Kerry went to Detroit on a campaign stop this week to speak about the plight of the American worker. Sounds okay, right? Just the sort of topic a candidate like Kerry needs to talk about to reach middle America?

It would be, if the press pass his campaign issued for the event didn’t look like this:

That’s right. A Rolls Royce. A German car (now that BMW has taken over the marque). For an event in Detroit.

A Rolls Royce 100EX to be exact. It’s an experimental model that will not enter production (this is something Rolls Royce does to test new features and designs), but currently has teak and mahogany wood on the interior, Dark Curzon leather, and cashmere lining under the hood.

One could estimate the price of such a vehicle, were it in production, at about $400,000. It’s an attractive car on its own merits (to me anyway). But I suspect that it isn’t a good choice to put on a press pass to a Detroit event focused on middle-class, blue collar American auto workers.

I thought the purpose of campaign managers was to think about issues like this. I can certainly believe that Kerry himself would never for a moment consider this to be a strange contrast, much less that it’s deeply insulting. But what is he paying his campaign folks for if they can’t even get a clue about stuff like this?

Kyle adds: Kerry’s campaign really seems to have a tin ear when it comes to honest-to-god working-class Americans. I’m reminded of the time during the primaries when he was in Philadelphia and ordered a Philly cheesesteak sandwich with Swiss cheese, and then ate it with a napkin tucked into the collar of his shirt. Soon after that happened, I asked my bosses bosses boss at work (who was from Philadelphia, and a Democrat) what would happen to someone who did that and his instant response was “he’d get his ass kicked.” An utter failure to connect, there.

It seems like Kerry is so rich that he genuinely doesn’t grasp the kinds of concerns that animate people who actually have to work for a living. (Kerry himself has only bothered to show up for his own actual job a small fraction of the time over the past year. I wish I could make a six figure income with a 90% absentee rate. I guess I’m just not nuanced enough, or something.)

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