Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 31, 2008

MCCAIN'S 'ROLE MODEL'.... This presidential campaign has featured more than its share of absurdities, but the McCain campaign using Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher as some kind of mascot has been one of the most inane.

Yesterday, this became farcical.

On Thursday, [Wurzelbacher] had a candidate for president calling for him at a rally where he was not present. At the next John McCain rally, he got to offer a civics lesson to the crowd about how they should educate themselves before voting. Then, at the final rally of the day, he had a crowd chanting his name. OK, they weren't chanting his real name, Joe Wurzelbacher. They were chanting, of course, "Joe-the-plumb-er!" in the same rhythm usually reserved for sporting events.

If that wasn't enough, McCain introduced Wurzelbacher as "an American hero, a great citizen of Ohio and my role model."

On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher endorsed the insane idea that a vote for Obama would be "a vote for the death of Israel." On Wednesday, Wurzelbacher played political scientist, saying the notion of progressive taxation is "honestly right out of Karl Marx's mouth. No one can debate that. That's not my opinion. That's fact."

And on Thursday, McCain believes Wurzelbacher is an "American hero" and his personal "role model."

As John Cole concluded the other day, "The McCain campaign is now a surrealist farce. Or maybe I meant surrealist force."

Steve Benen 10:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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The idea that this man can win having waged this type of campaign is absolutely beyond comprehension.

If voting only ensured he'd not be president and the congress be won.

Posted by: TBone on October 31, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently real American Heroes don't pay their taxes.

Posted by: dk on October 31, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Like I said yesterday, McCain has officially gone down the rabbit hole. Maybe someone dropped some acid into his Metamucil, who knows.

The scary thing is, watching several MSM cable news outlets over the past few days, especially Scarborough's morning show, it's been nothing but the McCain show.

Every damn channel I turn to, the shamed, discredited republicans still have a 3-1 voice.

I'm still confident, but if the last few days are any indication, this race will be a close one. That's flabbergasting to me, but hey, it's the good 'ole U.S. of A.

Posted by: on October 31, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Now just imagine if Obama had said something like this. Might the play-out be different?

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on October 31, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Wurzelbacher played political scientist, saying the notion of progressive taxation is 'honestly right out of Karl Marx's mouth. No one can debate that. That's not my opinion. That's fact.'"

Decades before Karl Marx was born, Adam Smith advocated for progressive taxation in The Wealth of Nations. No one can debate that. That's not my opinion. That's fact.

Pass it on.

Posted by: CJ on October 31, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

If this were all a game of "Clue", the solution to the murder of the character named Rev. Reality would be "Wurzelbacher, on the campaign trail, with the lead pipe".

Posted by: Richard Greenslade on October 31, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

McCain's traveling freakshow -- and here I include Palin in the early days, McCain's omnipresent wife, Cindy, who seems to have been court-ordered to stand no more than three feet from McCain, and always on camera, and now Joe The Plumber -- is beyond insane. Somewhere, somehow, everything that everybody ever thought they knew about politics in the Republican party was replaced with the kind of marketing weasel idiocy that made the Gong Show famous.

Epic fail.

Posted by: The Phantom on October 31, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Role model? John McCain's role model is a skinhead, pull-string doll who mindlessly reels off talking points culled from AM radio?

I have nothing against Joe the Plumber. There are far too many uniformed people, who are all too happy to tell you how they see the world, to make an issue of him. But McCain now elevates him to a role model? What's next? A spot in McCain's cabinet? Secretary of Labor, perhaps? Given the expertise of his VP pick, it seems like a reasonable question.

Posted by: JoeW on October 31, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Is there anything more absurd than this fascination with this Joe the effin Plumber? I am not an advocate of random violence but would someone please break this moron's jaw?

Posted by: on October 31, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Is there anything more absurd than this fascination with this Joe the effin Plumber? I am not an advocate of random violence but would someone please break this moron's jaw?

Posted by: ATXDem on October 31, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

progressive taxation is "honestly right out of Karl Marx's mouth. No one can debate that.

He's right. Most people realized a long time ago that you can't debate with a lame-brain.

Posted by: tomeck on October 31, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Who the fuck is Joe the Plumber? Isn't his 15 minutes of fame up yet, I truly don't get it. He's just some "Joe" that confronted Obama on the stump, big deal. He's clearly a rabid rightwinger with his no progressive tax, no Soc Security, close the borders, and "we took the fight to 'em in Iraq mindset. How is he a "symbol" for McCain at all? He doesn't make over 200K, does not own a small business (and if he did, I don't see how Obama's plan hurts him). Did I not read that Joe grew up in a poor, split family home on welfare until they pulled themselves out of it? Sounds like that dreaded liberalism helped him out - he seems more a symbol of Obama's America

So a guy who doesn't pay his taxes is McCain's role model and an American hero? WTF?

More "up-is-down" from John McCain.

Posted by: ckelly on October 31, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

So he thinks Teddy Roosevelt (not to mention Reagan and W.) are pinkos, and we currently live in a communist state!

Paul Krugman decried the GOP as "the party of stupid". About two months later he wins the Noble Prize. This is not a coincidence.

By the way, have we ever figured out if JTP is related to Charles Keating or not? I still haven't seen anything conclusive on this one way or the other.

Posted by: Bill in Chicago on October 31, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to coin a new word. "Ignorist."

An ignorist is one who exhibits prejudice against someone who is ignorant. An ignorist also exploits the ignorance of a person or group of people for his or her own personal gain. One who is an ignorist practices ignorism.

By hoisting up Joe the Plumber, John McCain is playing the ignorance card. He is exploiting Joe in an ignorist fashion, stoking the flames of ignorism in an effort to make all the ignorant people in our country vote for him.

I think it's shameful. But then again, Obama has certainly played the intelligence card often enough.

Posted by: chrenson on October 31, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm an American hero. I actually show up.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 31, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Surrealism is a farce that gives us un-meaning.

Posted by: Grumpy on October 31, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

This campaign is a ballot initicative on the other S word--Stupidism.

http://medicynic.com/

Posted by: Cycledoc on October 31, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Is there anything more absurd than this fascination with this Joe the effin Plumber?

The fascination doesn't surprise me at all. In a world of sales managers and human resources coordinators, and subdivisions called "Happy Valley" that aren't anywhere near a valley, we are fascinated with the though of something "authentic." Being a plumber is regarded as "authentic work" that every understands. A tall bald guy who bitches about taxes is the sort of person we tend to think plumbers are like. We are desperate for these symbols of authenticity because so much of our lives seems fake.

The fact that Joe the Plumber isn't a licensed plumber and doesn't own a business makes the fascination with his putative authenticity all the more hilarious.

Posted by: Tyro on October 31, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

One thing McCain's campaign has made clear: there are a lot of really stupid people in this country.

Posted by: AJB on October 31, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Every damn channel I turn to, the shamed, discredited republicans still have a 3-1 voice."
I thought the same...the MSM seems determined that it "is" going to be a horserace. They will have trouble with ratings when the blue sweeps the map @ 8:01. As always , they are only in it for the money and anyone who thinks different is a fool.

Posted by: John R on October 31, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that this election is even as remotely close as it is, is testament to the GOP marketing wing and enablers in the media.

Seriously, this like Lewis Black(?) saying that you have a choice between a chicken dinner and plate of dogshit studded with broken glass and asking, "how's the chicken prepared?"

Posted by: ChrisS on October 31, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Wurzelbacher played political scientist, saying the notion of progressive taxation is "honestly right out of Karl Marx's mouth. No one can debate that. That's not my opinion. That's fact."

Aha! "Joe the Plumber" is former WaMo troll "conspiracy nut"!

Posted by: Gregory on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Now just imagine if Obama had said something like this. Might the play-out be different?"
"Every damn channel I turn to, the shamed, discredited republicans still have a 3-1 voice."

The MSM has completely different rules for each candidate. McAce is no longer even sorta called on his bullshit, his props are all dutifully covered by soundbites, and facts (like needing to bus in 4,000 kids to fill his rally) are conspicuously absent.

Posted by: Jim on October 31, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

If we end up with a McCain/Palin presidency (God forbid) we can expect Joe the plumber as our Secratary of Labor or maybe even Sec. of State since he knows that a votefor Obama means death to Israel.
I can not believe how stupid McCain thinks we all are. Of course there are enough kool-aid drinking bottom feeders out there to make McCain think all middle class Americans are dumber than rocks and will believe any bull%$#* he feeds us. Please people get out and VOTE do not leave anything to chance this year. We can not let them steal another election if this thing is close.

Posted by: redrover on October 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, this like Lewis Black(?) saying that you have a choice between a chicken dinner and plate of dogshit studded with broken glass and asking, "how's the chicken prepared?" -- that was David Sedaris. The whole column (hilarious as always) is on The New Yorker's web site.

If Sarah Palin is who McCain looks to for compensating for his lack of economic understanding, it's no wonder that Joe is his role model. Just another uninformed hick/hack (both seem to work) to hitch his cart to.

I can't believe this election is anywhere near close, but you can always count on the uninformed to show up to vote (or at least respond to polls).

Posted by: LP on October 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

redrover has it close, but here's a better story line: Palin gets dropped from the ticket this weekend, and suddently McCain will have a "Joe the Running Mate" of his own...

Posted by: MarkC on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

McCain's role models for anything are deeply suspect. I suppose his idea of a 'model' de-mock-racy is one where you find large scale 'caging lists' of (primarily) African-Americans who are scrubbed from the voter roles simply because their names are similar to some convicted felon who lives somewhere/anywhere in the USA. (See Florida 2000, see Ohio 2004, get ready for 2008, gregpalast.com). Disgusting. Sinister. Un-American. All voter suppression and fraud that benefits the repigs is welcome. Groups that help the disenfranchised, help the poor heat their homes, try to ensure safer schools, protect renters from slumlords, and help register voters (see ACORN)are nasty America haters who want to kill democracy. For goddess sake, Obama has got to win.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on October 31, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

can't believe this election is anywhere near close, but you can always count on the uninformed to show up to vote (or at least respond to polls).
Posted by: LP on October 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

It is scarier than that.
I saw this historian on business television last night and he pointed that in any other of the Western Democracies, if a party had done what the republican party had done, with the war, the economy and other incompetencies, well, their support would be in the low 20s high teens, it would be implosion time. Instead the GOP is at 45% nationally. So what is going on? And his consclusion was that America has always had a faction that votes on faith rather than facts, and that these people are concentrated on the right in the republican party. At other times in Ameican history this faith faction has been on the left, but with growing strength since the Presidency of FDR, these 'faith based conservatives' have grown in the republican party.

And that is kind of leathal to a Democracy. Beacause one faction will not always be right and you need alternation between parties, but if one side is working in a non-factual faith based universe... well then you're gonna have wars based on lies, drowned cities, falling bridges, down down down without any accountability or course correction.

That my friends is a menace the Great Republic can not afford. Pray that the crazyfication factor in the GOP drops or that the Dems hold Washington until they do.

Posted by: Northern Observer on October 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Please people get out and VOTE do not leave anything to chance this year. We can not let them steal another election if this thing is close.
Posted by: redrover on October 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK
***************************

Please, please, vote yes, but not only vote, get out and volunteer. We need you. Look for your local field office on the Campaign for Change website and GET OUT THERE. Call. Canvass. Get out the vote. Without you, we can't do it.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on October 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Aha! "Joe the Plumber" is former WaMo troll "conspiracy nut"!

There's a trip back in time.

I've always thought the Dems should reign in their politics of personal attack and just let Palin and now Joe T. Plumber do their thing. This should have been two Harriet Miers moments, where Dems showed surprising restraint and just let the repubs look silly. The only thing keeping the right from being embarrassed is they are too busy rallying to defend the P's from foam-flecked liberal attacks.

Posted by: SJRSM on October 31, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Come on, people! Joe lived in Alaska for four years. Connect the dots....

Posted by: bigapplegeorgiapeach on October 31, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Gregor: I actually thought TBroszzzzz might be Joe the Plumber for a while there. But Joe only pretends to be a plumber and not a rocket scientist.

Posted by: Sparko on October 31, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Hero"

Is there a more devalued word in our vocabulary?

Posted by: on October 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

The party is so desparate, that it latches onto little known people to represent their incoherent message. Then, it's so confusing, that some people think there is one, and while in the habit of being a Republican, they find an excuse to continue. It's impossible to shake that "R" from their mentality. I think it finds them feeling guilty to quit the party, the way I felt when I first stopped going to church.

Posted by: beans on October 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

He's McCain's ubermensch. It's painfully obvious.

Has anyone sought out the new reports from Ridgeway yet? This shit needs to be flushed from America ASAP.

Posted by: on October 31, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Paul Krugman decried the GOP as "the party of stupid". About two months later he wins the Noble Prize. This is not a coincidence.

****************************

Yes, and just consider all those fucking repiglican automatons showing up at McEvil's 'rallies', or Mrs 666 his running mate, like his 'role model' joe the asshole, and cheering and yelling their approval when informed that by supporting this evil duo that THEY WILL ACTUALLY PAY MORE TAXES AND RECEIVE LESS TAX RELIEF under McEVil's policies than Obama's. Actually cheering this fact .. that is , indeed, the definition of STUPID .. cheering against their own self interest ... cheering AGAINST policies THAT WOULD BENEFIT THEM .. my god ..

Posted by: stormskies on October 31, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"MSM cable news outlets over the past few days, ..., it's been nothing but the McCain show."

Nearly all the CNN 'Campaign' headlines have been Palin or McCain for the last several weeks.

Obama who?

Americans have a lot of work to do to regain control of their own country.

Posted by: Buford on October 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I saw a clip from one of the McCain rallies yesterday (it might have been the one where JTP no-showed), where he asked to the crowd to give him a round of applause to "thank him for all he's done for America".

That might possibly be the dumbest thing ever uttered in a presidential campaign speech. Made me wish this election was a 'loser-leaves-town' match where after McCain gets spanked on Tuesday, he has to move to another country. Jeez, what a tool.


Posted by: CT on October 31, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

If this were all a game of "Clue", the solution to the murder of the character named Rev. Reality would be "Wurzelbacher, on the campaign trail, with the lead pipe".

Outstanding.

Posted by: shortstop on October 31, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

The Communist Manifesto does call for "[a] heavy progressive or graduated income tax." So he's not wrong on that item.

Of course, it also demands "[e]qual liability of all to work." What, no more welfare queens? It's positively Reaganesque!

Posted by: Forrest on October 31, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

In my second childhood, which is fast approaching, I want to be a single father and unlicensed plumber. And have a big bald head.

Posted by: John McCain on October 31, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

The income tax in this country was established by constitutional amendment. According to ignorant tools like "Joe" the "Plumber", the U.S. Constitution is "marxist".
And every president and congress since the beginning of the income tax has maintained its progressive nature--all a bunch of marxists I guess.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on October 31, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I saw a clip from one of the McCain rallies yesterday (it might have been the one where JTP no-showed), where he asked to the crowd to give him a round of applause to "thank him for all he's done for America". Posted by: CT

I understand that regardless of what happens on Tuesday, McCain is lobbying hard for him for a Nobel. At the very least, I understand he's nominating him for a Fulbright and a MacArthur Genius grant.

Apparently, "Joe" has been looking into, but is keeping under wraps, the possibility that there is a fourth thing that plumbers must know beyond the trinity of shit flows downhill, don't chew your finger nails, and pay day is on Friday.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 31, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I can't tell you how appalled I am with 45% of America right now.

I know only a small amount of them are REALLY fascinated with (Sam)-Joe the (notta)plumber, either as a man or as some sort of icon of what a "Real American" is.

I know a larger percentage of them are diehard Republicans who will walk off a cliff if that's what the party elders tell them to, so if the party elders tell them (Sam)-Joe the (notta)plumber is supposed to be hailed, they will hail until Joe goes away or the party elders tell them to stop. They are conditioned like Pavlov's dogs and if he were to be caught in bed with a life-sized cutout of Miley Cyrus, they would still find a way to worship him (I mean, hey, who hasn't fantasized about Billy Ray bein' their daddy 'n law?).

And I know that the largest percentage just see (Sam)Joe the (notta)plumber as an excuse to piss off the Democrats. It's kinda like being back in high school and they're egging on the one kid that won't sit in his seat during an assembly. The fact that this dopey kid is only serving to piss off the teachers and school administrators (you know, the responsible ones, the ones who assumed authority) just makes the cheering that much louder, and makes the a-hole much less likely to go away any time soon.

Put it all together, you've got the roughly 45% that's swinging McCain's way, ignorant and proud of it, happy to vote aginst their best interests because what the hell, Joe's doing it, and I'm just like Joe! McCain TOLD me I was!

Unfortunately not all of these people will have the appropriate epiphany, and fewer still will have it before Election Day, and it will be the rare one who will admit it in public. But I'd hate to be on the other side of the mirror the day one of them looks in and says "Holy s***, I screamed my head off for a guy who's a complete and total failure. He didn't pay his taxes, he didn't know what he was talking about, he lied to a presidential candidate about his job and his intentions and how that candidates policies would affect him...and he only did it to try to make the politician look bad...and instead HE looked bad...and I still screamed for him! I was told by John McCain to think of this man as a hero, so I did. I'm a tool. I'm a total tool."

Like I said, I'd hate to be that mirror, because once someone blows their brains out all over you, you have like no resale value.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 31, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP 2012 ticket: Sarah Palin and Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher

The perfect capitulation to the complete lack of substantial policy in the GOP. Just put forward a stupid face and grab all the money you can.

Posted by: mroberts on October 31, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

If you loudmouthed lefties and half the Republican party had just kept it zipped, the fringe right would have gone through its usual calm, reasoned analysis and decided that Palin and Joe T. Plumber weren't all that. But you had to go and poke people in their cognitive dissonance. Get ready for Vice President Palin. Serves you right. Heh.

Posted by: SJRSN on October 31, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Fulbright and/or MacArthur"

Nah, but, he would like to waive age requirements, shove him through OCS and fast track him to take command of CENTCOM. Geez, Sam will finally get to play GI-Joe. Wonder where Sam was when he actually could have been a real one?

Posted by: berttheclock on October 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody else note that Wurzelbacher's "role model" is Detective Vic Mackey, from "The Shield"?? How appropriate: a corrupt cop who breaks every rule and law and has himself convinced he's the hero who's doing the right thing.

Posted by: TCinLA on October 31, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody else note that Wurzelbacher's "role model" is Detective Vic Mackey, from "The Shield"?

One fictional character choosing another fictional character as a role model...How very meta...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 31, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

McCain had to find a new role model since he discovered Teddy Roosevelt supported progressive taxation.

Posted by: JWK on October 31, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think one of the weirdest aspects of McCain holding Wurzelbacher as a hero is "Joe" has an open warrant in Arizona.

Local man says he hopes voters find their own answers


...
On Friday, the East Valley/Scottsdale Tribune in Arizona reported that Mr. Wurzelbacher's Arizona driver's license was suspended in May, 2000, following nonpayment of a court-imposed fine for civil traffic violations. He lived in Arizona from 1997-2000.
...

It's just bizarre.

Posted by: gaardvark on October 31, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Joe is all subliminal optics. The Repubs needed to put a physically strong man onstage in their campaign for president.

Posted by: putnam on October 31, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I saw this historian on business television last night and he pointed that in any other of the Western Democracies, if a party had done what the republican party had done, with the war, the economy and other incompetencies, well, their support would be in the low 20s high teens, it would be implosion time.
Posted by: Northern Observer

In any of the other Democracies, their parlimentary systems would have called for a vote of no confidence and sent them packing!

Posted by: LexLurker on October 31, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

If only Jean Baudrillard were still alive...
(JTP is a marvelous example of what Baudrillard would call a simulacrum - a manufactured image that becomes more real than reality.)
Seriously - it's amazing how much people like Foucault, Baudrillard, and even (to a lesser extent) Lacan have to say that helps explain this whole electoral process.

Posted by: The Sophist on October 31, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

No offense, Sophist, but you don't need a bunch of dead furners to contextualize electioneering bullshit. We all have had our Annie Hall moments, but this is well below that threshold.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 31, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

If you wanted to purposely throw an election, could it be done any better than this?

Could it be done as well as this?

Posted by: Zli on October 31, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"MSM cable news outlets over the past few days, ..., it's been nothing but the McCain show." McCain is calling in favors since he is running out of money.

As for JTP, we lefties who value intellectualism and facts will never get the people who fall for this. I had a pastor once, whose taxes I did. He was poor as the proverbial church mouse and if it hadn't been for social security he wouldn't have been able to retire and take care of his sick wife who had Parkinsons an Alzheimers and got treated through Medicare. He is a rabid Republican. When I pointed out how these programs he had depended on kept him alive, he went into a sputtering monologue about how tyranous Social Security was. He posits that had he not had to pay SS taxes, he would've known that he would have had to save for his own retirement and he is sure that he would have had more money to live on. It is all our fault (liberals). Nothing like personal responsibility.

The point is that no amount of logic will cut it for these people. Unless liberals learn to tug at their heartstrings with God, and mushy pro-America flag waving stuff, they will never switch sides. EVER!

Posted by: Always Hopeful on October 31, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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