Add Klan-superstar-turned-Louisiana- GOP-legislator DAVID DUKE to the long list of people who've beaten BRUCE BABBITT at the polls.Reporter JAMES RIDGEWAY of the VILLAGE VOICE mined that nugget recently, to which a former campaign worker for Bruce snootily replied that Babbitt had already dropped out of the presidential race when Duke (at the time a Democrat) duked Babbitt and PAUL SIMON on Super Tuesday '88. Oh, Babbitt dropped out and that's why he lost to Duke. . . . Speaking of rednecks, the latest guy to put together an offer to buy megathrift LINCOLN SAVINGS from soon-to-be-ex- tycoon CHARLIE KEATING is California ex-congressman JOHN ROUSSELOT, once the national PR director of the John Birch Society. He vows to return Lincoln to more "traditional" activities like home loans. Yeah. As a congressman and then president of a national league of thrifts, Rousselot campaigned hard for deregulation, which led to the industry's fatal attraction to junk bonds and junk real estate, which led to the government's planned multibillion-dollar bailout. Now Rousselot wants to buy one of those out- of-control thrifts. CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY once called Rousselot "the nice guy of the Republican right." But poor people may not think so. Back in '75, he made front-page news as one of only three congressmen to argue for a hike in the price of food stamps. Guess he just couldn't stand the idea of people trying to make a buck off the government. . . . You could almost smell the gunpowder last week when BARRON'S reporter JONATHAN LAING skulked into town to defend his Phoenix-is-bust story. He told the Hyatt audience that he felt a little like Ike Clanton at the O.K. Corral, and TERRY GODDARD warned that in the old days there would have been a "necktie party" waitin' fer him. But the atmosphere actually was more like a celebrity roast. So why did Laing whimper that, gulp, his story's "tone" was "a little too harsh"?
Maybe the varmint peeked at the little stacks of material sitting on every chair in the ballroom. Oh, there was the predictable stuff, including a copy of Laing's story and the latest ARIZONA TREND (which co-sponsored the roast). But also in the pile was a fancy brochure for something called SHOOTER'S WORLD, a new, giant indoor shooting range promising "fun for the entire family." How did that unnerving bit of info wind up in the pile? Seems that the PENSUS GROUP (another co-sponsor) is the developer and darned proud of it. "You'd be surprised at how many business people are members of Shooter's World," enthuses Pensus senior veep KELLY SHAW. Considering the number of bankruptcies, foreclosures and layoffs around these parts, we wouldn't be. . . . Seems there's lots of talk about guns these days. The March issue of ARIZONA WILDLIFE NEWS sneers at police chief RUBEN ORTEGA for wanting to know who's buying AK-47s and the like. The mag theorizes that "until the young blacks discovered semi-auto rifles and shotguns, there was no problem. . . . As many of you know, gun control has clearly racist origins." . . .