Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joe the Plumber Fakeroversy

In the final debate between the Presidential candidates (which really wasn't a "debate" at all. They should have called it "2 Minutes Each To Point And Blame.), one name was mentioned 25 times. It wasn't the name of either candidate. (No one ever says "Barry" once, let alone 25 times and, quite frankly, that's a shame.) It wasn't the name of any Federal program. It wasn't the name of any of the AIG money wasting bastards. It wasn't even Osama bin Laden. Nope, apparently there was one name that was more important to talk about more frequently than all of those other things I just mentioned. The oh-so important name? Joe the Plumber. Wait. What?

Joe the Plumber is the new nom de plume (or nom de plumb) of a one Joe Wurzelbacher of somewhere in Lucas County, Ohio. Joe somehow managed to get close enough to Obama during one of Barry's stops in Ohio and Joe managed to ask him about his tax plan. See, Joe's a smart guy. But he's not what people think of as the typical "smart guy". He's just Joe. And in reality, the reality that the candidates and every other political power monger out there wants to ignore, the majority of the "smart guys" are just like Joe. Regular people. Regular people who are not too dumb or too stupid to understand that we're not being told anything specifically. We're given bits and pieces of things and it's up to us to put it all together and figure out what it means. That's where the ignoring the average intelligence of the average Joe comes into play. Just assume that we're all morons and won't check up on anything and will just listen to how good you sound or how good you look and we'll vote that way. Yeah, 'cause we're morons. I got it.

And really, can you blame the politicians? First of all, no one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American people. And second, this is a country who elected a man named Tricky Dick. Twice.

So, according to the caucus-y bloggy folks over at the New York Times, Joe the Plumber says to Barry, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Well, that sounds direct. I'm sure then that he received a direct answer, right? Anyone? Anyone? Of course he didn't.

Barry's reply to an extremely reasonable question was “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." Do you Barry? Do you really? Of course you do. (By the way, he answer was long for "You betcha.") That's because you're a socialist. Here he comees to save the daaaayy!

See, it's fine for Barry to think that when wealth is spread around, everyone benefits. That's a perfectly valid thought/idealistic view to hold. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is the concept. Why is it that Barry gets to decide how I should spread my money around? When did this become a socialist nation? (If you tell me it's when we decided to let everyone and their burro walk into this country and then stay here and pay for it for them, I will respond by saying that it was a rhetorical question, as I am well aware of when/how this happened, senor.) It's MY money, why can't I decide where it goes?

But socialism doesn't work like that. No, socialism works under the concept that you, basically, work for the government. You make money, they take it from you. Then your income drops while those who are receiving your money see their income increase. It makes it more balanced, doncha know? Oh, but don't assume that those who are receiving your money are working just as hard as you are and just not making enough to make ends meet or whatever. No, it doesn't quite work like that in Barry's Socialist Utopia. No, your money could go to someone who is refusing to work because they can live on your money instead. Your money could go to someone who isn't even legally entitled to be in this country but is collecting money from the government anyway. Doesn't that sound great? Of course it doesn't; the eight of you reading this aren't idiots.

So do you think that the differing views on what is or what is not socialism were what was making headlines? So you think that people were wanting to know more about what Barry meant by "spreading the wealth around"? Well, you'd think they would and you'd think the media would cover it. But no. Instead, what do we get? We get stories like the one at the New York Times which is titled "Real Deal on 'Joe the Plumber' Reveals New Slant". OOooohhhh!!! Doesn't that sound sinister and like something we should all pay attention to? Maybe, but we shouldn't. Because it's not.

These are some of the things that the New York Times felt were important enough to point out and make an issue of more than Joe the Plumber's question to Barry:

  • His name isn't Joe. That's right. It's Samuel. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. And he goes by "Joe". The horror! How is that a big deal to anyone? Do those folks not understand the concept of the middle name in and of itself? The middle name is specifically for naming your children in a way that either a) Allows you to name them after a person who you like, but who's name you don't, and never have to call them by that name, or b) Allows you to name them with a name you do like (at least better than the first name) so that you can call them by that and not the name you don't like. It's an out, is what it is. Gotta name your boy after Uncle Sherman? Miles Sherman Jones it is! Gotta name your daughter after Auntie Mergatroid? That's when your baby girl becomes M. Hannah Jones. Sherman and Mergatroid live happily ever after and so do your children.

  • He's not a plumber. That's right. He does plumbing, but he's not a plumber. He's a plumber's apprentice. (Oh, good Lord. Potato, potatoh. Whatever.) Apparently that's a sticking point if you're the New York Times. Look, the point is, he has a job. Actually, no, that's not the point. The point is that he asked a valid question. It doesn't matter if he's a naked fire juggler (OK, it matters a little bit, because I'd really like to see someone doing that and asking a candidate a question! But I digress.), the question was perfectly valid. And Barry, as Barry is known to do ("known" to those of us who pay attention to what he says whilst others are swooning at being in the very presence of said Messiah.) he just skirted around the issue and made it sound like a good thing. And I'm sure it is good. If you're not the one getting stuck with higher taxes.

  • He wasn't really about to buy a plumbing business. Not tomorrow anyway. It's something he's been thinking about and I for one am shocked, just shocked, that someone would put an ounce of thought into their plan to see how taxes would figure in when they want to purchase, start up and open their own business. Shocking, I tell you! I guess he should just not ask questions like that and then, after he's all opened up (through the borrowing of capital) and realizes he can't afford the run the business with it's higher taxes, just declares bankruptcy or whatever and closes down and calls it a loss. What a novel idea. Look, if he wanted to do something like that he would have gotten into a sub-prime mortgage and bought a mansion in the foothills.

  • He owes taxes. The New York Times article tells us that, "According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,100. One, with a hospital, has been settled, but a tax lien with the State of Ohio is still outstanding." I do not know the significance of "each over $1,100." Who cares? But here's what I really don't get: Why hasn't McCain jumped on this? Why hasn't he said that Joe the Plumber and people like Joe (even those without their occupation after their name) are concerned about what Barry's plan is going to do to their taxes because they can't even pay the ones they have now (apparently). Why have I not heard that? What? Because he owes taxes he can't ask if his taxes are going to be higher under a particular candidates plan? Spare me. It might make his question even more valid.

But do you hear anyone other than myself complaining about this coverage? Well, other than myself and Joe the Plumber? No, of course not. And that's because no one ever won an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American voter, that is correct. Excellent points to seize on and where is McCain? I don't know, maybe trying to decide which Early Bird Special to have? McCain is losing and he's losing by more and more every second. If he doesn't stop watching surfing cat videos on YouTube or whatever he's spending his time doing and start blathering about things that make a difference to regular people, he's going to continue to lose all the way up until he's lost the election. When he's out there talking to the throngs of senior citizens who gave up their shuffleboard games for the day to listen to him speak, he needs to talk to them and answer their questions as if he's talking to Joe the Plumber and answering his question.

Explain socialism. Explain how spreading the wealth is not always good. Go all Ross Perot if you have to and break out some charts! (Hey, that might sound kind of nutty, but that little jug-eared lunatic garnered 19% of the vote in 1992. Charts are good. Talk to us like we're five...only don't bend down. We're right here!) Use Joe the Plumber to your advantage. Pull up those saggy pants and hide that crack so people can start focusing on what the real question was and what the real issue is rather than the distraction (ie, the crack). Because while the distractions are fun at first, after it's over, you kind of feel like you need a shower. Just like after seeing the crack.

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