Thursday, July 29, 2004

Dems have a friend(?) in Flynt and his new book

By Maggie Downs
Enquirer staff writer

DOWNTOWN - Larry Flynt made his way through four cheese coneys and a 5-Way doused in hot sauce Wednesday for lunch at Skyline Chili on Seventh and Vine.

"There's no in-between. It's either the Maisonette or Skyline," his brother, Jimmy Flynt, explained. "There's no moderation in this guy's life."

That's the obvious truth of Larry Flynt, who sat in a gold-plated wheelchair and sparkled with every movement, courtesy of his plentiful diamond jewelry.

Flynt, 61, is the head of Larry Flynt Publications, which produces more than 30 magazines, including Hustler, which inspired several legal battles involving pornography and the First Amendment.

But Flynt came to town Wednesday to talk about more than porn.

In his new book, Sex, Lies & Politics: The Naked Truth (Kensington, $24), Flynt discusses government, privacy, the failings of the Bush administration and the erosion of personal freedom. The hardcover publication just entered the New York Times best-seller list at No. 33.

"I wrote the book because it was hard for me to wrap my arms around everything from the impeachment of (former President Bill) Clinton to what George W. Bush is doing now," Flynt said. "I wanted the lay person to understand what's going on."

The book's criticisms of the war on terror, the 2000 election and Halliburton could easily be compared to Michael Moore's blockbuster documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. However, Flynt said, his book delves much deeper.

Flynt stays up on current events by reading the New York Times daily and watching a lot of C-SPAN. He knows exactly what he would do if he ended up in the White House.

"I'd rescind all of Bush's executive orders, and I'd fire (Chairman Michael) Powell at the FCC," he said with a grin.

Flynt will travel the country on his book tour until September, which is why he isn't at the Democratic National Convention.

Flynt's relationship with politics dates to the mid-1970s, when he faced the first of many obscenity charges.

In 1983, he ran for president against Ronald Reagan.

During the 1998 impeachment proceedings against Clinton, Flynt offered $1 million for evidence of sexual affairs of top conservative lawmakers. His investigation led to the resignation of House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston (R-La.).

During the 2003 California recall, Flynt ran for governor, selling himself as the "smut peddler who cares." He placed seventh out of 135 candidates.

In the book, Flynt stresses that he is not a pornographer trying to rise to the level of politics.

"It is the attack-dog politics of the radical conservatives that has descended to the level of porn," he writes.


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