Ford Mendler, eagerly asking: “And we just spoke with someone who said that the President’s tweet this morning was, in fact, so explosive that there’s a scenario by which Dr. Ford would actually file charges now against Judge Kavanaugh. Do you think that’s a possibility?”
    Mendler seemed to discount the idea: “Well, she didn’t come forward filing charges. She came forward as a concerned citizen saying, ‘You’re doing a background check, this is information you should have.’”

  38. The GOOPERZ “offer” is to make this grilling as uncomfortable as possible for the victim.    It has nothing to do with getting to the truth of the matter.

    Female Citizens United…to squash the REPUGZ in November.

  39. wapo:  ‘100 Kegs or Bust’: Kavanaugh friend has spent years writing about high school debauchery

    As Christine Blasey Ford tells it, only one person can offer eyewitness confirmation of her account of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Prep.
    Ford says Judge watched Kavanaugh attack her at a high school party in the early 1980s and then literally piled on, leaping on top of her and Kavanaugh. Judge says he does not remember the party and never saw his buddy behave like that. Ford’s legal team has asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to compel Judge to testify.
    A review of books, articles and blog posts by Judge — a freelance writer who has shifted among jobs at a record store, substitute teaching, housesitting and most recently at a liquor store — describes an ’80s private-school party scene in which heavy drinking and sexual encounters were standard fare.
    Judge wrote about the pledge he and his friends at the all-male school on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, Md., made to drink 100 kegs of beer before graduation. On their way to that goal, there was a “disastrous” party “at my house where the place was trashed,” Judge wrote in his book “God and Man at Georgetown Prep.” Kavanaugh listed himself in the class yearbook as treasurer of the “100 Kegs or Bust” club.
    “I’ll be the first one to defend guys being guys,” Judge wrote in a 2015 article on the website Acculturated. He described a party culture of “drinking and smoking and hooking up.” During senior year, Judge said he and his pals hired a stripper and bought a keg for a bachelor party they threw to honor their school’s music teacher.
    “I drank too much and did stupid things,” he said in his memoir.
    “Most of the time everyone, including the girls, was drunk,” Judge wrote in “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” a memoir of his alcoholism and recovery. “If you could breathe and walk at the same time, you could hook up with someone. This did not mean going all the way . . . but after a year spent in school without girls, heavy petting was basically an orgy.”
    Judge has written about his Prep years as a time of drunken debauchery. Beach Week, a summertime excursion with classmates, was a nonstop roller coaster of drinking, sexual encounters with girls from other prep schools, blackouts and more drinking. “It was impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated,” he wrote.


  40. Since we are doing weekly book reports, you can also help with a PBS project.  If you aren’t doing it already, you can vote daily on your favorite novels to eventually pick the favorite.  You can vote for as many books as you want on The Great American Read.  They are all novels, and picking your favorites is fun.  I keep changing my mind.

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