"...because a man on the scent of the White House is rarely rational. He is more like a beast in heat: a bull elk in the rut, crashing blindly through the timber in a fever for something to fuck. Anything! A cow, a calf, a mare--any flesh and blood beast with a hole in it.The bull elk is a very crafty animal for about fifty weeks of the year; his senses are so sharp that only an artful stalker can get within a thousand yards of him...butwhen the rut comes on, in the autumn, any geek with the sense to blow an elk-whistle can lure a bull elk right up to his car in ten minutes if he can drive within hearing range.
The dumb bastards lose all control of themselves when the rut comes on. Their eyes glaze over, their ears pack up with hot wax, and their loins get heavy with blood. Anything that sounds like a cow elk in heat will fuse the central nervous systems of every bull on the mountain. They will race through the timbers like huge cannonballs, trampling small trees and scraping off bloody chunks of their own hair on the unyielding bark of the big ones. They behave like sharks in a feeding frenzy, attacking each other with all the demented violence of human drug dealers gone mad on their own wares.
A career politician finally smelling the White House is not Much different from a bull elk in the rut. He will stop at nothing, trashing anything that gets in his way; and anything he can't handle personally, he will hire out--or, failing that, make a deal. It is a difficult syndrome for most people to understand, because so few of us ever come close to the kind of Ultimate Power and Achievement that the White House represents to a career politician.
The presidency is as far as he can go. There is no more. The currency of politics is power, and once you've been the Most Powerful Man in the World for four years, everything else is downhill--except four more years on the same trip." ~ From Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail '72.
With the exception of George Washington--and perhaps George W. Bush--I believe this has been absolutely true. All of our presidents and would-be presidents (except for the two aforementioned Georges, who could not wait to pass the poison cup of power on to the next guy*), seemed perfectly willing to say, 'more please!' after each serving.
I've been reading Hunter S. Thompson's 'Fear & Loathing: On The Campaign Trail '72' for fun this presidential campaign season, and it has been informative. I wish I could somehow unsuicide Hunter for this election season, and restore him back to his pre-burnt out late 60's and early 70's self and insert him into this current political season, just to read his dispatches. In fact, if we could somehow master time travel, I'd like to put our revived Doctor into the Tardis and have him cover every presidential election from the beginning of America all the way to the end of it. Or maybe that's what hell would be like for Hunter. It's hard to say.
Maybe allowing all of the bull elk in our society to bash each other's skulls in metaphorically--rather than literally--is the only fix to the animal drive for supremacy that seems to animate so many of us--especially so many of Us, here in the U.S.--that allows us to avoid widespread bloodshed and chaos in the streets, but it's definitely a flawed one.
Whatever the case, it's funny to think of Ron Paul as a bull elk.
"Same as it ever was":
*For Washington, enough was enough. For Bush, you have to believe he knew he was in over his head.