So we watch DeConcini trudge through his desultory, trancelike television and radio appearances in places like Flagstaff and Sun City, wondering how he can stand it. How many times can he tell Pat McMahon that he feels he has done the honest thing?

There was once a time when DeConcini could hold his head up. He wasn't a genius, but, at least at the start, he didn't appear to be dishonest.

But greed took over. DeConcini used the information he gained in the Senate to work land deals that turned million-dollar-plus profits for his own pocket.

When people complained that he was making millions on inside information, he said with a grin: "But real estate is my family business." He never understood how dishonest that was.

Then he was bought by Keating. The two biggest purchases Keating made during his grab for power were the Phoenician resort and Dennis DeConcini.

So now, unfortunately, it seems DeConcini's entire stewardship in the U.S. Senate has been nothing more than a series of dirty little incidents.

In recent years, there have been only shame and embarrassment attached to his nonperformance as a United States Senator.

It is not easy to write these things about a man who clearly has some decent instincts. Dennis DeConcini is a good family man. He has never been known to be cruel to animals or children. It is only that the sum of his record is a study in mediocrity.

Dennis DeConcini is a politician making his final, obligatory run for an office he never deserved in the first place.

And now he does not even possess the strength and dignity to quit and walk off the stage without being given the hook.

@rule:
@body:I remember the day DeConcini came to my house, telling me it was important that we talk. It was just after he had won election for his third term.

I told him it wasn't a good idea, but he insisted. A week later, he arrived at my front door with Susan at his side.

We sat down in the living room. DeConcini had assured me the meeting would be private. Ten minutes after it started, a DeConcini aide arrived. Obviously, the aide would sit in to serve as his witness.

DeConcini began going through a pile of papers, attempting to set me straight.
He wasn't in Keating's pocket, he insisted. In fact, Keating had never really given him money, but only raised it for him. We all now know how ridiculous that alibi was.

What grated on him most were references to the friendship of his father, a Tucson judge, with Joe Bonanno, the Tucson don who was the model for the Marlon Brando role in The Godfather.

"All we were told about Joe Bonanno," Dennis said plaintively, "was that he was a cheese maker from Wisconsin."
If the conversation had to run on this level, then it was obvious we could never have agreed. Maybe he was too sincere and I was too cynical.

Just when I thought the meeting was over, DeConcini turned to his wife and said: "And now my wife, Susan, would like to speak."

Susan DeConcini spoke with a fire that Dennis lacked. That wasn't surprising. She always assumed a more authoritative posture than he did.

"There's a difference between television and newspapers," she said. "It can be on television and then it's gone. But once it appears in newspapers, Dennis' enemies can keep reprinting it."
She hesitated:
"I do not accept errors," she said with great emphasis.

Then she spoke of the great damage wrought by repeated references to the DeConcini family's closeness to Bonanno and the Mafia.

As we walked toward the front door, Susan indicated a large, carved, wooden fish sitting on top of a coffee table that sat between us all during our talk.

"Did you put that fish there for a purpose?" she asked. She was not smiling.
I was puzzled. I didn't know what she meant. The wooden fish was a decoration sent by my sister-in-law as a Christmas present. I had never given it a thought.

Shortly after the DeConcinis' visit, I saw The Godfather again. There is a scene in which a large fish, wrapped in paper, is delivered to the family of Don Corleone.

A war is raging between the Mafia families. Luca Brazi, the muscle man for Don Corleone, has been garroted in a barroom by the other side.

"What does the dead fish mean?" someone asks in the film.
"It means that Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes."
There is no need to wrap a dead fish these days to signal that Dennis DeConcini is dead. That funeral took place a long time ago.

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