Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Gene Hackman, Sep/Oct 00
(continued from page 1)
Specifically, the radical right and Christian Coalition have done more to destroy our nation with soft money and clandestine politics, all designed to ruin the Democratic Party and its candidates. Need proof? All one must do is look back over the past eight to 10 years of Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and company laughing up their sleeves as America burns. Say what you will about Clinton's lying under oath, but it was a direct result of digging up enough dirt on a man's private affairs to catch him in a lie. It is absolute gospel that no president (or any other politician for that matter) has been subject to the level of mean-spirited, conniving and ruthless scrutiny as President Clinton has. Bar none. It was shameful how Newt manipulated the cameras at Clinton's State of the Union address culminating with Gingrich grinning directly into the camera like a school boy on time-out.
It was equally reprehensible how Limbaugh, Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy turned an entire nation of voters into completely jaded cynics. It was unbelievable how the GOP got into bed with the Christian Coalition and Jerry Falwell's Silent Majority and shamelessly misrepresented the truth, over and again, on radio, Trinity Broadcasting, 700 Club and in video via the Clinton Chronicles, all in the name of God. Personal attacks, questioning his religious mettle, ridicule of Hillary and Chelsea--those are not family values. Then there are the philanderers who spent millions on ads and literature for front organizations such as Family First and supplied lawyers to harass and belittle the president.
The hypocrisy of Rep. Lee Burton (R-Ind.), Gingrich and others who slammed Clinton for his misguided sexual dalliances when they themselves either fathered children out of wedlock or had affairs before divorcing their first wife! I could go on.... And we wonder why nobody good runs for office anymore. But this magazine's coming forward now bothers me. Where was Cigar Aficionado when all this was going down? Afraid you might have lost subscribers, perhaps? Maybe, Marvin, you have answered your own question with your inaction. I'm voting Democrat. Care to join me?
Tim S. McGlasson
Editor's response: It's tough to win these days. The subject came up this year because it's a presidential election year. Would it have been appropriate in the 1996 presidential race or 1998 congressional races? Yes. And, in 1994, 1992, 1990 and in 1988. If we were worried about losing subscribers for every word we printed, we wouldn't be in business.
In reading Governor Ventura's column, something very simple should have been made evident to the other 99.99 percent of elected officials in the United States--Americans have a growing dislike for the dysfunction that has become endemic in our political system. I made a bet with several friends that if Hulk Hogan succeeded in getting on the presidential ballot, he would win the presidency. My rationale was that the "serious" vote, the 36 percent of America currently voting, would split between the Democrats and the Republicans (with probably some serious defections within these groups) and the other 64 percent of America would go for Hogan as a major "stick-in-the-eye" of politics as usual.
It would only take 18 percent of the vote in this three-way for a Hogan-type candidate to win, and I'd predict him getting 25 to 30 percent, because there are truly that many embittered and poorly represented Americans. My grandfather once said, "If doing the right thing is a habit it is as easy as breathing. But if it is an option than life will be hard, long and brutish." The latter sounds like someone's life view for many of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Mark L. Walker