Wednesday, March 09, 2011

All That's Left Is Our Friendship

Senator Ensign, meet Congressman Hagen

With the scandalized John Ensign announcing his retirement under some duress, the always geeky Smart Politics notes that "only one Senator from Nevada that left office quietly and on his own terms over the last 100+ years: Democrat Richard Bryan, who retired after two terms in 2000."

But in the Nevada rogue's gallery, they forgot Pat Geary.

Actually they didn't; all accounts are that the crooked, profane senator from The Godfather Part II is loosely based on the real life Pat McCarran. And as ugly as Ensign's sex scandal is, Geary's is way, way worse.
Geary: I didn't do anything.

Tom Hagen: It's okay. You're very lucky -- my brother FREDO operates this place, he was called before anyone. If this had happened someplace else, we couldn't've helped you..

Geary: I -- when I woke up, I was on the floor -- and I don't know how it happened.

Hagen: You can't remember?

Geary: I passed out. [He stands up and moves over the bed where we see a bloody dead girl.]
Thus violating even Edwin Edwards' code of ethics: "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."
Geary: I -- I'll fix it. [He unties the girl's hand from the bed post.]

Just a game. [He takes a towel and begins to wipe up the blood that is all over her. He looks at the towel and wipes off his hands.]

Jesus, Jesus. [He begins to cry. As he does, Hagen: looks over at AL NERI who is wiping his hands in the bathroom.]

Jesus, God -- Oh, God. I don't know -- and I can't understand -- why I can't remember.

Hagen: You don't have to remember -- just do as I say. We're putting a call into your office -- explain that you'll be there tomorrow afternoon -- you decided to spend the night at Michael Corleone's house in Tahoe -- as his guest.

Geary: I do remember that she was laughing...we'd done it before -- and I know that I couldn't've hurt -- that girl.

Hagen: This girl has no family -- nobody knows that she worked here. It'll be as if she never existed. All that's left is our friendship.
No one does hardball like the Corleone Family.

Smart Politics also fails to mention Tom Hagen, consigliere extraordinaire (except in wartime). The Don's wish of "Senator Corleone, Govrnor Corleone" never came true. But In the 2004 sequel The Godfather Returns, written after Mario Puzo's death but with the approval of the Puzo estate, Hagen is appointed to "Congress" in 1960 after the incumbent's death, then proceeds to lose to the dead man in a landslide. He then gets called "Congressman Hagen" from time to time.

It's a dumb mistake on the part of sequel author Mark Winegarden. No one is EVER appointed to the House; only the Senate gets appointees. (And only I would argue about that relatively minor point.) Why didn't he tie it together by simply making the nameless dead incumbent Pat Geary?

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