Sheathing The Sword:
The Democratic Old Guard Copes with Carter
4 July 22, 1976 EAST SIDE EXPRESS
By John C. Klotz
The Democrats can win in 1976, but to do it they will have to pay
a fearful price. I learned about the price and just how fearful
it will be Thursday night, the last day of the Democratic
I had over-extended my kidneys at a NOW cocktail party and had
entered the Penn Bar of the Statler Hilton searching desperately
for a men's room when I observed in a corner booth Cywell
Gilford, a legendary figure of the Democratic Eastern
establishment. He was alone, quite distraught, as tears streamed
down his well-tanned cheeks. His low moans were creating a minor
disturbance. Sensing his great distress, I went over to his table
and sat down, hoping that I could be of some help.
"Gil" I said, "What's- wrong?" (Although Time invariably refers
to him as 'Cy,' his few thousand or so intimate friends call him
'Gil." (We had never met but I wanted to put him at ease.)
"What's wrong . . . what's wrong?" he moaned, "it's over . . .
it's over. that's all. Twenty-nine years of public service, gone,
down the drain," and he broke into a wailing sob.
His anguished wail attracted angry glances from several tables. I
tried desperately to calm him.
"Your career over?" I scoffed. "Impossible! I can still remember
when it all started. In 1949 at age 22 when Truman appointed you
Point IV Administrator in East Outaboundia."
"Yes, that's right" he nodded. His groans stopped and a faint
smile came to his lips. "After only four months on the job I made
the cover of Time.
"I remember the article," I interjected. "You were given credit
for restoring cordial relations with America's longtime foe in
the eastern Carpathians."
He sighed. "Yes, but that became the problem. I'm afraid my
relations with the President's wife were too cordial. But one
year in East Outaboundia is enough for any man. And then there
was that opportunity in the wholesale appliance business with
"I heard about that. And all the time you making your fortune in
deep freezes you studied law nights . . . at Yale. It's an
inspiring legend that I grew up on."
"And don't forget that I was also writing jokes for Adlai." He
was laughing now. The pleasant memories of his rise in the
Democratic establishment were flooding back."
"And there were other things," he said. "Marilyn and I were great
friends until Joe came along." A look of disdain swept across his
face. "I never did like baseball."
"Tell me." I asked. "Were the Kennedy years as exciting as they
"Even more so," he replied "But although we buddied around a lot,
Jack and I were never close friends. Frankly, he was jealous."
"Well you know how women are. He was constantly trying to beat my
time, but my former girl friends said things to him . . . that
made him feel inadequate . . . if you know what I mean." There
was a touch of arrogance in his voice.
"Is that why he sent you to the bay of Pigs?"
"I've always suspected that," he replied.
"That was quite a show," I remarked. "the Reader's Digest printed
a great story on that. Swimming ashore with the first wave. Then
narrowly avoiding capture and living off the countryside for
three months until you make your escape. "Well yes, that was a
good story, but actually I hid out in a former Batista brothel
that Castro had converted into a reeducation center for
streetwalkers. The girls called me their 'secret weapon.' I had
the time of my life."
He was laughing now. Our conversation had eased his troubles from
his mind. I felt good about that.
"And After I escaped to Miami," he continued. "I was able to give
Jack the first definitive information on Castro's missiles.
Kennedy really hated me after that. I did like Johnson though.
Sometimes we would sneak up to Boston together and pick up a
couple of Radcliffe girls. It was great fun, although I must
admit that communal sex had never really been my thing."
"How did you find the time?" I asked. "As Lyndon's roving
ambassador you seemed to be always out of the country. There was
your headlined trip to Lebanon were you devised the final
solution to the religious problem. And there peace keeping
missions to Viet Nam, India, Rhodesia and Angola. When did you
"Not very often," he boasted. "Somethings, You always find time
for. There was Jackie, Shirley and Lizzie."
"Lizzie?" I asked and then blushed. If you have to ask a last
name, you don't deserve to know. "How did you manage that?" I
continued seeking to hide my embarrassment and ignorance.
"Well Philly is Greek and that can be very trying at times."
"You mean that Lizzie?" I gasped. He didn't reply for his mood
was turning somber again.
"I should never l have worked for Nixon. Deputy Director of the
CIA for Internal Affairs was a nothing job."
"No, no," I said. "It was a chance to serve your country. And it
only lasted six months. You resigned in dispute over principle as
"That's what's the papers said. Actually, I got caught
propositioning Julie. And now it's been seven long years in the
cold . . . " Tears were welling up in his eyes. "I wanted so
badly to get back into public service. I was hoping to be
Ambassador to the Court of St. James. At least I could see Lizzie
"Well why not," I said. "You've earned it and the Democrats are
bound to win with Carter."
"That's the problem," he said, "Carter. We view, er, ah ...
certain things differently. I mean Carter would probably frown on
an ambassador who ... you know what I mean." He started to sob
"I see what you mean," I said.
"That's why after the Ohio primary, I decided to go straight. No
more girls. No more drinking bouts with Norman, Pete and Andy
"Andy's great. He always picks up the check. I even started
sleeping with my wife - unless Frederico was in town of course."
"Her boy friend."
"Of course. I should have guessed. But if you're going straight
what's the problem?
"I blew it, two months of living like a monk and I blew it. This
afternoon I went to a cocktail party and started to drink again.
It was hot, there were no air conditioners and I just kept
gulping down these Gin and Tonics. The old urge came back. And
then I saw . . . her. She was quite attractive, not too young, in
her forties, I guess. She was just standing there, alone. I
walked up to her and I . . . I. . . I patted her on the
backside . . . "
He could barely speak through the sobs choking him. "She turned
to me and said 'I beg your pardon.' . . . I said, 'You don't have
to beg, I'm easy.'"
He noticed a pained expression flicker across my face. "Look. I
know it may sound corny. but what the hell, that line always
worked on Lizzie and Jackie!"
"It isn't that," I replied. "It's just that I came in here
looking for the men's room."
An astonished look swept across his face. "That's funny, you
don't look . . . "
"No no. no," I shouted, "it's not that. It's just that I've been
to this cocktail party and I have a a weak . . . Why don't you
just finish your story," I sighed.
"Well the line didn't work this time. There was fire in her eye.
She said to me, in a voice dripping with fury, 'My name is
Rosalyn Carter, what may I ask is yours?' I didn't know what to
do. I felt the floor sway under my feet. So I blurted 'Clark
Clifford' and bolted from the room. But it's too late. too late.
I'm finished A-A-A-H-H-A-A-E-E-H-H-H."
It was like the cry of the banshee. I tried desperately to
comfort his tormented soul, but he was sobbing uncontrollably.
"There, there," I said, "get a hold of yourself. Nothing is
wrong. you gave her a phony name. You're safe. Just don't attach
a picture to your resume. Besides, you're getting saltwater
stains on your Pierre Cardin suite."
"You don't understand, you don't understand," he repeated while
banging his fist on the table. "I thought that too, but I asked
Ave to check up for me just to be safe. He's very understanding,
knows everybody and is very discreet. Well Ave poked around
and ... and ..." His anxiety was growing by the second.
"And," I asked.
"And he found out that the Secret Service was dusting her fanny
for fingerprints." He broke again into a horrible wail that drew
every eye in the bar to us.
He was gone completely now. There was no recalling him from his
hysteria. He lay his head on the table and continued to weep
uncontrollably, destroying not only his $300 suit but $50 white
on white silk shirt. I got up and left. Some things are just too
sad, and, besides, I still hadn't found the men's room.
Chastity. That's the price the Democrats will have to pay in
1976. The questions are whether they are willing to pay it, and
if they pay it, whether the White House is worth it?