Mitt Romney, time traveler?


Mitt remembers. He was there. (Tyler Barrick/GETTY IMAGES FOR NASCAR)

Well, actually, the event took place nine months before Romney was born.

There are many explanations for this. Perhaps he simply heard it so many times he got confused. My parents read the Lord of the Rings books to me at a formative age, and I still remember tossing the Ring into Mount Doom like it was yesterday. I frequently bring it up at dinner parties.

The campaign notes that Romney wasn’t pretending he was there, in spite of saying he might have been four. He was just telling his dad’s story. But why hedge? What better way to show that Romney shares the belief of many social conservatives that life begins at conception than to remember an event from when he was conceived? Never mind all those Jungian theories about the gradual dawning of consciousness. Jung was a crackpot who thought everything might be some sort of archetype.

But perhaps the most logical of all explanations is that Romney is a time traveler.

A Time Lord, perchance? That would explain his awkward hemming about cars. Better to say your wife has several Cadillacs than to admit the family travels in a single TARDIS. Still, to call him a space alien from a bygone era seems unduly harsh. And we’re already running out of Doctors without adding another one to the list — no matter what they say in more recent seasons about the total acceptable number.

Time travel would explain a great deal. His vocabulary! His jokes! One’s sense, watching him, that Vernacular Modern English is not his first language. That would even explain the Brylcreme. If he really were a time traveler from the 1950s, that would resolve everyone’s concerns. Forget the sweater vests. Santorum can’t top that. Who better to restore America to what it once was than someone who was there?

Or has he come from the future? His campaign, so far, has been The Terminator, but with less realistic dialogue. All those complaints that he’s a cyborg — maybe they weren’t mere snark. Maybe, instead of fighting him, we should embrace him. He might be the future of mankind, back to save us from some sort of horrible SkyNet-ridden enslavement.

It would also explain the name of his Super PAC, “Restore Our Future.” If he’s not some sort of time-traveling cyborg, this title makes no sense. You can’t restore the future. That’s something you do to monarchs and furniture in historic homes. No, clearly he knows something we don’t! That’s why he seems so confident that he’ll win, in spite of all the months of evidence calling that conclusion into doubt.

The 2008 campaign was a mistake; he’d accidentally been sent back to the wrong year and decided to run anyway, for practice.

I’m not saying this is the only explanation. But it does have a strange logic to it. Besides, it multiplies his chances of winning. If he doesn’t make it this time, he can just come back and do it all over again! That seems reassuring just about now.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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