People Who Won't Fly Commercial

Charlotte Hays | Posted on 03/10/10

The body guards were ego props. Unless the governor had received death threats or there was a genuine security issue, which I seriously doubt, these were taxpayer-funded status symbols.

A magazine story I'd like to do bears, in my imagination, the headline, "People Who Won't Fly Commercial." Now, there are often very good reasons why some people don't fly commercial. I'm not suggesting that we retire Air Force One, but I am suggesting that many people expect to be pampered in a way that would have appalled advocates of good old republican values.

Former aide Andrew Young's sordid book about John Edwards, The Politician, reports a darkly amusing incident in which Edwards refuses to fly commercial to be vetted for the vice presidency by Senator Kerry. Edwards demands a plane be sent to fetch him. He couldn't fly with hoi polloi. But PWWFC isn't my only peeve. 

I also dream of penning a story headlined "Body Guard Chic." This idea came to me several years ago, as I watched a mere governor's  security detail go over a hotel lobby as if the president might show up before the then-not-well-know governor spoke. The body guards were ego props. Unless the governor had received death threats or there was a genuine security issue, which I seriously doubt, these were taxpayer-funded status symbols.

That is why my new heroine is Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Az), who has proposed that members of the House take an $8,700 a year pay cut. She has 21 co-signers from both parties. It's a great idea, not because the savings ($4.66 million a year-a congressman makes around $174,000), which is a pittance. But because of what it would say about our values, about our representatives being a little more like the rest of us. Get rid of the ego props!   

 

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