More on Hart’s decision

In response to my last post, Kevin Thurman tells me to “shove it.” He was reacting to my sarcastic comments about Hart’s assertion that he had an army of young people who would have delivered $8m to him in the next eight months. I am skeptical of this claim – younger volunteers supply endless amounts of passion, energy and time, but rarely that kind of cash. But maybe he was on to something.

That point aside, I’m amazed at the depth of the passion for Gary Hart, a passion I was completely oblivious to. Here’s a piece from Thurman (you should read the whole post, however):

The answers to the questions [Hart] has posed to the nation and the party are ours, not his. So it is up to us. Personally, I am thinking about running for office or joining a political campaign. Either way, I carry Gary, his questions, his challenges, and his vision with me and I thank him for that. The only way to repay him is by doing the same for others.

So lets take Gary’s vision to the ballot box, the coffee shop, the city council, and the classroom. His exit can be seen as devastating or empowering, and that is completely up to us.

That is why I love politics: fundamentally, it is completely it is our hands. Not any single person or group, no matter what Rove may wish.

Another recent commenter at this blog, Matthew Langer, has a similarly strong recap of his reaction to Hart’s decision (again, read the whole thing):

What Gary has done for people like Kevin and I and many others is remind us that there are still leaders in our party, still vision, still ideas. And our dedication to his cause has instilled in us a constant reminder of this tenet, and has passed on the torch of his vision so that we may guide it safely into the future.

Even though Gary’s was a presidential bid that wasn’t to be, it has brought his passion into a new generation, into the future leaders of our party and our nation. It has reminded us – demanded us – to, in the words of one of his heroes and one of mine, not look at the world and ask why, but to look at the world and ask why not.

I confess that I’ve been so wrapped up in working on behalf of Governor Dean that I’ve completely missed this commitment to, and inspiration from, Senator Hart. I thought I was paying attention to this race – and I missed it. Completely.

What I find intriguing is that both Thurman and Langer derive a fair amount of inspiration from Bill Clinton, and in that I see parallels to my own political “upbringing”. I was a college senior when I volunteered on the Clinton campaign, saw him speak at two political events, and even went to the inauguration and crashed one of the inaugural parties. I remember the commitment, the faith and the unbridled enthusiasm I had for our direction at that point. It’s incredible how far the party’s fallen in just over a decade.

Kevin and Matt both talk of grand ideas, of questions, and of vision. Interestingly, those are the exact reasons I got behind Governor Dean in the first place. For their own reasons, Kevin and Matt do not see what I see – and for that, I’m disappointed. I don’t expect to convert them – but I do wish them luck, and hope that they find a candidate worthy of their commitment.

One thing I’m sure of – the party needs more people who are willing to drop everything and do whatever it takes to elect a leader worthy of the office.

So – to Kevin and Matt, and any other Hart supporters out there, I’ll say what I should have said earlier: be proud of your efforts to this point, and stay in the game. Do whatever you can. We need your help.