News reporters in the greenhouse of Mitt Romney's LaJolla, California beach front home were left staggered by the press release handed out by an aide to the campaign as Mitt watered azaleas. In a flash, all the flip flops and weirdness were explained -- the issues positions that did not merely evolve but instead became absolute opposites of what they had been just hours before, the dancing with elegantly attired horses and dog on top of car stuff, the betting with money he did not have and fantasies about being a CEO and firing people.
The press release said it all:
My real name is Mitteras Romneixney. I am but a simple gardener with not even a grade school education. I immigrated illegally from Chihuahua, Mexico in a kennel strapped to the roof of my keeper's Studebaker in 1955 when I was eight. The border agent assumed I was a dog inside the kennel and cited my keeper for animal abuse. I had been adopted by my keeper, a rich drug dealer and green gun runner who taught me gardening and to care for his marijuana grow. It is a total mystery to me how I came to be running for President on the Republican Party ticket. I never left my dad's compound to go to school or play with friends since I preferred to garden and watch TV to learn things. My keeper went to sell marijuana and never came back. I went outside the grounds for the first time, was amazed by the tall buildings, and while looking up at them was struck by a Studebaker-like object, only different. I told the driver my name, but she thought I said 'Mitt Romney,' whom she knew to have been a former Michigan governor from a well-to-do family. She also saw the beautiful compound and grounds from where I entered the street. She asked where my parents were, and I told her my dad went to the store three months before but never came back. Apparently feeling sorry, she took me in.
I am told that many people have misunderstood things I have said about tree, flower, lawn and root care to believe I am capable of running the country. The idea for the Massachusetts Romneycare health plan was born when while sitting in this very nice office with all the mahogany and oak furniture, I was looking out the window at this old oak tree that needed pruning. I was stuffed up with a cold. I said 'Tree needs health care' that someone heard as 'We need health care' because I coughed as I said 'twee,' and the 't' became silent. What I know about lawn fertilizer and blooming perennials care is as plentiful as there is chlorophyll on earth. What I know about interest rates, infrastructure and foreign policy could fit on the tip of a single blade of Fine Fescue grass with room to spare. The only thing I am capable of managing in the White House is the Rose Garden."
Today's shocking disclosure came one week after Senator Harry Reid told newsmen in Washington that he heard "from a credible source at Bain" that Romney never attained a higher position than "lead gardener" on the grounds of the company's head office in the John Hancock Tower in Boston.
Reid's comment sparked outrage from Republican Party spokesmen. On Sunday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called Reid a "low down dirty damned liar, and I'd say it to his face" after telling George Stephanopoulos that he had "no comment" in response to Reid's claim.
This was followed Monday by a leak from an unknown IRS source that Romney's taxable annual income "never exceeded $15,000."
Faced with an onslaught of reporter queations and a barrage of conservative commentators' demands that Romney "come clean," it was not until George Will and Kathleen Parker asked the right questions that events began moving quickly. Will and Parker asked Romney questions designed to test his knowledge of perennial flowers like lilies, daisies and roses versus annuals like pansies and petunias, suitable fertilizer ph ratings, lime schedules for acidic soil, etc. Unlike his evasive, vacillating and flip flopping replies to non gardening queries, Mitt's replies to these questions were so knowledgeable, responsive and complete that the Romney camp knew the jig was up. All tax returns dating to 1996 were released yesterday and followed by today's shocking if not surprising revelations.
One observer noted that the whole affair bore an uncanny resemblance to the classic Peter Sellers starring 1979 movie -- "Being There" -- in which a simple gardener was heard to say such profound things that he was elected President of the U.S. In fact, the things he said were utter nonsense that only street wise people understood as such.
When asked who the Republican standard bearer would be in light of the Party convention being not even two weeks away, a visibly distressed Reince Priebus said it would now be an "open convention in which we hope to nominate someone other than a gardener or a Mormon, someone who articulates far out off-his-rocker positions that include at least one, preferably two or more conspiracy theories. Except for the other Mormon, Huntsman, any of this past year's candidates would certainly fit the bill.