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YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsGary Hart

He's Back

December 16, 1987

Gary Hart's capacity to offend his fellow Americans seems to have no limits. He has injected himself back into the Democratic presidential contest utterly without invitation, and without any hint that he gives a hoot what the people want in their presidential candidates.

None of that is important to Hart, because, as he says, "I have ideas." Fine. Many of Hart's ideas are in fact quite good ones--not necessarily new or original, but good. However, the people of the United States clearly require more than ideas from their Presidents.

Hart's inexplicable decision to re-enter the presidential contest is, well, inexplicable. Is it to qualify for federal campaign matching funds to help retire his debt? If so, that is unworthy cynical opportunism. Is it because he thinks that none of the other candidates are as qualified as he to be President? If so, Hart not only is wrong, he also is doing the others and the Democratic Party an arrogant disservice.

The problem with Hart is not Donna Rice or cruises in the Caribbean or dates in Washington townhouses. Hart not only wants to be President, he also wants the job on his own terms, with himself as sole judge of the qualifications. Long before Donna Rice, Hart showed that, no matter how good his ideas were, his judgment was deeply flawed.

In his announcement on Tuesday, Hart gave no sign that he even yet understands his problem, or that his announcement is an insult to the American political process.

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