Date: July 22, 2005
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

Mitt Romney is at it again, trying to pull the symbolic wool over the eyes of the public. His riding one stop, even if he had known the correct fare, would have done nothing to demonstrate that the subway is safe. What demonstrates its safety is the actions of thousands of commuters each day who ride the subway to work.

His symbolic silliness is of a piece with his actions as a candidate. Each week Mitt Romney worked for a day -- at least it was a day, not a five minute subway ride -- at a "regular "job. That "day at work program" by Mitt Romney provided for great photo opportunities, but it did not give time for the meaninglessness of much of that work to sink in one is still in a learning mode. When I was a student, I only lasted a week on a donut assembly line: I could not get to sleep until I started up the line in my dreams. That is the reality of many assembly line jobs. The one day working at a menial job did not give Mitt Romney the insight into the reality of poor people's lives that he could have gained by reading Nickel and Dimed (Barbara Ehrenreich) or When Work Disappears (W. J. Wilson).

Once again for Mitt Romney, symbol trumps substance.