The downside of making a few mistakes in a row is that everything you say for the period immediately following is seen through a darkly-colored lens, one which presumes fault or just sheer stupidity even when it's not present.
So lay off Mitt Romney, already, on the purported airplane-window gaffe.
Romney, at a fundraiser in California, seemed to have a lack of basic understanding about how cabin pressure works and why it might not be such a great idea to have windows on planes that can be opened. Never mind screen doors at the front of the cabin. Romney said:
When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no — and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous...
The former Massachusetts governor has been pilloried for the remarks on blogs, with the writers suggesting this is just another example of Romney being out of touch with the real world—or in this case, scientific reality. But is there really anyone who can't see that Romney's comments were meant as a joke? True, this is someone who has made comments indicating he might not understand how the working class lives. But he has business and law degrees from Harvard—is it really plausible that he doesn't understand why plane windows must be tightly sealed?
Romney's wife, Ann, experienced a scare when her campaign plane had to make an emergency landing amid smoke in the cabin. The former governor was understandably upset and worried, as anyone would be. This is his wife, and of course he was feeling not only concerned but a little helpless and perhaps a little responsible. Mrs. Romney is not the candidate, but she has to fly around the country because her spouse is seeking the presidency. It's frightening when any candidate faces a plane mishap, but it's even worse when it's a candidate's family, since they are collateral damage—figuratively, and in this scary scenario, potentially literally—in a candidate's campaign.
Romney was faced with the prospect of his wife being in danger because of a decision he made to run for president. He made a wry joke about it. To accuse him of being so ignorant of basic science is not only piling on, it is cruel.