Former U.S. Senator Gary Hart Photo credit: Matters of Principle

What Kind of a President would Gary Hart be today?

A One-time Leading Contender for the White House Reflects on What’s Happened to America Since a Sex Scandal Derailed His Political Career


When he ran for president 29 years ago, Gary Hart was seen as the candidate of new vision and new ideas. Today he thinks we need to get back to the fundamental ideas of our nation’s founders. Gary Hart talks to WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman about the downward spiral from the revolutionary ideal of citizen participation to the corporate reality of Citizens United.

Former senator and one-time presidential candidate Gary Hart has kept a close eye on the country since leaving office. The author of 21 books, he is especially troubled by what he calls “the increasing gap between purpose and performance” — that is, between the people we believe ourselves to be and the country we have created in our image.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of country the Constitutional Convention had fashioned, he replied: “A republic… if you can keep it.”  . In Hart’s view, our leaders have so corrupted the very fabric of America that our founders would have trouble recognizing it.

Hart tells WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman that the corruption he sees is not just about money. It’s about how we handle every aspect of our politics and our government.

Cleaning up the mess will require a massive effort of restoration. As he puts it in his book The Republic of Conscience, “Preservation and renewal of our first principles represent the duty we owe our founders to the Republic they bequeathed to us and our posterity.”

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Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Floodgate (Unknown / WikimediaCC BY-SA 3.0), U.S. Capitol (Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress / Wikimedia), NYSE (Andy C / WikimediaCC BY-SA 3.0)


  • Jeff Schechtman

    Jeff Schechtman’s career spans movies, radio stations and podcasts. After spending twenty-five years in the motion picture industry as a producer and executive, he immersed himself in journalism, radio, and more recently the world of podcasts. To date he has conducted over ten-thousand interviews with authors, journalists, and thought leaders. Since March of 2015, he has conducted over 315 podcasts for

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