Raoul Duke missing out on fear, loathing


Man, do we wish Hunter were around to see this.

We’re talking about Hunter S. Thompson, of course, our patron saint, or at least what passes for a patron saint in the godless environs of the newsroom.

And you can say what you want about old Hunter S. – he was definitely an addict, probably dangerous and certainly insane – but as a political observer he was as astute as they come.

“The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with,” he wrote, “but some people call it fun, and I am one of them.”

As are we.

But things are getting ugly on the campaign trail – uglier, even, than they were during Thomson’s most vicious years as a correspondent, the Nixon era.

Consider this: Last week in New Hampshire, Sen. Hillary Clinton was confronted by a corpulent man in the crowd, demanding that she “iron my shirt.”


Also in the “Live Free or Die” state, puffy Fox News commentator Sean Hannity was chased out of a restaurant by Ron Paul supporters who, angered by their candidate’s exclusion from that network’s Republican debate, chanted “Fox News sucks!”

Soldier for Christmas Bill O’Reilly allegedly shoved an aide to Sen. Barack Obama during a campaign event.

Obama, even as he taped some inspiring words for the people of Kenya, his father’s homeland, after a hotly contested election, acknowledges the peril in his situation as the first African American who ever had a real shot at the big chair. He’s beefed up his Secret Service detail after his Iowa victory. “Big guys,” he said. “Who are packing.”

Again, nice.

Even lantern-jawed scab Jay Leno is getting his aggro on, telling Ron Paul on the “Tonight” show, “You should be kicking someone’s ass right now.”

Clearly the lunatics are running the asylum.

And Hunter S. Thompson, jaded as he had become towards the end of his life of the whole American political scene, would have been squarely in his element.

“When the going gets weird,” he famously wrote, “the weird turn pro.”

Talk about weird… after Dennis Kucinich made overtures to Paul in November as a running mate, he then threw his allegiance to Obama in Iowa and says he’s saving his big moves for Michigan. Michigan!

The Michigan primary, it should be noted, was bumped up to Jan. 15, against national Democratic Party rules, inspiring a supporter of John Edwards to file a lawsuit asking to nullify the result of the vote.

And Hillary Clinton, who has gotten where she is by sheer toughness and ambition, had her feelings hurt by Obama’s likeability numbers and even managed to muster up a couple of tears for a 64-year-old woman in New Hampshire. And it worked.

Also: Oprah has gotten involved.

God, Hunter would have loved this.

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