I am Joe the Plumber

I Am Joe

It seems to have caught on a bit.

First thing out of the gate, I’d like to copy a bit (well, almost the whole thing) of Iowahawk’s post on this:

We’ve all witnessed a lot of insanity in American politics over the last few years. Up until the last few days, none of it has seriously bothered me; hey, just more grist for the satire mill. But after witnessing the media’s blitzkreig on Joe ‘the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher, I can only muster anger, and no small amount of fear.

Politicians — Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, et al. —  obviously have to put up with some rude, nasty shit, but it’s  right there in the jobs description. Joe the Plumber is different. He was a guy tossing a football with his kid in the front yard of his $125,000 house when a politician picked him out as a prop for a 30 second newsbite for the cable news cameras. Joe simply had the temerity to speak truth (or, if you prefer, an uninformed opinion) to power, for which the politico-media axis apparently determined that he must be humiliated, harassed, smashed, destroyed. The viciousness and glee with which they set about the task ought to concern anyone who still cares about citizen participation, and freedom of speech, and all that old crap they taught in Civics class before politics turned into Narrative Deathrace 3000, and Web 2.0 turned into Berlin 1932.0.

Godwin’s Law! you say? if the jackboot fits, wear it.

If it’s meta-memes and meta-meta-narratives these media headlice want, so be it. I hope you will join me in expressing a simple bit of solidarity with this guy, Spartacus style. I AM JOE. I am a Wal Mart schlub in flyover country who changes my own oil and unclogs drains without a license. I smoke and drink beer and toss the football in the front yard with my kid, and I figure I can fend my way without handouts from some Magic Messiah’s candy bags. Most everyone in my family and most everyone I grew up with is another Joe, and if you screw with them, you screw with me.

Amen, brother.

Volokh Conspiracy:

I was stunned to see some document showing Joe the Plumbers’ tax problems on my 10pm (CT)newscast on the local NBC affiliate in Chicago on Thursday night. They have very little time for any national news and they actually spent time on Joe the Plumbers’ tax problems. Amazing!

But when an actual candidate — Barack Obama — released his tax returns, which on their face seemed to show an ethics violation of Illinois law, the press couldn’t care less.

Just to remind you, Illinois prohibits state legislators from taking speaking fees, and Barack reported “speaking fees.”


At a rally in Melbourne, Florida Friday evening, Senator McCain revealed he had called Joe Wurzelbacher.

“I talked to him this morning for the first time ever,” said McCain. “And I want to tell you his sprits [sic] are good and he’s a tough guy. He is what small business people all over this country are all about. They are tough and they are good and they want to get ahead and they want to keep their money.”

McCain did apologize to the Ohio resident for thrusting him into the media spotlight on the night of the debate according to McCain press secretary Brooke Buchanan.

Buchanan did say that the Arizona Senator invited Ohio’s most famous voter to meet up with the campaign but did not set up any specific stops.

Whether Joe is there in person or not, he is certainly a star at McCain events. …

And the crowd definitely seemed to be full of Joe supporters as well as John supporters, with people at the Melbourne rally were wearing tee shirts with a picture of a name tag on them that said, “My name is … Joe the Plumber” and holding signs about Joe like one on stage that said, “Joe’s dough, not Obama’s.”

But CNN’s Anderson Cooper is an idiot in this video.  He objects that Joe’s first name is really Sam and that he’s not a licensed plumber, so one CNN analyst he interviews call him ‘Sam the non-plumber’ and the other interviewees carry the joke.  Anderson notes Joe doesn’t make anywhere near $250,000 a year.  Never mind that Joe is actually employed as a plumber in an apprenticeship program, that a license isn’t required, and that Joe’s point was he wanted to buy a company that made $250,000 or so.  So Cooper is basically an idiot.  I wonder if Anderson Cooper is a licensed journalist?  If not, can we then call him Andy the non-journalist?

K. Daniel Glover at Video Done Right, in an excellent story on this:

Expect more of the same over coming days. In fact, don’t be surprised if all of those investigative reporters sent to Alaska after John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate suddenly get reassigned to the plumber beat in flyover country. Joe The Plumber must be discredited at all costs!

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

So what have we learned from this episode?

  1. Thou shalt not offend The One by asking him a question.  Of any kind.
  2. Anyone who questions The One will have to undergo a public pillorying of a kind unseen since the Red Scare, or perhaps the Inquisition.
  3. The Tanning-Bed Media will happily participate in any inquisition, as long as it keeps them from investigating irrelevant issues like Obama’s ties to the Chicago Machine, William Ayers, ACORN, or his record on protecting infanticide.

Don’t ask questions. Don’t check the records of people running for political office, but do check the records of those who dare violate Rule #1.  No dissent will be tolerated.  Our political and media masters have spoken.

I only ask one favor of the Left and the media: please keep this story alive for another three weeks.  I can’t wait to read Michelle’s column tomorrow.

Free Republic.

But, because Joe the Plumber, a regular every-day Amereican playing catch with his child on a middle class American street, trying to earn a living for his family, was honest about the impact of the Obama plans from his perspective, and because he did not drink the Obama kool-aid, the MSM, the DNC, and the Obama campaign now consider that hard working, well spoken, young man as the enemy.

The truth is that the left, the Obama campaign, the DNC, and the MSM will lie, fabricate, misquote, commit fruad, beg, borrow, or steal in their effort to slow down what is happening on the ground with the McCain campaign right now, and particularly with the likes of Joe and especially Sarah Palin who is burrowing underneath all of their hype and drawing 25-30,000 people at a time to her rallies and getting the message of hope and conservative values out.

Jill Zuckman at the Tribune’s Washington Bureau:

Sen. John McCain offered a vigorous defense of Joe the Plumber today, accusing Barack Obama’s campaign of “digging through his personal life” because he asked Obama a tough question.

“I think Senator Obama could use a few more tough questions,” McCain said.

Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber who questioned Obama about taxes in Holland, Ohio, turns out to owe back taxes and not hold a license for his plumbing work, according to news reports.

“The response from Senator Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe. People are digging through his personal life and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house,” McCain told a rowdy crowd at Florida International University. “He didn’t ask for Senator Obama to come to his house. He wasn’t recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Senator Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks.”

Good Morning America interviews Joe.

Copious Dissent has video of Bill Maher accusing Joe of racism.

Gateway Pundit links a YouTube video he says shows Joe’s reaction to the presidential debate, but YouTube says it’s no longer available.

Here’s a couple more Joe links, just for good measure:

Firefighter blog

Ace of Spades with an appropriate Photoshop.

11 comments so far

  1. Jesse Waite on

    Joe is really an ironic campaign pony for McCain to trot out, when the guy is really the subconscious enemy of the exact people to whom he is trying to appeal among the “working class” and “small business.” I understand that the McCain campaign simply wants an everyman symbol upon whom they can hang talking points about “socialism” (and thanks for making the exact point!), but something is really, seriously, and mind-bogglingly absent in the discussion about him. It shows just how ignorant and out of touch the McCain campaign has become, because do they even know how unpopular unlicensed contractors are among respectable, licensed, private contractors? Do they know of their horrendous reputation among clients as fraudulent, polluting, truant, tax-dodging, and lazy people? Sincerely. There is a reason that these guys don’t have licenses, and guess what, it’s not incidental! Typically it’s so they can evade taxes, not pay their workers fairly (typically illegal immigrants), to evade environmental restrictions (such as not dumping job waste on the freeway), and to dodge a host of ethics laws which small businesses have to abide. It’s funny because it shows that there is really no bottom to the self-defeating tactics of the McCain campaign. But it’s also a disappointing and searing reminder of how little the “anti-elite” elite knows about the middle and working class. WOW. Just WOW.

  2. lumpenscholar on

    Hi, Jesse. Joe isn’t an ‘unlicensed contractor.’ He’s an apprentice working for a licensed company. Since you’re so in touch with the working class, I’m sure you know the implications of that for your argument.

    Obama, on the other hand, is making fun of this, and he, Biden, CNN, and many others are lying about Joe’s situation.

    Also, McCain’s not hanging anything on Joe. From his interviews, Joe seems to be quite able to make his own points.

  3. Jesse Waite on

    Actually he does not have an apprenticeship, is not licensed, and has never registered with the plumbers union in his area, which is a requirement for members of the trade. Even if he was an apprentice, the word itself doesn’t mean anything official. A person could be considered an “apprentice” mechanic by learning to change a headlight. It basically means less than entry-level.

    But you’ve entirely missed my point. I live in Washington state, and I highly doubt that the conservative/republican, anti-regulationist Home Builder’s Association would make an exception for Joe-unlicensed-contractor, who hires illegals and takes a dump on business ethics and hire illegals. The fact that the Republicans haven’t figured out that their new poster boy is the antithesis of their “populist” rhetoric is yet another shining star on their banner of ignorance. Wow, look at it wave! I’m so distracted! But don’t ask me, I’ve only been involved with contracting since childhood, and come from a family of contractors. Sorry for being such an unqualified elitist bout that.

    Quite frankly, it’s frightening to hear the right frothing at the mouth indignantly and setting up philosophical claims of individualism and deregulation, when those exact policies have brought the entire country to the absolute precipice of an imminent economic implosion. Marxist/communist/socialist talking points are just a thinly veiled version of the exact same thing. Can we get back to the issues already? Senator Obama, I yield the floor…

  4. Ted on


  5. lumpenscholar on

    Jesse, you clearly have no idea about unions. My father went through an apprenticeship program to become a licensed tradesman during my youth and it IS a formal program of training. You are completely wrong about this point.

    Joe is going through that program, which is entirely ethical, and hence you have no point.

    Also, it’s not an economic implosion, it’s a financial implosion.

    I’m happy to talk about the issues any time you are, but for some reason you’re intent on smearing someone who dared to ask Obama a real question instead of dealing with real issues facing the nation.

  6. lumpenscholar on

    And while we’re at it, it’s the left that’s frothing at the mouth.

    Here’s a few examples.

    Here’s a few more.

  7. lumpenscholar on

    Hmmm, but on the other hand, the union is indeed claiming Joe is not a member, although he isn’t employing anyone, illegal or not.

    Oh, sorry, I’m so easily distracted from the real issue, which is that Obama is a socialist. Joe the Plumber won’t make a difference after November 4 because he’s not running for office. Obama is.

    BTW, here’s the union site with an explanation of the formal apprenticeship program.

  8. Jesse Waite on

    Dude, you’re not listening, but nonetheless you’re making my point: he ain’t a plumber. An apprenticeship can be half-formal, sure, but usually they are not, they are below journeyman/entry-level, and in either case, the AP has reported that Joe is not officially a part of that program. They are the equivalent of unpaid internships. Journeyman is a real, formal, and recognized position. But at that point, we’re both kinda dumb for bringing it to an argument as to what an apprentice is, because my point was really just to inform people how contractors (a conservative group, I can assure you) look down on unlicensed guys like Joe for unsavory business practices. Again, that’s conservatives. I only wanted to make the point about how a character like Joe actually looks like to people who would know him, and how McCain’s new T-shirt slinger is really an ironic selection for people who work in trades. It’s like a bad joke.

  9. lumpenscholar on

    No, Jesse, you’re not listening.

    Joe’s status is irrelevant. Joe asked Obama a question that got an answer McCain can use, so Joe must be destroyed. Obama’s going after him, the MSM is going after him, and they want destroy him in a literal case of ad hominem attack. That’s the point.

    To address your irrelevant point, the unions (including the one in question here) are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. They are hardly paragons of conservatism.

    And again, although it’s irrelevant to the argument, apprenticeships are a type of FORMAL training that leads to a journeyman’s license. I know exactly what I’m talking about on this issue and provided a link to the union website so you can read up on it.

    Here’s the union’s statement on apprenticeships:

    To join the UA without any prior experience, individuals enter a United Association five-year apprenticeship program …

    UA apprentices learn through both classroom and on-the-job training … The five-year apprenticeship period is divided into one-year segments, each of which includes 1,700 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 216 hours of related classroom instruction.

  10. Jesse Waite on

    Now we should both feel like idiots, because like you said, we’re splitting hairs over a private citizen, which you’re exactly right, borders on ad hominem. But that’s separate from Joe’s intended use by the McCain campaign as a foundationless springboard for launching the anti-socialism arguments that are sure to come next week. So wholly apart from that, I simply neglected to mention that the contractors who hold an overwhelming bit of disdain for Joe-unlicensed-contractor, are private contractors. A few of them, yes, work for the unions if they do more industrial work. Most of them however, the Builder’s Association in particular, are incredibly anti-union, especially here in Washington. These are the small, private business people who the McCain campaign is trying to portray themselves on the side of, when they have yet to realize that those very people (private, anti-union, conservative contractors) really look down on guys like a Joe Plumber. And I can’t stress enough that it is simply common knowledge in the contracting field, for the sake of conservatives’ knowledge because immigration is their talking point, that unlicensed contractors are specifically the guys down at Home Depot loading up their work vans with illegals every morning. That really is common knowledge. People don’t have licenses for very specific reasons, and that’s not a dig at Joe personally, it’s a known fact about unlicensed contractors. But you make very good points, and I thank you. But now it’s time to go do other things. Thanks again.

  11. lumpenscholar on

    Thanks for clarifying your point. Using Joe as a talking point is simply an opportunity for McCain, and I think it’s a good one for him to use because even if Joe himself doesn’t represent the contractors you are talking about, Joe’s point with Obama does. It’s those contractors who are likely to pay more under an Obama tax plan.

    Thanks for dropping by to talk. I certainly learned some things.

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