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Come on down 

Bro. Huckabee will be missing a good opportunity to harvest a lot more favorable campaign publicity if he doesn't invite all his newfound Beltway pundit buds down to deer hunt with him this month.

I suspect most of them would jump at the opportunity, the period of cautionary hesitation over accompanying politician hunters having ended as the old Texas veep-scattershot bird-hunter's scabs gave way to scars. They'd flock in like our annual blackbird hordes, all oranged and ear-flapped and blunderbussed like Elmer Fudd in the famous Bugs Bunny hunting-season cartoon, eager to literally shoot down some spritely ungulates in place of figuratively sniping further at moribund presidential candidacies. Embedding into a heartland deer hunt would, to their thinking, give them and their stale, insular ideas precious grassroots authenticity

So if Bro. staged it, they would surely come.

He could count on George Will — who may actually be Elmer Fudd, now that I think about it — and David Brooks, Chris Cillizza, Charlie Rose, his old nappy-headed pal Imus, his Associated Press rooting section, and other recent media converts and apple-polishers. A whole passel of them.

He mustn't forget to ask Hannity to bring Colmes — yes, target practice is optional, only a courtesy, but recommended, and you have to have somebody strap the antlers on and prance out bleating onto the practice range. He must remember to remind Bill-o not to pack such pet theories of his as that kidnapped children enjoy the experience.

He'll need to invite Krauthammer of the Post — Ol' Good-Lookin' — who has lately gone to promoting Bro. not for next prez but for next Interior Secretary, strangely enough, this being the same Bro. whose third documented political hate-target (after “pornographers” like Dale Bumpers, and retarded pregnant pre-teen rape victims) was “wacko environmentalists.” Katie Couric will want to come along if she can be convinced that her softball-lobbing talents might be drawn upon, as in Iraq, and that likely will oblige the other anchors to wangle invites, though imagination balks at the prospect of either Brian Williams or Shepard Smith actually shooting a deer and then leaping in O.J.-like with a hunting knife to finish the sucker off.

Drudge, of course. And Larry King, if there's someone to remind him frequently where he is, and who he is. And while Dick Morris might be thought to have earned a spot on this shooting-stand, how's it going to look if he's found Bro. — lauding. on one hand and on the other hoof — sucking a whitetail in the cutover and, as ever, demanding reciprocation? And in a similar vein, I'm not sure about Rushbo inasmuch as they say of these deer hunters buzzed up on OxyContin that you never know when where or whom or in what direction they might take a notion to shoot. They might target the palsied, or brain-damaged kids.

Anyway, whoever came and however many, we'd have plenty of deer to accommodate them. Deer were once scarce here in the Wonder State — their population estimated at one time as less than 300 statewide — and seeing one in the wild could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But today they're commoner than cattle or Mexican illegals and you can hardly SUV up to the washateria without totaling your vehickle on one. They're all over town as well as countryside, and no longer shy but downright brazen. They'll mosey right into your brush arbor or pie supper.

That being the case, what I'd suggest to the Bro. is a deer-shoot on the old European model in which wigged and knickered archdukes and viceroys and such would shoot stags and roebucks one after another as stout peasants drove or lead or dragged the poor things across a faux-bucolic shooting lane. They would do this all day long, with a kind of dour formality. Sometimes, just to vary the program, they would shoot the peasants instead of the deer. But then they would go ahead and shoot the deer too, because it seemed to be expected of them. This could cause annoying jams or back-ups, as another peasant had to be recruited to drag off the carcasses of both the deer and his kinsman before the ritual slaughter could proceed. The carcasses were kept in a big pile nearby, out of view, and the pile was removed daily — or nightly, which required a whole new moonlighter peasant shift with minors in butchery and undertaking. Perhaps also taxidermy.

It should be no trouble rounding up the deer for a contemporary re-enactment of this proud old sporting spectacle, and the Bro.'s campaign payroll is so heavy with nepots that it should be possible to assign each deer a personal — or deeral — escort to poke or prod or lead or drag it into the kill zone, with extras aplenty to man the gurneys camoed nearby.

Should the assembled pundits get tired of killing deer and escorts, there might be such scheduled diversions as getting the Bro.'s new pal Chuck Norris to sprint down and numchuck a deer to death, or ninja it into something like Picasso's “Guernica” as it charges by. Or Dog Boy could barb-wire them up a buck-kabob and they could enjoy its thrashings while the Bro. offered waggish commentary of the quotable sort that they've come to expect from him and to rave about in their dispatches.

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