Larry Kudlow, Cokehead
Yesterday, we introduced you to the farcical "Draft Larry Kudlow" campaign, a pretend movement to convince TV economist Larry Kudlow to run for Senate against Chuck Schumer. Today, for fun, we'll introduce you to Larry Kudlow the addict.
A 1995 New York Magazine story goes deep into Kudlow's history of substance abuse. He was addicted to cocaine for much of the 1980s and 90s, when he was a successful banker and economist and pundit.
Kudlow (or "Kuddles," as his friends nicknamed him in the '70s) clearly has an addictive personality, and he's incredibly susceptible to fads. While campaigning for Democrat Joseph Duffey (with a young Bill Clinton!) Kudlow (along with everyone else) smoked "reefer" constantly. In late 1980, the longtime registered Democrat and "monetarist" became a dedicated supply-sider "overnight." This landed him a job in the Reagan administration. (In 1995, as a rehabbing Kuddles contemplated becoming a Roman Catholic, a friend described the discredited economic theory as just another "religion" in Kudlow's life.)
We've no problem with a bit of recreational drug use—drugs are fun, after all!—but Kudlow spent "tens of thousands of dollars a month" on lengthy binges. He lied to the National Review about having beaten his drug habit. He missed meetings. He went to rehab four times in three years, finally ending up at celeb rehab clinic Hazelden in Minnesota.
Obviously if he's been clean since then, we're thrilled for him, but since the mid-'90s everyone's clammed up about his history. He didn't just experiment, he nearly killed himself with drugs. The New York story features the odd scene of Kudlow in the depths of his addiction advising a group of congressional Republicans on the Mexican bailout, with no one voicing any concerns about his reliability or credibility.
(And, quite frankly, being a proponent of supply-side economics who was wrong about the housing bubble and said in 2008 that there was no chance we'd enter a recession and who called Bush an economic genius should disqualify you for public office way before a coke habit should.)
The entire Draft Kuddles campaign is a hilarious band of embarrassing misfits. In addition to their candidate—the Lindsey Lohan of economics—and campaign head Michael Caputo, their finance director is "financier" John Lakian. We mentioned Lakian's history as a repeatedly failed candidate for public office. Steve Kornacki explains just why he kept failing: the guy repeatedly, pathologically embellished his resume.
Lakian's gubernatorial campaign ran aground when the Globe disclosed that he had falsely claimed to have attended graduate school at Harvard; had said in campaign literature that his father died of war-related injuries when in fact he was killed in an automobile accident; and that he had embellished his own military record, even though he had been cited for valorous action as an Army lieutenant in Vietnam.
That was in 1982. In 1994 he claimed to have taken part in domestic intelligence operations for the Army during Vietnam. He was then forced to retract that made-up claim. (Lakian ran on a flat-tax platform—just like Steve Forbes, whose presidential campaign briefly excited a manic Larry Kudlow a year later, shortly before he went back into treatment.)