Is of course Matt Taibbi's campaign coverage. Highlights from his most recent gonzo tirade, "Full Metal McCain" have been most Hunter S. comparison-worthy. I love how Taibbi grills McCain supporters and comes to conclusions horrifyingly insightful:
Like Hillary Clinton, an erstwhile vilified liberal who remade herself as a flag-waving, Sixties-bashing champion of "hardworking Americans, white Americans" once the remarkable candidacy of Barack Obama forced her off her old turf, the one-time "insurgent" McCain has finally decided to sail with the wind at his back by going dumb and courting the same talk-radio demographic that used to despise him. What enables him to do so is a key insight: that while George W. Bush may be unpopular as an individual, fear and hatred in this country have never gone out of style.Brilliantly put, as always.
...And when it comes to Obama's and his wife's America-hating, well . . . McCain really doesn't need to say anything about that. All he needs to do to remind audiences of Reverend Wright and Michelle "I'm proud of America for the first time" Obama is to offer a few bons mots in the opposite direction. "I seek the office with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me," McCain likes to say. And while he doesn't believe he was anointed by God to lead the great nation of America, he insists, "I am her servant, first, last and always."
That's it — that's the entire argument. McCain is a canny enough old goat to know that the public's insatiable appetite for traitorous enemies will do the rest. He'll wave as many flags and stand in front of as many fucking fighter jets as you like, while the other guy lectures us about why he doesn't always need to wear a flag pin in his lapel and calls a bomb-throwing Sixties terrorist "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" instead of calling for his immediate beheading.
Cindy Oestriecher, a McCain supporter who turned out for his speech in New Orleans, is stumped when I ask her for an example of Obama's lack of patriotism. "What was that thing about anti-American?" she asks a friend. "What were they referring to?"
"What thing?" asks the friend.
"People were talking about that thing, that anti-American thing," Cindy says, frowning.
"You mean about the flag, the thing on the Internet?" the friend replies.
"Yeah, I guess," says Cindy. "The anti-American thing." "That bothers you?" I ask.
"Of course it does!"
"But you don't even know what it is," I say. "You just know that someone else said he was anti-American. You don't even know who it was that said it!"
She shrugs. What's my point? We all know what the deal is. When it comes to presidential politics, you either are or you aren't. And Barack Obama aren't. If you can't grasp the simple math of that statement, you don't know much about elections in this country. It's not about the war, or the economy, or the faltering Republican brand, or any of that: This is about hate and fear, and a dark instinct in our blood going all the way back to Salem, and whether or not a desperately ambitious ex-heretic named John McCain can whip up a big enough mob in time to drown the latest witch.