CYBERSPACE—According to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, Mitt RMoney Romney is worth far more than the $250 million he's admitted to, and that when the candidate's tax returns are examined (and hopefully made public, as his dad did with a dozen years of his returns), it will show that Mittens has the most golden of golden parachutes to float down on in case Obama is reelected. In fact, Flynt took out a full-page ad in Sunday's Washington Post and Tuesday's USA Today offering a $1 million bounty for the material.
"The only reason to not release the returns is to avoid taxes or hide assets. He’s hiding assets," Flynt told Daily Beast reporter Lauren Ashburn. "The guy’s a multibillionaire."
But why hide it, since everyone knows he's got at least a quarter of a billion in assets?
"No working stiff who goes to a ballot box can relate to a billionaire," Flynt assessed.
Tracing Flynt's past successes, the slightly-snarky Ashburn notes that in the late '90s, the publisher outed the sexual affairs of almost-House Speaker Bob Livingston and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, causing Livingston to follow Gingrich's path of resignation, while in 2007, he exposed Sen. David Vitter's use of prostitutes when his investigator found Vitter's phone number in the address book of Deborah Jean Palfrey, the "D.C. Madam." Vitter, who reportedly liked to dress in diapers while being serviced by a New Orleans hooker, refused calls for his resignation, and has been staunchly defended by most of the same conservatives who called for the impeachment of Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Ashburn, who apparently really believes that Romney actually has a plan to "revive the country’s economy as president," sees Flynt's offer as possible retaliation for Romney's having signed Morality in Media's anti-porn pledge back in January, and of course, his party's platform includes a plank promising that "Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced."
But while Flynt described Romney as "like an over-the-hill Calvin Klein model who hasn’t had it up in 10 years," he opined that the threatened crackdown on porn wouldn't succeed.
"He can have all the fantasies he wants," Flynt said of the candidate. "People who sit on juries don't want to tell people what they can do in their own living rooms."
While Flynt told Ashburn that he didn't think Michelle Obama would allow her husband to read Hustler, he speculated that Ann Romney might, because "I think Ann might let him read it to charge his battery... If it wasn't for those five kids, you'd say Romney could pass for a eunuch."
But while Ashburn found Flynt to be "funnier and more politically opinionated than I expected," she nonetheless saw Flynt's comments on Romney's sex life, his million-dollar offer and "sexual innuendo and mean-spirited attitude toward Romney" as "a sad attempt to drag Romney into his dirt-filled gutter."
Of course, just one paragraph earlier, Ashburn described the American public as "a nation of voyeurs who like to know how much someone is worth," which would seem to put all of us in that same "dirt-filled gutter."
"In Romney’s case," she continued, "such [tax return] information would allow people to make value judgments, to disparage his ability to speak for average Joes, to speculate about ill-gotten gains, to discredit hard work because his father was wealthy."
Yeah! Because, y'know, why should it matter if the guy with his "finger on the button" might just possibly have hundreds of millions of dollars stashed away in banks in countries he might consider it politically expedient to bomb?