Sen. Claire McCaskill thinks that owning a private jet is "normal." So put your tray tables up, because her comment to that effect could cause significant turbulence for the Missouri Democrat's re-election campaign.
When a constituent noted that affordable air travel and the American dream are intertwined, McCaskill replied "will you remind that when they come after me about my husband's private plane? That normal people can afford it."
But most of Missouri can't jet set like the senator. The average household earns about $50,000 per year. Accustomed to the finer things, McCaskill used to fly home on the weekends on an eight passenger Pilatus PC-12/45, a turboprop plane retailing around $2 million.
And as the well-heeled McCaskill busies herself with rebranding as a hard-nosed watchdog, her recent private jet comment ensures she'll catch populist flack.
Republicans won't let voters forget that the senator was forced to pay $300,000 in state property taxes on her private plane. The electorate will be reminded about the fact that their senator had to repay $88,000 to the Department of Treasury for her fuel and pilot fees.
McCaskill flew straight into that controversy right before her 2012 election. She only survived what she described as a "big, serious, sloppy mistake" by shifting the blame to her wealthy husband, St. Louis businessman Joe Shepard.
"I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane," McCaskill famously said. "I will never set foot on the plane again." Politico reported at the time that McCaskill later sold "the damn plane" at a loss of more than $200,000.
Then again, private plane people probably also think losing that kind of money is normal, so who's counting?
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.