As much as possible, even in my day job, I try to avoid politics, which is an odd thing for someone who used to run the political unit at Minnesota Public Radio and started the political blog that the Washington Post recently said was one of the best in the country.
I don't think it's a secret, however, that people who fly are more likely to be Republican than Democrat. Why? Often, it's because pilots tend to come from a military background, and clearly if you can own an airplane, you come from an economic strata that leans more Republican than Democrat. Me? I no longer see much difference -- or usefulness -- in either party since the politicians and their most ardent followers have much more allegiance to their party and their candidate than to their country. But I digress.
User fees. It's an issue that immediately raises the hackles of just about any pilot. General aviation, the theory goes, already pays a fair share and, besides, if we end up paying user fees, it's not like the taxes we spend now are going to come down to compensate for it.
This, it seems to me, is going to cause quite a dilemma for many pilots because the Republican candidate for president loves the idea of user fees (although he says he would limit it to corporate aircraft). And he hates Phil Boyer of the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association, the chief lobbyist against user fees. And the feeling appears to be mutual.
Barack Obama's position is much less clear. But let's assume -- for the sake of the hypothetical -- that he comes out against user fees.