"I'm not familiar with precisely what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was."
- Mitt Romney, 17 May 2012
After approximately 374 years of trying, Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday with a win in the Texas GOP primary. It was a big day for him and his party, so his campaign diligently set out to attack President Obama over the Solyndra deal as a means of pushing back against Obama campaign attacks on Romney's Bain Capital record.
Under normal circumstances, the fact that Romney finally nailed down the nomination he's been seeking since the Paleozoic Era, and his subsequent assault on Obama's record, should have led the news cycle with a mighty "Hiyo, Silver!"
But no. The last lingering echoes of the most ludicrous GOP field ever to seek the presidency roared over the gunwales of Romney's campaign battleship like a wall of green water, washing away any immediate opportunity the newly-minted nominee might have had to sail out of the storm of nonsense that was the 2012 GOP primary season.
Romney garnered at least 88 delegates in the Texas primary, bringing his total past the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count. But the candidate's historic feat - he is the first Mormon to win a major party's nomination - and his economic message were overshadowed by Donald Trump, who was helping Romney raise money at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.
The provocative real estate magnate used the spotlight to promote his long-debunked contention that Obama was born in a foreign country. Romney aides admitted that this was an unhelpful distraction. At a moment when they wanted to put the president on the defensive, it was Romney who found himself in that position, leaving it to his aides to assert that he disagrees with Trump - while Obama's aides said his refusal to publicly condemn his surrogate showed poor moral leadership.
An "unhelpful distraction," eh? That's a kind euphemism indeed. The field that included walking disasters like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry (remember him?), Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and - of course, our first-ballot entrant into the Worst Candidate Ever Hall Of Fame - Donald Trump has not left us, despite the inability of this cavalcade of absurdity to overcome their own blazing deficiencies and seize the prize.
Oh, no, they're still here, as evidenced by the amazing display that was Mr. Trump going all birther on Romney on the exact same day Romney was to stand with Trump at a fundraiser. The laughter emanating from Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago was loud enough to make the Mississippi River flow in reverse for a few minutes, and could be heard in underground missile silos five hundred miles away.
Trump's yawning gob is but one of the many pterodactyl-sized albatrosses hanging around Mr. Romney's neck, lingering gifts left by his former nomination opponents...although more than a few of those big ol' birds were put there by Romney himself, back when he spent his days trying to out-crazy the crazies. Therein lies the truth of the modern GOP: Romney could have gone the John Huntsman route - sane, measured, dignified - and watched his campaign be decimated by Tea Party voters at every primary, but that's not how you win these days if you're a Republican. Romney did what he had to do, embraced Teh Crazy, and got what he came for...and his door prizes for a successful campaign are those giant, rotting birds swinging like pendulums from his collar.
The Trump birther eruption would have been enough to derail Romney's big day all by itself, but the day was far from over. Before the sun set, it was Romney's own campaign that coughed up an unforced error of such sublime stupidity that the entire social media universe found itself convulsed in hilarity:
A day that began with renewed questions about whether President Obama was born in America ended with questions about whether Mitt Romney can spell it. Romney held a fund-raiser Tuesday with businessman/birther Donald Trump, whose continued suggestion that the president was born in Kenya competed for attention with Romney's nomination-clinching victory in the Texas primary.
Then "Amercia" happened.
The Romney campaign released a new app called "With Mitt," which features several slogans -- "We're With Mitt," "American Greatness" -- with transparent backgrounds. Romney supporters can take pictures, with the slogans as overlays, and send them to friends as sorts of customized digital campaign posters.
One of the slogans reads, "A Better Amercia."
The typo lit up social media sites Tuesday night, with users posting images of the misspelled slogan on photos of Lloyd and Harry from the movie "Dumb and Dumber," the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and flags of other nations.
Insert Obama campaign commercial here: "What else would you expect from a guy who ships jobs overseas and keeps his fortune in Swiss bank accounts." Falling off a log is more difficult to manage than making that ad...but then again, spelling the name of the country you seek to lead should be even easier than falling off a log. Right?
Since the advent of that Washington Post report about Romney's bullying tendencies in high school - you know, the report Romney's campaign responded to with "Who the what the where the when the candidate doesn't recall," even though they knew full well it was coming - there has been a definite sense that the Republican nominee's national media strategy/rapid reaction strategy remains nebulous at best. Nobody thought to throw a bag over The Donald before that fundraiser, and not one person in the campaign is apparently capable of running a spell-check before releasing a car-wreck of an error to the entire country.
Maybe it was a sop to the Tea Party; they are, after all, not known for their prowess at letters, and may find the error endearing.
You know, or not.