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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Politicians Flying Coach

Scott McAdams
This week, I flew to Anchorage for a meeting. Unlike other places, in Juneau there is no choice when it comes to airlines. We fly Alaska Airlines. It reminds me of British novels, particularly mysteries, in which traveling up to London always takes place on a train. And there is only the one.

Governor Parnell
On my way up to Anchorage, Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator was on the plane.  On my return to Juneau, Governor Parnell and his family were on the plane. In both instances, they rode in Coach. Fact: I have never seen an Alaska governor ride in First Class. I never saw Governor Murkowski on a plane that I was on because he purchased a plane with State funds and used it for his own transportation. In this egalitarian state, it proved to be one of the reasons he was soundly defeated. I remember once seeing Governor Knowles in a middle seat, thinking at the time that it could have been a campaign poster. "I have to endure middle seats sometimes, just like you. I feel your pain." Even Governor Palin used to fly Coach. She certainly doesn't now.

In Alaska, at least, First Class for a governor looks too hoity toity. Political winds depend on symbols. And First Class is a powerful symbol. As is Coach. Maybe it has something to do with "so the last will be first, and the first last."

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