Out Amongst the People

It’s not often that you get a chance to see how a politician behaves among ordinary people.  They’re usually surrounded by security, and mobbed by media, so on that rare occasion in which you find yourself relatively alone with one for even a moment, most people will try to exploit the moment and express their own opinions.   In these situations, some politicians bear up better than others, and some are able to disguise the actual contempt or at least ambivalence they feel for we “little people.”  The Romney campaign thought it would be a good idea to have Mitt fly coach just to be among the people.  Unfortunately, once there, he promptly ignored a fellow passenger who wanted to discuss health-care reform with him, reports a New York Times blogger, Emmarie Heutteman.  According to the article, Carolyn McClanahan of Jacksonville, Florida was seated next to Romney.

From the blog posting:

According to Ms. McClanahan, about an hour into the flight — which Mr. Romney mostly spent reading USA Today and using an iPad while wearing headphones — she told him her idea for improving the American health care system: slashing overhead costs by switching to an electronic billing system.

“He looked at me blankly and said, ‘I understand,’ then put his iPad headphones in and kept reading,” she said.

While Ms. McClanahan said Mr. Romney was probably exhausted, she was disappointed he showed so little interest. Even another passenger’s request for a restaurant recommendation in Boston elicited little from Mr. Romney, she said. “I can’t give you any,” he said, according to Ms. McClanahan. “You’ll have to ask someone else.”

This is demonstrative of the arrogance that pervades the permanent political class.  I recognize that Romney just wanted to catch his flight, but if you sit in coach in an attempt to appear to be “just one of us,” then you should expect that people will attempt to make some conversation, particularly if you’re a presidential candidate.  Mitt is just another of those politicians who want your vote, but not your opinions.  I have no idea whether Ms. McClanahan had any good ideas or not, but after all, you never know.  I’m not surprised by this, although this sort of confirmation is troubling.

Undoubtedly, this may be Mitt’s last appearance in coach, because now his campaign is catching grief.  The Times article concludes:

Ms. McClanahan said that if Mr. Romney wants to improve his image with voters, he’s going to have to do more than just fly coach.

“I think that one of the problems right now is that politicians aren’t in touch,” she said. “They’re trying to act like they’re in touch. You need to be a little more sincere about it.”

Indeed. That’s one of the problems with Mitt.  In fact, it always has been: He’s roughly as genuine as a stuffed ape holding a plastic banana.  He’s got no credibility with average Americans because he simply isn’t one of us.  He never has been, and he clearly seems out of his element when among us.  It’s only a matter of time before they put him in flannel at a skeet-shooting range, or at a NASCAR race to show us how he’s one of us.  McClanahan’s instincts are right about Romney.  He’s out of touch. He’s out of style, and if  conservatives and Tea Party folk have anything to say about it, he’ll be out of the running.  Sadly, that’s going to be more difficult than some now think.

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