Mitt Romney, Ted Nugent and Chevy Chase

by Bob Schwartz

The recent silliness regarding Ted Nugent’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, followed by Nugent’s seeming threats to kill the current President, brought to mind a classic movie moment involving Ted Nugent and another rich guy.

It wasn’t actually Ted Nugent. It was Chevy Chase in Fletch. In the movie, Fletch/Chevy Chase is a smart-mouthed investigative reporter who regularly cracks wise by using ridiculous names. In this scene, Fletch is disguised as a beach bum, and businessman Alan Stanwyk (played by Tim Matheson) offers him a deal:

Stanwyk: Excuse me. I have something I’d like to discuss with you.

Fletch: What’s that?

Stanwyk: We can’t talk about it here.

Fletch: Why not?

Stanwyk: Because we can’t.

Fletch: You on a scavenger hunt, or did I forget to pay my dinner check?

Stanwyk: Come to my house to talk.

Fletch: Wrong gal, fella.

Stanwyk: I’ll give you cash.

Fletch: What?

Stanwyk: Come to my house and listen to the proposition. If you reject the proposition, you keep the thousand…and your mouth shut.

Fletch: Does this entail my dressing up as Little Bo Peep?

Stanwyk: It’s nothing of a sexual nature.

Fletch: Yeah.

Stanwyk: One thousand just to listen? How can you pass that up, Mister…

Nugent. Ted Nugent.

Stanwyk: Alan Stanwyk.

Fletch: Alan, charmed. For an extra grand, I’ll let you take me out to dinner.

There’s no reason to believe that the one conversation between Mitt Romney and Ted Nugent went anything like this. Mitt Romney is much richer than the fictional Alan Stanwyk, and the fictional Fletch/real Chevy Chase is much funnier than Ted Nugent. But it is fascinating to speculate how that endorsement conversation really did go, and if it might have been as surreal as this.

Thinking about Fletch can’t help but bring to mind the scene where Fletch disrupts an American Legion meeting by singing an earnestly terrible version of our national anthem. And thinking about Chevy Chase can’t help but bring to mind National Lampoon’s Vacation and a dog being tied to the bumper of a station wagon. Idle thoughts, none of which have anything to do with Ted Nugent.

But if we were thinking about singing, Mitt Romney, and Ted Nugent, we might idly wonder which song—either Nugent or Amboy Dukes—Romney might choose the next time he sings or recites a song on the campaign trail (though it’s doubtful he ever will again).

Journey to the Center of the Mind (1968) was the biggest Amboy Dukes hit, but maybe the most interesting song on an album that combined blues and psychedelia was Why Is A Carrot More Orange Than An Orange?.  Mitt Romney will not sing or recite it, of course, but it would be a memorable and humanizing moment:

First the world,
Then boy then girl,
Six days it took in all.
In His image he designed us
With no thought of flaw.

Now the question of perfection
Lingers in my mind.
Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?
Why are you greener than green?
Why do we sometimes believe
In things we’ve never seen?
Never doubt what it’s about
And you’ll get along fine.
But thy seeing the true meaning
Proves you’ve got a mind.
My suggestion is inspection of humanity.

I see why the ground is lower than the sky
And why sound can penetrate your mind.
But why is a carrot oranger than an orange?
Oranger than an orange?
Oranger than an orange?

Thank you, Ted Nugent.