Mitt Flies Commercial

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Mitt and Ann travel from Vancouver Olympics

The New York Times has once again done what it does best, sliming someone whose politics do not conform to the house code.

In this case, the Times was reporting how Mitt flew coach on a Delta flight to Boston and was supposedly “aloof” with passengers around him. In one case he preferred to read the paper and listen to his iPad rather than engage in a conversation with the person next to him regarding her ideas on health care. In another case he said he was unable to respond to another passenger’s request for a recommendation for a restaurant in Boston.

Commenting on the article, “Kathy” from Connecticut illustrates several of the reactions to be found to that piece (By the the way, there are several comments that support Mitt’s reaction.): 

The guy clear doesn’t have many social skills — but why force yourself into situaitons like this. [sic]

Fly first class or rent a plane, Mitt. You’d be better off than trying to “act” like a normal person by sitting in coach — but then being stand-offish.

He tries to “act” like a normal person and has no social skills? This accusation came after the person cited said that he had accepted to be photographed with her, then an hour into the flight listens to her claim that she had read the entire healthcare legislation before he responded politely, “I understand.” then dons his headset.

Well, Mitt really is much more “normal” than such folks realize and does fly coach quite often. This fact is pointed out by some of the people who commented on the article and is illustrated by an experience he had in coach, which was widely reported in the media. Mitt was leaving Vancouver in February of 2010 after attending the Olympic Games on an Air Canada flight to Los Angeles. The article pointed out that Mitt and his wife were seated in the economy section, and as they were taking off, the passenger seated in front of his wife Ann did not return his seat back to its forward position. After Mitt requested compliance,  the passenger became violent and took a swing at Mitt and he and his baggage were removed from the flight before takeoff.

It is perhaps normal for people to assume they know the kind of person that Mitt is, but anyone who has known him for any length of time knows that prejudices don’t match reality. Sure, his father had made a lot of money rescuing American Motors and had been the governor of Michigan. My experience being around Mitt 45 years ago, however, never revealed that he thought he was any different from anyone else. And of course, Mitt later made a lot of money himself, which by all accounts was because he worked very hard.

On a more personal level, when flying back from San Diego a couple of years ago, a skycap was helping me check my bag at the curb check-in stand. I saw that he had been reading Ron Paul’s book, The Revolution: A Manifesto. Thinking of the previous election cycle, I asked him if he knew anything about Mitt Romney. He replied that he had helped Mitt and his family a lot with their bags when they fly out of San Diego. He volunteered that Mitt was always a nice guy and never failed to give a generous tip. He also exclaimed in a tone that seemed to reveal a high degree of admiration, “He usually flies JetBlue!” For those who don’t know, this might be called an economy airline.

This entry was posted in Mitt, the Person by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Michael Bush first met Mitt in 1966 when they reported for a one-week training session in Salt Lake City before heading to France on the 4th of July to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 2 1/2 years. They also served at the same time in Bordeaux for several months in 1968, where they worked together quite often. Mike is on the faculty of Brigham Young University and grew up in Alabama. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Political Science. He also has an MBA from the University of Missouri and a PhD from The Ohio State University in Foreign Language Education with an emphasis in Computer Science. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who spent most of his career at the US Air Force Academy teaching French and doing research in the area of computer-assisted language learning. He and his wife Annie have four children and 18 grandchildren. It goes without saying that the things written on this site reflect his views and opinions and are in no way intended to reflect those of Brigham Young University or its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

5 thoughts on “Mitt Flies Commercial

  1. “And of course, Mitt later made a lot of money himself, which by all accounts was because he worked very hard.”

    He was a venture capitalist on Wall Street. The hardest part about work like that is getting to sleep at night, knowing you are ruining other people’s lives for profit.

    • First of all, he was not on Wall St. He was in Boston. Second, the primarily approach Bain used was to create, improve and grow companies. I know – I spent a lot of time with them when I taught at Harvard. Third, do you even know what venture capital does? It funds new companies – it doesn’t take them apart.

    • so co-dependent it’s pathetic. The man is a success story, perhaps you thought you could shroud your envy with talking points.

  2. Wah, your comment of course reflects the current class warfare rhetoric many politicians today are using to divide the electorate. Looking at what Mitt did from another perspective, however, the thousands of employees at companies like Staples (over 2,000 stores according to Wikipedia) would argue that their lives have not been ruined by having a job. Staples, one of Mitt’s first big successes is only one company in which his former company, Bain Capital, invested. Once again from Wikipedia:

    More than twenty five years after its inception, Bain Capital manages approximately $65 billion in assets, and has founded, acquired, or invested in hundreds of companies including AMC Entertainment, Aspen Education Group, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, DoubleClick, D&M Holdings, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Toys R Us, Unisource, Warner Music Group and The Weather Channel.

    The thousands of people with jobs there today are probably quite glad to be where they are because of the investments their companies have received from Bain.

  3. Mike – Great article. I got to know Mitt Romney first when I was at MIT and then 9 years later when I was on leave from Stanford to teach at Harvard. He first approached me, started up a conversation and was totally down to earth, warm and funny. Over several months I spoke with him several times (we lived in Belmont, the same town he lived in) and every time he was personable, approachable and not at all like the plastic stiff the media wants you to think he is. If I didn’t know he was governor at the time, I would have thought he had all the time in the world to take the time to meet and talk to his constituents (he quickly found out I was not a MA voter!).

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