Killing the messenger: Out for Joe’s blood

Predictably enough, the Associated Press and similar outlets have declared war on Joe Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the Plumber,” AKA the guy who dared ask Barack Obama an uncomfortable question when people were watching.

Questions have been brought to light about Wurzelbacher’s status as a plumber, his tax returns, his income, his voting history, and the size of the business he wants to buy.  The New York Times had a whole medley of sinister tales from the underbelly of the Wurzelbacher household in yesterday’s edition.  Joe himself has come under more scrutiny in the last two or three days than the press has bothered to exercise on Sen. Obama for two years.  All the result of a question Joe had the temerity to ask Obama before the senator could set up his TelePrompTer and focus-group the potential answers.

The Associated Press and its cohorts have missed the story yet again; they can villainize “Joe the Plumber” to their hearts’ content, but Obama’s response to him in Ohio still has a life of its own.

Looking back, Obama’s off-the-cuff answer to Joe’s worry that his taxes would rise under Obama’s tax plan is one he would doubtless like to “revise and extend.”  The senator slipped smoothly into professor mode and lectured the t-shirt-wearing “average guy” archetype in front of him on the virtues of “spreading the wealth around” through hideously lopsided taxation.  If Obama didn’t know it then, he surely has learned now that a blue-collar worker trying to pull his way up the economic ladder by the sweat of his own brow is probably not the ideal audience for a high-flying ode to the virtues of redistributionism.

The aftermath of Obama’s gaffe was the last thing he needed in the last 24 hours before the final debate.  Joemania — and I don’t mean Obama’s running mate — was front and center at Hofstra University as each candidate fought to yank away the mantle of “Champion of Joe the Plumber” (the man does have a last name, guys, by the way).  John McCain seemed to wear that mantle much more comfortably, as Obama spent most of his Joe-wooing time trying to persuade the audience that he didn’t really tell Joe what the videocamera says he told him in Ohio.  The post-debate consensus that McCain came across as Joe’s better bet of the two was confirmed in the new effort to discredit Joe Wurzelbacher as…well, it’s hard to tell, but the point appears to be that Joe’s question doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t have been asked, or something.

Lost in all of this new personal infodumping about Evil Joe Barackbane is the substance of his original conversation with Obama.  Here’s the thing:  what hurt Obama about that conversation isn’t who Joe is; it’s what Obama told him. His “spreading the wealth around” comment provided a rare insight into Obama’s feelings about the role of government in directing the economy and the relationship of the government to private citizens who work for a living.  Overtaxing businesses and individuals for the purpose of passing on the proceeds to the less fortunate, executed on a governmental scale, is a recipe for economic disaster.  It’s been demonstrated in the past, and it’s part of long-established American conventional wisdom.

The ominous “spreading the wealth” rhetoric was the weapon McCain brought to the debate against Obama, not “Joe the Plumber,” which was no more than a pleasing marketing package.  Tearing down Joe Wurzelbacher doesn’t change a thing about that unscripted glimpse into Obama’s fascination with redistributionist economic doctrine.  In fact, the tarnishing of the “Joe the Plumber” brand will force McCain to rely more on the phrase “spreading the wealth around,” which goes more to the heart of why the home video of that exchange in Ohio went viral so quickly and led to so many second looks at Barack Obama.

It’s not about who likes “Joe the Plumber.”  It’s about who supports the government’s “spreading the wealth around.”

UPDATE: Captain Ed has more insight on the perils of questioning The Anointed.  Miz Michelle christens “Operation Destroy Joe the Plumber” (I’m a little disappointed…she couldn’t have come up with something better?  Operation Rip Out the Pipes?  Operation Plumbing New Depths?  Operation Kitchen Sink?  You’ve got gold here, Michelle, c’mon…)

UPDATE II: Oh, good gawd.  Daily Kos and other leftward blogs (none of whom I’ll dignify with a link) are soiling themselves over unconfirmed reports that some relative of Joe Wurzelbacher’s is Charles Keating’s son-in-law and a GOP donor.  (Joe’s reported response: “I don’t know anything about that.”)  So what would this mean?  That Obama worked his way along a rope line and picked himself a McCain plant for a question?

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14 thoughts on “Killing the messenger: Out for Joe’s blood

  1. thinkfuture

    If you ask me – these attacks totally backfire. He owes back taxes: who doesn’t. He doesn’t have a license, why do you need a slip of paper from the government to prove that you are a competent skilled professional?

  2. Ronnie

    If Joe the plumber was feeling the pressure, then he didn’t have to do the interviews. He is just another
    sucker taking advantage of the situation to make a buck. Wait and see, there will be money to be made. Maybe he will pay his taxes with it.

    PAY UP OR SHUT UP.

  3. Granma

    I am not a blogger. I am a registered Democrat. I will vote Republican this election day because I AM AN AMERICAN,I believe America is based on the Christian relegion, we have strayed but we are not Socialist! I think Joe Wurzelbacher (Plummer) is a true example of a hard working American that has made a difference in his life and in many others. I watched the interview on TV Thursday and wish there were more people like him. Regular JOE’s.

  4. milton garin

    PLACE THE BLAME FOR JOE THE PLUMBER PROBLEMS WITH PRESS AND OTHER PUBLICITY MEDIA SQUARELY WHERE IT BELONGS. MCCSAIN MADE HIM A MAJOR TOPIC IN THE DEBATE REPEATING HIS NAME LORDS KNOWS HOW MANY TIMES MAKING HIM AND WHAT HE SAYS SUBJECT TO THE UNFORTUNITE SCRUTINY

  5. Jessie

    Commenting on why the media is invading Joe the plumbers privacy, could it be that McCain brought him into the spot light. Not only that, but he almost made the plumber the center of his debate last Wednesday.
    It is only logical to investigate an other wise unknown individual who will play a big role in what is left of McCains campaign. While Ayers has been brought up by the Republicans to attack Obama, obviously there is not much to report there if the media trucks have not arrived, now is there.

  6. PAUL COYLE

    JOE THE PLUMBER WILL NEVER HAVE HIS OWN PLUMBING BUSINESS. I DON’T THINK HE’S SMART ENOUGH. NO LICENSE, NO STATE REQUIRED APPRENTICESHIP. TAXES HAVE GOT TO START SOMEWHERE. IF JOE THE PLUMBER WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS. AND WORKED THE WAY HE SAID HE DID, 10 TO 12 HOURS A DAY,7 DAYS A WEEK, AND ON TOP OF THAT TAKEN CARE OF A KID. WHY DIDN’T HE COMPLAIN ABOUT THE OVERTIME TAXES HE MUST HAVE BEEN PAYING FOR YEARS UNDER MOSTLY REPUBLICAN CONTROL. AND WHEN IN THE HELL DOES HE GET TIME TO TAKE CARE OF HIS KID, ESPECIALLY ON THE WEEKENDS. MUST BE A WORK-A-HOLIC, AND NOT A PARENT-A-HOLIC.

  7. Louise

    Go Joe the leftist is afraid of you. They know that you told the truth and they want to hurt you. All of us LITTLE are with you all the way. McCain will fight for you. Obama wants to hurt you because you told the truth. Joe you are the one to speak for us about the truth. You and I both know that McCain will fight for you and us. Obama’s group is out to ruin the United State. I am 62 yrs old and never in my life have I ever heard such terrible things said out of one man’s mouth.(Obama) needs to go back were he came from.

  8. TOM

    Lets see Obama and Ayres went thru 50 or 60 million dollar grant to radicalize children in the inter city ghetto of Chicago and the result was very negible at best. Suggest someone assists Joe the Plumber to obtain a business start up grant of say 500,000 which will include the cost of obtaining a certificate in heating and airconditioning, and appropriate small business classes on records keeping and filing taxes. The 500,000 figure would be appropriate because of start up costs to include equipment, leasing a small warehouse compund, advertizing and hiring one or two helpers and he needs to copyright his name “Joe the Plumber”…..someone should ask Senator Obama when he found out about Joe’s real situation in life why did he allow a smear campaign instead of assisting Joe in obtaining his plumber’s dream…. Apparently Mr Obama is into self image of the “Messiah” his way and isnt in tune with real life no wonder those kids in Chicago suffered his rhetoric of how great he is.

  9. bevans623

    C’mon… McCain is going to “spread the wealth around” just as much as Obama! He’ll just spread it to different people. Look at us, we’re criticizing these plans and choosing a candidate over $100 a month. Why not think bigger? Joe Plumber should have asked Obama and McCain why the Federal Government needs to take a quarter to a third of the fruits of our labor in the first place! The two parties have morphed into one, big government, pro-business, nation building monster. The only way to stop it is to start thinking bigger! We need smaller government, less taxes, no nation building and restored freedom and liberty. Any true Republican should be supporting one man and one man only, Dr. Ron Paul. So let’s stop bickering over petty issues and start trying to really return this country to what the founding fathers meant it to be.

  10. Beverly Bauer

    WE ARE REALLY MAD! I think Joe should be left out of the picture. He has been insulted and humiliated enough.I think it was all about Joe the plumber speaking up to ask a question about how he would be taxed under Barack Obama new tax proposal. Simple question turn in to a nightmare for him and his family. We will see how Barack Obama takes it about spreading his wealth under his own tax package, (IF) he gets elected.I am sure he lost some votes the way he has insulted Joe, the plumber. I know he lost my vote! REMEMBER, BARACK, IF YOU CAN’T TAKE THE HEAT FROM LEGAL REGISTERED VOTERS, STAY OUT OF THE ELECTION POLLS!

  11. Joseph

    I love reading the rediculous comments on the FAUX NEWS SITE. Like the democrat who is writing that she just cant vote for Obama on a FAUX NEWS SITE and is rooting for Mc Cain….you could only find that person here.

  12. Charlie Post author

    @Joseph:

    I take it that, by “faux-news site,” you mean WitSnapper? I dunno if you read the sign on the way in, but I got a big ol’ faux-news flash for you, Joseph ol’ buddy: this is a freakin’ blog.

    If you want straight news without commentary, follow the links, which go to either straight news stories or other blogs with links that go to straight news stories. That’s what they’re for.

    By the way, another flash for you: this ain’t the only place you’ll find Democrats for McCain. The fact that Obama still hasn’t sealed the deal, even with a gale-force wind at his back, would convince any thinking person of that fact.

    In the meantime, you and all other commenters get one warning before banning: no personal attacks. That includes accusations of sock-puppetry without evidence; you don’t insinuate that other commenters aren’t who they say they are without evidence. Screening out the bad commenters is my job, not yours.

  13. Pingback: Rally featuring Tito the Truck Driver « WitSnapper | The Blog

  14. Rindercella

    I love that Obama made the same “wealth redistribution” case in 2005. That video goes into greater length for him to state his case. This is not American. Sadly – it seems that the Obamanation is well aware of his desire and is all for it. Please vote McCain/Palin and stop this crap! Joe only asked a question ….

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