WE have followed Gary Hart into his bedroom, and today we will follow him into his political grave.
When the returns from the Iowa caucus roll in tonight, Gary Warren Hart--or Hartpence, if you prefer, the 51-year-old ex-Colorado senator--will have beaten Donald Duck handily. But he'll be lagging behind most of the rest of the Seven Dwarfs in the country's first test of political strength.
For the first time since his trip to Bimini, Gary Hart will be a free man. Once the Iowa returns ensure his doom, Hart will be free to cruise the streets in a neighborhood near you. Mothers--warn your daughters. Donna Rice--unplug your phone.
Gary Hart's greatest accomplishment since returning to the presidential circus in December has been avoiding becoming the first candidate to suffer from husband beating. Lee--you can take that pot out of its hiding place now. The world won't be looking any more, so let him have it.
It's hard to say who will mourn Gary's passing more, stand-up comedians or Republicans. Or people of both persuasions, like Ronald Reagan.
At a recent black-tie function in Washington, Reagan added his entry to the Gary Hart Anthology of Humor. Reagan said that if Hart were president, he might hear this in a meeting with Margaret Thatcher:
Thatcher: "Gorbachev wants your hands off Afghanistan, Castro wants your hands off Central America and I want your hands off my leg."
Sorry, Maggie, old habits die hard.
Gary Hart always knew where the beef was. He was just too polite to say.
IN its expose of Hart's affair with Donna Rice, the Miami Herald allowed us all to be Peeping Toms. We all pressed our noses up against Hart's bedroom window, squinting to see what was going on.
The more socially conscious of us wondered whether Gary Hart practiced safe sex.
Sadly, Gary Hart says more about us than he does about himself. As Chauncey Gardner, the idiot in Being There said, "I like to watch." We have watched Hart's bedroom antics. And today, we will watch him wriggle on the cross.
Gary Hart has been both fool in the presidential palace and a martyr. Touchstone and Jesus Christ Super Stud.
Wherever he goes now, Hart is asked The Question. Will he be as faithless to the country as he was to his wife?
He has the same response every time. "I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I made a mistake..." He is lying on hard wood and drops of water are slowly falling on his forehead. Drop. "I made a mistake." Drop. "I made a mistake."
For Hart, the Chinese water torture ends today. Free at last. Now, to find something to get the rust off this zipper...
The same people who congregate around the Snake Woman's booth as soon as they step inside the carnival pick up the daily newspaper and flip eagerly to the political pages. Politics is the best peep show in town. (Right, Douglas-pass-the-bong-Ginsberg?)
Soon after the Miami Herald expose, a local TV station interviewed people about what news they were keeping up on: The Persian Gulf? No. The economy? No. What, then? Gary Hart.
Gary Hart's new campaign thems is "Let the people decide." Sorry, Gary, we already have decided. We will follow you almost anywhere--to Bimini and back--but we won't follow you into the White House.