As I look ahead towards the political hell scape we face for the next six months of primary season I can’t help but think of the late Hunter S. Thompson.
I mourn that in this election cycle we are bereft of Hunter’s intellect, acerbic wit, jaundiced eye and irreverent deconstruction of our two party nominating rituals. He would be eviscerating the Republican field. His utter disdain and well-known derision of the Bush clan would give brutal, piercing insight into Jeb! and his moribund campaign.
He’d have reveled in the sometimes vicious rhetoric being tossed blithely about between the two major Democratic camps.
I can almost hear his substance fueled glee at W’s advice to Jeb!, and his stumbling, incoherent responses to press questions on whether he stood by his brother’s Iraq war, or if knowing what we knew now, whether Jeb! would invade. Jeb! invariably refuses to disagree with W’s policies in any way, shape or form.
In an article in The New York Daily News quoting the book “The Wilderness” George called Jeb! and told him “Stop this shit, say whatever you have to say.” Jeb! was always called the smart one and it took his brutal older brother, trained by that rattlesnake Karl Rove, to set him straight on what Presidential campaigns are all about. Shortly thereafter he answered ” that” question haltingly as knowing what we know now, no. Not exactly a rousing condemnation. He also dragged Hillary Clinton into his answers.
The very fact Jeb! is running shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Bush hangover.
Hunter would have had entertaining, obscenity-laden rants concerning the other members of the GOP wannabe Presidential hopefuls. I am sure it would be laced with colorful metaphors and similes such as when he called Hubert Humphry “a rat in heat”.
Thompson would have taken deadly aim at Ted Cruz as a sniveling opportunist, flaying him as a hack who says anything that’s politically expedient to inflame his reactionary base. Actually Ted has tossed so much red meat to the Tea Party I’m surprised he hasn’t decimated the Texas cattle industry. I can envision Thompson throttling Cruz over being the son of a former Castro supporter and Ted’s birth in Canada.
Hunter would have possibly eviscerated Rubio as a naïve child throwing a tantrum to be taken seriously. I’m sure he’d be going after the child of another set of Cuban immigrants such incomprehensible stands on immigration.
Trump. A field day of Hunter’s patented excoriation, a la his work on Nixon and the Bushes. It would have been too easy perhaps as The Donald is self-satirizing. But, it would have been a joy to behold.
The rest of the field would be hammered hard on their delusions of even thinking they were presidential timber. He likely have been hard on our Governor Kasich being touted and seen as the moderate, sane candidate.
Thompson was an equal opportunity observer. The Democrats would have come in for their share of his unique observations.
Thompson ran hot and cold on the Clintons over the years. The Congressional investigations would have been targeted for what they were: Blind, hateful, purely political attempts to demonize and kneecap Hillary. Thompson’s prose though would have been magic as he ripped Gowdy to shreds of rancid meat. The other seven hundred thousand inquiries would have likely fared the same.
As for Webb and O’Malley he would have dismissed them as irrelevant.
The Sanders insurrection may have reminded Hunter of the McGovern campaign as George pushed Humphrey aside on multiple ballots in Miami. I doubt he would have been very sympathetic to Bernie’s proposals. Hunter was, if nothing else, a card carrying, world weary cynic. It would have been beyond interesting to see his take on Hillary verses Bernie. Being a bit of a bomb-throwing anarchist, he surely would have had a blast covering them.
I need to reread “Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail” his opus on how Presidential primary politics works. The 1972 election between Mc Govern and Nixon helped shape what we see today. The present GOP is the direct descendant of Nixon’s Southern Strategy. I always read Hunter hoping to learn something. Maybe find his secret of blistering analysis.
I always wanted to be Hunter. As I look at today’s campaigns I’m reminded how me and every so called pundit fall so short of the bar he set. All I can do is turn my cynical, astounded eyes towards Hunter Thompson, and enjoy the fodder we are offered. If anything, this cycle won’t be boring now that actual votes are being cast. We can take the inspiration and run with it chasing the candidates into bat country.