Obama talks with Joe Wurzelbacher, who should not have had any reason to fear that his life was about to change.(Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP)
The snap judgment about Wednesday night’s Presidential debate, according to headlines all over the Internets, was that “the big winner of the debate was Joe the Plumber.” The line brought a smile to my face, and I daydreamed about how he could build a marketing campaign around it.
Not so fast.
HOLLAND, Ohio — Joe the Plumber’s story sprang a few leaks Thursday.
Turns out that the man who was held up by John McCain as the typical, hard-working American taxpayer isn’t really a licensed plumber. And court documents show he owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes.
“Joe,” whose name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher…
The implication here is, this guy lied about being a plumber, he’s a tax cheat, and his name isn’t even Joe. I’ll be damned before I’ll post any links to the left-wing fever swamps (or the right-wing fever swamps, for that matter), but if you search for a bit you’ll find all of these allegations and more, stated explicitly. The reality, of course, is much more nuanced, and you can find those details elsewhere.
My point here is that this feeding frenzy is the blogospheric equivalent of a rapist’s defense attorney grilling the victim about her sex life on the stand.
An unidentified emailer on The Corner summed it up better than I can:
That said, the way the pro-Obama media and bloggers, and Obama himself, have responded to Joe has got me nearly shaking with rage. They are attempting to destroy a man — a private citizen — who had the audacity to ask The One a question. Mind you, Joe was on his front lawn playing football with his son when Obama strolled up to give him his hopenchange spiel. Obama approached Joe, not the other way around. And Joe asked Obama an honest question. And Obama gave him an honest — and very, very revealing — answer. Again, mind you, the embarassment was on Obama’s end, not Joe’s. It wasn’t a gotcha question.
And yet, for that Joe is being pilloried, every aspect of his private and professional life being sorted through and exposed.
It wasn’t a gotcha question, but to be clear, it certainly was a challenging question. It was the kind of question an ordinary citizen might ask if he’s trying to decide which candidate to support. It was the kind of question candidates ought to hear. If McCain had strolled up to Wurzelbacher’s front lawn, Joe might have asked, “is Sarah Palin really ready on Day One to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency while we’re fighting two wars?”
Through absolutely no fault of his own, “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned 11 times during the debate (if I remember correctly from something I surfed past and can’t find right now). And what was the result?
Reporters camped out by his house overnight and by midmorning there were 21 people on his driveway surrounding him, holding cameras and notebooks.
Thought experiment: Is there any aspect of your life that you would prefer not to have to explain and defend to reporters on your driveway? Yes, I’m talking about that incident… that one, right there. [Me? I've got a whole menu of choices.]
Because of that incident, you know better than to run for President — or, if you’re running for President, you’ve had plenty of time to think about how to explain away that incident.
But it turns out that if you truly want to safeguard yourself and your family, you’d better not have the audacity to question The One.
Update from the Comments: SuDoNum said [in response to another commenter]… I am a small government, low tax, personal freedom/responsibility conservative. What this administration has done in the last 7 years is a travesty. Torturing US Citizens? You condone that under any circumstances? BS, I don’t care what crime you have or may have committed, if you are a US citizen you are entitled to all the rights provided under the Constitution.
It’s pointless to debate you. Arguing over the internet is an exercise in futility. My advice to you and all “conservatives” is quit making excuses for the impending avalanche. We are reaping what we sowed.
Chris said… Obama’s “spread the wealth around” slip still stands. Although Obama’s fans in the media and on forums worldwide tried to bury it with “Joe’s not a plumber and he doesn’t pay his taxes” tabloid fodder, that one comment keeps popping up, haunting the biggest socialist to have a good chance at the White House since FDR….
We already have too much socialism in our system. We don’t deserve to “reap” more, regardless of anything the current administration has done.