The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Seventeen Days on the Campaign Trail

Posted on | January 11, 2012 | 5 Comments

P.J. O’Rourke encounters Andrew Breitbart at the
Manchester, N.H., Radisson Bar, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012

“Wheels up” from Boston’s Logan Airport was at 1:09 p.m., and as Flight 1727 ascended from the runway, I noticed the houses that dotted the little spits of land jutting out into the bay. There were docks and piers and even an apartment building or two, and from my window seat (5A) I looked down and wondered about the people who live there in the airport flight path. Then the US Airways jet banked right, toward the south and, after a while, I recognized the familiar fishook shape of the Provincetown peninsula.

Flying has become a more commonplace experience for me in the past three years of campaign coverage, but it’s not so common that I take it for granted. I still pray at takeoff — the most dangerous part of any flight — and take notes about my journeys, even if I never actually turn those notes into anything for publication.

Half a century ago, the phrase “jet set” described the lives of the glitterati, in an age when frequent air travel was the prerogative of the affluent. Nowadays, air travel is for everybody: salesmen and tourists and even bloggers out covering the presidential election campaign. So it was that I found myself sitting in coach class reading the New York Times on my flight from Boston to Philly.

Nobody on the plane recognized me as a “media celebrity,” even though only a few days earlier I’d been hanging out with guys like Jake Tapper and Andrew Breitbart in Manchester. Also, the man with the hat with the pink camera kept showing up in the background of TV shots like this Monday interview with CNN’s Dana Bash and Ron Paul:

Hey, I’m just a blogger. During the course of this trip, by my count, I’ve filed 51 posts in 17 days, in addition to 11 columns for The American Spectator:

It’s been a pretty productive trip, whatever the discouragement of Mitt Romney’s continued march toward “inevitability.” Maybe we can stop him in South Carolina, but first I’ve got to fly home for a couple of days.

The National Affairs Desk at the Riverbend Bar & Grill,
Philadelphia Airport, 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012

My flight to D.C. takes off in less than an hour, and I’ve got to close down the National Affairs Desk here at the airport hotel bar and make it through the routine security hassles before they call final boarding. This leaves me just enough time to write The Five Most Important Words in the English Language: Hit the freaking tip jar!

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