THE NEW YORK TIMES:
As we fantasize about a parallel universe, where America is not a joke and our president cares about other human beings, the same questions keep swirling in our heads.
What has happened to this country? Can he be stopped? When will it end? How the hell did we get here?
At sunset in the red mountains outside Denver, a tall man with white hair, granite features, black jeans and black Lucchese cowboy boots thinks he knows that last answer.
While the rest of us obsess on what happened in 2016 and what will happen on Tuesday, Gary Hart is bedeviled by what happened in 1987, and whether the tabloid mania sparked by his liaison with Donna Rice led down a rattlesnake-filled path straight to our tabloid president.
Hart, and a new Jason Reitman movie about the Rice imbroglio, “The Front Runner,’’ both pose the question: Is there a direct connection between Hart’s fall and Trump’s rise?
If reporters had not hidden in the bushes, would there have been any Bushes?
If Hart had won in ’88, would Dick Cheney have finished his career with a golden parachute at Halliburton instead of a dark plunge into deranged global domination? Would we have been spared from two wars against Saddam, Sept. 11, ISIS and the climate catastrophe?
“I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility,” Hart says, picking at a “game plate” of elk, buffalo and quail at The Fort restaurant outside of Denver. “If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed.
“And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody.’’
You could dismiss this as “sans moi, le deluge” grandiosity. But, whatever his flaws, the former senator from Colorado was a political Nostradamus. He foresaw the rise of Silicon Valley and the demise of Detroit. Known as “an Atari Democrat,’’ he lunched in L.A. with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1983.