The New Hampshire primary is supposed to be a civil, grassroots affair in which Granite Staters politely listen to a class of sophisticated presidential candidates discuss the important issues — trade, housing, etc. — and then pass on their choice of the most serious of the serious candidates for the nation to certify. There is no time for silliness; this is an affair of statesmanship. Also, there's this crazy guy who wears a boot on his head and shouts nonsense who shows up in Manchester every cycle.

Vermin Supreme is a street performer and occasional activist who manages to qualify for a major party's primary ballot in New Hampshire every four years. This year he's on the Democratic ballot, alongside anti-abortion nut Randall Terry, 10 other nobodies, and President Barack Obama. Polls suggest we'll see a photo finish.

His main campaign technique is to stand outside other candidates' rallies and rant on a bullhorn for hours about a national law requiring everyone to brush their teeth. But today he merely joined a media mob that was doing its journalistic duty of chasing Ron Paul out of a diner. From The Hill:

"Guys, you've got to take it easy," shouted one Paul staffer, imploring the media to give the congressman some space.

No such luck.

"Ron Paul: We have you surrounded. We are the media," sounded the voice from a megaphone as Paul staffers ushered him into a waiting SUV, just minutes after he arrived at the restaurant.

Holding the megaphone was a man dressed roughly as a wizard, with shaggy hair and tousled beard, wearing a massive black boot upside down on his head.

Emphasis ours. That's Vermin! Paul then sped off in his SUV, to the great annoyance of a lady who wanted Paul to meet her 90-year-old mother.

New Hampshire needs to end.

[Image via AP