Flynt brings the Capitol to its knees

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt again thrusts himself into the political spotlight, this time with a vengeance against Republican hypocrisy. His first large-scale government battle was immortalized in the movie “The People vs. Larry Flynt” — about his position as a defendant in a first amendment case before the Supreme Court. In October, Flynt took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post, offering up to $1 million for any person who could produce documentation of an adulterous sexual affair with a member of Congress.
The previous House speaker-to-be, Bob Livingston, R-La., was left politically devastated after being the first victim of Flynt’s findings. This week, says Flynt, two more “big fish” will be exposed — one early in the week, one later. On Capitol Hill, politicians with something to hide are nothing less than terrified. Talk of being “Larry Flynted” brings ulcers to the most stoic congressman.
President Clinton has decried this as “the politics of personal destruction,” and Livingston warned, as he stepped down, of a “government by Larry Flynt.” Meanwhile, political analysts are agonizing over “sexual McCarthyism.”
I, for one, am already making hopeful plans of the downfall of a certain moralist, judgmental majority whip. This political target practice is not only amusing, but it is deserved. Larry Flynt certainly has his own personal reasons for doing this. On a recent “Good Morning America” show, he spoke of how he loved Clinton and voted for him in both elections. He said he thinks the whole impeachment mess is hypocritical, and said he has the money to get the proof that backs up his argument. He said he’s also planning to publish the details in a one-time “Flynt Report.”
Flynt seems to be performing a public service, no matter what he originally intended. When you get right down to it, this impeachment is the attempted removal of a popular president by members of the opposite party who control Congress. Impeachments are not supposed to be partisan. The fact is that we voted for Clinton and his job approval rating has not gone down, but up. The attempt to remove him from office is opposed to the sentiments of the American public.
It’s also important to note what Flynt is not doing as well as what he is doing. He is not morally judging these men for having affairs and whatever else they did. This is not “sexual McCarthyism,” as many political analysts have said. What he is doing is exposing the terrific hypocrisy existing within Congress. Instead of the typical speculation of which congressmen are adulterers, Flynt isn’t speculating, he’s paying cold cash to get some hard facts. He’s going to prove that these men do not practice what they preach.
The Congress brought this on themselves. With all the dirty politics as of late, a scandal was sure to follow. The turmoil within Washington, D.C. is that the control of information is not in political hands. They have no way of keeping Flynt quiet.
Flynt may be a hero to some at the moment, but he’s no angel. He has cast himself as a politically righteous character on more than one occasion — in the First Amendment case as a proponent of free speech, and now with his current search-and-destroy-hypocrisy mission. Let us remember the depictions of a woman in a meat grinder and of gang rape that have disgraced the pages of his magazine.
Of course, as strong as my distaste for Flynt is, it’s hard not to get somewhat excited about who will be next on his exposure hit list. While certain congressional members are sweating Larry Flynt’s threats, you don’t hear too many other people complaining about Flynt’s presence on the Washington, D.C. scene. People are buzzing about who will be the next to fall, but it’s with giddiness, not reproach. Congressmen scurry about, trying to ensure their political lives, and the media screams “sexual bounty hunting.” I’m not sure why this is any different from what the Republicans did to Clinton.
Maybe Flynt can make people angry at the ridiculousness of all this — because it is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that two-thirds of the voice of the American people doesn’t seem to matter in this issue and also that our concerns are being swept over in order to continue proceedings. The House seems to have forgotten its job.
Most likely, Flynt’s name will end up on a Trivial Pursuit card. And it is also likely not much will change, except that the Republican Party seems to be crumbling before our very eyes. If that happens, the future is completely up for grabs.

Sara Hurley’s column appears on Mondays. Send comments to [email protected]