Say It Ain’t So, Joe
What’s wrong with the media? Instead of covering the election, they simply follow the campaigns wherever the campaigns ask them to go.
In a bushwhack most probably staged by Republican right-wing talk radio, the McCain campaign sneaked one in on first the Obama campaign and then the mainstream media. John McCain made Wednesday’s debate about the newest “everyman” on the scene, Joe the Plumber. Oh, wow, here was the epitome of middle-American ambition and values all rolled into one.
Joe the Plumber, AKA Joe Wurzelbacher, showed up at an Obama event outside Toledo, Ohio, Sunday posing as just a regular guy on the street with a bone to pick with Obama’s tax policies. Obama, to his credit, talked to Joe and did his best to explain how his economic plan would be more helpful than hurtful to him. Joe stiffened up both his body and resolve to resist anything Obama had to say. Not too much of a story there, that is until John McCain brought Joe the Plumber out of his arsenal during the final debate this week, citing him as representative of every person in America.
The media was all over the story. News vans with satellite links surrounded the guy’s house in suburban Toledo for the next 24 hours to cover his compelling story. Joe was more than happy to tell his “story.” Now, I must point out that my Grandma used to say, “Don’t you story to me,” as a polite way to admonish us against telling whoppers. Seems Joe was just a regular guy who wanted to buy out his boss’s $250,000 to $280,000 a year plumbing business, but had decided against it because Obama’s tax plan would penalize him. McCain pounced to the rescue of all the Joe the Plumbers of the world and pronounced the evil Democratic middle-class tax cutters were out to get poor old Joe.
At first blush, it seemed that the McCain campaign had gotten exactly what they wanted: a new distraction, except this one was more economy-based even than his rush to the rescue of the bailout plan for big banks. But in true McCain campaign tradition, as demonstrated by the Sarah Palin pick, they hadn’t done their homework into who Joe the Plumber really is. Instead they created the biggest myth since the Obama-Muslim connection they still peddle in the shadows of their campaign.
Seems that Joe the Plumber is actually not a plumber. He is an independent contractor who provides his unlicensed services to plumbing companies who no doubt are charging their clients full licensed plumber fees. Seems that Joe is not in the process of nor ever was in the process of “buying” his boss’s plumbing business. Also seems that Joe is well below the $250,000 income level of the Obama tax increases, making, according to his income-tax filings about $40,000 last year. Then there is the matter of taxes in general. As the media dug into the public records easily available on Joe the Plumber, they discovered that his modest home is under a tax-lien for unpaid taxes. Seems Joe doesn’t like to pay his taxes at all.
Okay, just in case that’s not enough to convince you of Joe’s real intentions in this whole spectacle, just a few more facts uncovered by the army of media sent to cover his sad story. Joe, who claimed to be an independent voter, is, in fact, a registered Republican and voted in the Ohio Republican Primary earlier this year. He can’t even lay claim to being one of those cross-over Republicans who voted for Hillary Clinton, but is now supporting John McCain. Oh, and one last thing, Joe the Plumber isn’t exactly an undiscovered “talent.” Seems he’s a frequent caller to right-wing talk radio shows where he bashes Barack Obama at will. In a recent call he compared Obama to Sammy Davis, Jr. Now, that’s a real laugh.
The whole thing boils down to just another one of those tricky Republican campaign tactics. You know, they didn’t call Nixon, “tricky Dick” for nothing. So this certainly isn’t anything new. Once again John McCain has hidden his Republican agenda for four more years of George W. Bush policies behind a diversionary tactic packed full of misleading information. It continues to be sad to watch a once-honorable man sliding farther and farther down into the mud. Sorry, John McCain, this earns you yet another “Dishonorable Medal of Honor” from this old veteran. And if Joe Scarborough had ever served his country in the military, I would issue one to him as well this morning after Morning Joe totally ignored the facts of who Joe the Plumber really is and instead still cited him as the real deal.
As for Barack Obama, he warned his supporters not to get “cocky” about the election and keep on fighting. I join him in that. As we can clearly see, the McCain campaign and his fellow low-life Republicans are going to throw a new bomb every day between now and the election. As we used to say in the army, “INCOMING!”