This New Republic piece can be seen as a puff-piece for the upcoming Gary Hart campaign, but I think that would be a mistake. It tells a good story of Hart working in England (on his now published book, Restoration of the Republic), meeting a couple of students, befriending them, and how they persuaded him to run because the country needs a man who is driven by ideas, etc. What should not be underestimated is that Hart just may well be the most interesting of the potential Democratic candidates. While admitting that the standards of comparison are low, yet there will seen to be a difference between the dry-as-dust current crop of potential nominees (the amusing and witty Howard Dean to the hilarious Senator Daschle and the humble John Kerry) and someone who can talk the big talk of civic responsibility and principle. Hart will try to do that. He is being portrayed as a man of ideas (and a Demo who warned us about terrorism before 9/11). That is what’s significant; and that may sell given the fact that the Demos are at a nadir. There is much else to say on this subject, I know, including the now hackneyed (post Mondale) point of the Demos wanting to recycle old guys, etc., yet it would be a mistake to ignore this trial balloon. Hart is going to be giving a series of speeches starting in January and not only what he says, but how it is going to be received by the press (and Demo operatives and money guys) will start giving us an indication of this interesting possibility. Here are a couple of stories about how Hart is not denying that he may be interested. This from the Denver Post and this from Newsday.