June 23, 2003

THIS STORY SEEMS SADLY TYPICAL of our Tribunes Of The People:

A United States senator doesn’t go unnoticed when he pulls rank in public. So when populist Democrat Tom Harkin jumped a snaking security line of less exalted passengers at Reagan National Airport on Friday to make his flight home to Iowa, it was only a matter of minutes before someone dropped a dime.

In this case, that someone was Jim Warren, deputy managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, who had just arrived around 10 a.m. when he spotted Harkin flashing his Senate ID at the Midwest Express counter and being escorted past some 200 long-suffering travelers who were waiting to go through security.

Note the miserable self-justifying excuse: “we were more worried about getting the job done for the people of Iowa than about getting a call from a gossip columnist.” Harkin was done voting. He just didn’t want to have to take a later flight home, even though as a member of Congress he gets special treatment in that regard from the airline industry, too. Members of Congress should have to travel like the rest of us — because if they did, it would ensure that the rest of us had a better flying experience.