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View Full Version : Say it ain't so, Joe (the plumber)!


TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 02:16 AM
LOL, the new Republican cultural totem, Joe the Plumber, isn't even registered to vote (http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1008/The_Joe_file.html).

Thus Spoke Elvis
10-16-2008, 04:54 PM
The moral of the story: If you're a prospective voter, don't ask a tough question to a presidential candidate. Because if you make him look bad, there will be reprecussions.

I'm waiting for some overzealous journalist or Obama supporter to start looking into Joe's video rental history. They've already made public his tax problems and the fact that he isn't a liscensed plumber -- why not see if it's possible to embarrass the guy any further? That'll teach him.

nikkibong
10-16-2008, 05:53 PM
it gets better:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/1008/Joe_not_a_licensed_plumber_McCains_enthusiasm_not_ diminished.html

TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 05:57 PM
The moral of the story: If you're a prospective voter, don't ask a tough question to a presidential candidate. Because if you make him look bad, there will be reprecussions.

I'm waiting for some overzealous journalist or Obama supporter to start looking into Joe's video rental history. They've already made public his tax problems and the fact that he isn't a liscensed plumber -- why not see if it's possible to embarrass the guy any further? That'll teach him.

You attribute these things to retribution. You think Ben Smith is punishing Joe the Plumber because he made Obama look bad? It's called "the media," and if the Republican Party turns someone into a national figure, the media is going to look into his life. It's called a free press and his problems would have been reported no matter how he came to national prominence.

Furthermore, he didn't make Obama look bad. I don't know if you saw the video of he and Obama talking, but any objective observer would conclude that it made Obama look good -- not bad.

If the Republicans were worried about Joe's privacy they should not have turned him into a campaign prop. I don't think you can deny that. It's the Republicans who tried to turn him into a tool to be used to elect McCain.

Don't worry: The Republicans will pay off the guys problems, get him a license, probably buy him a house and give him his own show on Fox News if that's what it takes to be a useful cultural totem for the next 19.5 days.

He'll gain more in monetary rewards and frank appreciation from a starving and dying Republican Party than he will ever pay for living in a free country with a free press.

TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 06:03 PM
it gets better:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/1008/Joe_not_a_licensed_plumber_McCains_enthusiasm_not_ diminished.html

ROFL.

I have to admit, I think McCain is making a mistake by trying to wave around their new totem to change the minds of the American public. The public (I believe, and hope) sees right through this crap.

Joe isn't a real person to Republicans: He's a symbol. Who cares what his real life is like? The only thing that matters to Republican is what Joe can be said to symbolize. He's the male cultural totem to Sarah Palin's female cultural totem.

Where Palin is a totem to small towns, fertility, whiteness, and hostility towards the left, Joe the Plumber is a totem to virility, whiteness, hostility to the left, and some vague idea of "the working man."

Q: How do we know that Palin and Joe are merely cultural totems, symbols, to the Republican Party? A: Because they fell to their knees in worship of both before they knew the first thing about them. All they needed was the skimpiest biographical sketch to fall madly in love with them and elevate them to symbols for everything the conservative movement represents.

Isn't that just weird?

TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 06:20 PM
An interesting story about Joe the Plumber:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/joe-in-the-spotlight/?hp

I can assure conservatives who are fretting now about Poor Ole Joe: he's going to be fine. He's going to be better than fine. His elevation to Symbol of Republicaness will be very profitable for him. Despite the tears shed on his behalf by conservatives coast to coast, Ole Joe will have a book deal by the end of the week, and frankly I have no doubt that Republicans are writing him checks as we speak to pay off his back taxes, buy a proper license, and if he's lucky, maybe even set him up in a real business, so he can spend the rest of his life as a high profile "self-made" Republican workin' class hero.

Funny part: He's far more articulate and by all signs far more intelligent than the Republican VP candidate.

AemJeff
10-16-2008, 06:29 PM
The moral of the story: If you're a prospective voter, don't ask a tough question to a presidential candidate. Because if you make him look bad, there will be reprecussions.

I'm waiting for some overzealous journalist or Obama supporter to start looking into Joe's video rental history. They've already made public his tax problems and the fact that he isn't a liscensed plumber -- why not see if it's possible to embarrass the guy any further? That'll teach him.

I disagree. The moral is, if you're going to stick your neck out in public, prepare to be scrutinized - fairly and otherwise. I give you credit for not invoking "the liberal media," as if there was any sort of ideological motivation.

I wonder what you think of this (http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/15/ohio-prosecutor-investigating-voter-fraud-house/). I have no idea whether or not what she alleges is true. I am sure that whoever lives in that house doesn't need to have their exact address publicized, particularly in as well exposed a forum as MM's blog.

TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 06:38 PM
I wonder what you think of this (http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/15/ohio-prosecutor-investigating-voter-fraud-house/).

Good point.

And then there's this:

The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost (http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1670210,00.html)

A 12 year old kid, subject to death threats and constant attacks for weeks, led by the lunatic Michelle Malkin.

TwinSwords
10-16-2008, 06:45 PM
Joe isn't a real person to Republicans: He's a symbol. Who cares what his real life is like? The only thing that matters to Republican is what Joe can be said to symbolize. .... All they needed was the skimpiest biographical sketch to fall madly in love with them and elevate them to symbols for everything the conservative movement represents.[/I]

A reader of Andrew Sullivan's makes the same point (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/dissent-of-th-2.html) as I made above, but, strangely, he thinks it's a defense.

I think all of your posts today about "Joe the Plumber" and McCain's lack of "vetting" is sort of missing the point. I'm an Obama partisan, so I don't relish defending the Mac Attack, but it really is easier (and more politically expedient) to say "Joe the Plumber" than "Joe Worzelbacher", and besides, you can concede that he was using this particular Joe to stand in for the more general working class Joes. Does it really matter that his birth name is Sam, or that he's not licensed to be a plumber, that he makes less than 250k? Really? McCain may have been talking directly to him, but that was a rhetorical strategy, to speak to all those like him. Seems like a lot of sound and fury (signifying nada) to me.

Thus Spoke Elvis
10-16-2008, 07:47 PM
You attribute these things to retribution. You think Ben Smith is punishing Joe the Plumber because he made Obama look bad? It's called "the media," and if the Republican Party turns someone into a national figure, the media is going to look into his life. It's called a free press and his problems would have been reported no matter how he came to national prominence.



The media and Obama flaks are both contributing, for different purposes. Some campaign reporters are looking for something, anything, to write about in the final weeks of a campaign that was effectively decided about three weeks ago. And some Obama flaks in the blogosphere see it as their mission to destroy the credibility of anyone who might question the positions of the One. He's somehow related to Charles Keating! He has tax problems! I've already seen on one blog someone post his court records!

Why is any of this important? And why should someone who asks a politician a question -- not even at a rally, but when the politician walks down his street to ask for votes -- have the details of their life made public?

Look, I don't know this guy Joe, and I don't care to. He asked a politician a question about his tax plan, and the politician answered it in a way that some people didn't like. And then this poor schmuck gets caught up in the clash between the politician and his oponent, who seem unable to answer a question during a 90 minute debate without mentioning how this will affect "Joe the Plumber." And now suddenly he's an issue in the presidential election -- portrayed as a folk hero by some, and as an embodiment of evil by others.

This is really, really stupid.

TwinSwords
10-17-2008, 07:52 AM
The media and Obama flaks are both contributing, for different purposes.
Sure, I think that's right. First of all, we live in a free enterprise system, where different interests compete for dollars. In the media world, when there is an explosion of interest in, say Britney Spears, dollars can be accumulated by sating the public's appetite with pictures or salacious stories. In the political world, when there is an explosion of interest in Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, media outlets can increase ratings, sell more papers, or get more page views by reporting new and interesting information about him.

It's capitalism, and the glory of competition. You, Sam, and McCain either knew this was coming or don't really understand a free marketplace.

On the other hand you mention "Obama flaks," and again, you have a point: When Joe inserts himself into a political campaign on a dishonest basis with the explicit purpose of making one of the candidates look bad, "Obama flaks" would be stupid to ignore him. Note: That doesn't justify every possible response, but it does justify some responses which impeach his credibility on the issues he's raised. For example, when Joe poses as a plumber who would be hurt by Obama's tax plan, it's fair to point out that he would actually benefit from Obama's tax plan, and that he's in no position to buy a business that would put him in the tax bracket that will have to pay more under Obama's plan.





why should someone who asks a politician a question -- not even at a rally, but when the politician walks down his street to ask for votes -- have the details of their life made public?
This is a grossly disingenuous characterization of Joe, assuming you know anything about this character. He was not just some guy asking a politician a question. Rather, he is:

(1) Some guy who confronted Obama with the intent to attack Obama's tax policy.

(2) Some guy who was parading around right-wing media and YouTube prior to the debate.

(3) Some guy who was injected into the campaign as a tool to salvage the McCain campaign. McCain mentioned him twenty-one times in the 3rd debate!





this poor schmuck gets caught up in the clash between the politician and his oponent
He's not just some innocent bystander. He was on Fox News calling Obama a socialist and leveling other insults. He volunteered to become a public face for the McCain campaign. And he wasn't "caught up," he was used by the McCain campaign.



And now suddenly he's an issue in the presidential election -- portrayed as a folk hero by some, and as an embodiment of evil by others.
I know you like the symmetry of the charges, but nobody is portraying Joe as an embodiment of evil.

bjkeefe
10-23-2008, 01:20 AM
Q: How do we know that Palin and Joe are merely cultural totems, symbols, to the Republican Party? A: Because they fell to their knees in worship of both before they knew the first thing about them. All they needed was the skimpiest biographical sketch to fall madly in love with them and elevate them to symbols for everything the conservative movement represents.

Isn't that just weird?

On a related note, have you seen the piece in this coming Sunday's NYT Magazine on McCain (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/magazine/26mccain-t.html)? The description of the process of selecting Palin is just jaw-dropping. I've been using the tag "John McCain's poor impulse control" for the Palin-related posts on my blog, but it turns out that I have been being too kind.