It depresses me to think that the left might actually have convinced itself that Romney doesn’t have a sixth-grader’s grasp on air travel, so I’m not going to think it. I’m going to chalk up the blog tizzy over this today to a dearth of hard news combined with the fact that it’s irresistibly fun to imagine your opponent is much, much stupider than he obviously is. How many jokes about Obama’s “57 states” have we enjoyed, right? Well, here’s the left’s version of a “57 states” gaffe:
Romney’s wife, Ann, was in attendance, and the candidate spoke of the concern he had for her when her plane had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica because of an electrical malfunction.
“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”
Two possibilities. One: A guy with a joint degree from Harvard Law and Harvard Business, who’s made hundreds of millions of dollars through his keen grasp of business, and who’s been flying regularly for decades (imagine the amount of campaign travel in the past five years alone) somehow hasn’t figured out yet that cabins are pressurized at high altitudes. Somehow, the thousands of safety demonstrations he’s endured at the beginning of each flight, replete with the bit about maybe needing oxygen masks if something goes wrong, just didn’t sink in. Hopefully one of his 10-year-old grandchildren can pull him aside and explain the basics before he ups and opens the cabin door on his next flight so that he can get some fresh air.
Two: He’s being misunderstood. Obviously you can’t open the windows at high altitudes, but suffocating to death from smoke inhalation due to a fire in the cabin seems “sub-optimal” too. But what if … the windows could be opened at low altitudes? The pilot could bring the plane down to a few thousand feet (a la skydivers) to reduce the pressure differential and then a few windows could be opened to flush out the smoke and save the passengers’ lives. Could that be what Mitt Romney, Harvard grad, tycoon, and frequent air traveler, meant? Or is he already secretly planning to build the world’s first jumbo jet with a convertible top, so that you can pop the lid and feel the breeze in your hair at 35,000 feet? I hope someone in the media gets to the bottom of this quick, because there are a lot of bloggers out there tonight who seem genuinely unsure.