Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2009

JOE THE AFTERTHOUGHT.... On the homepage of the Politico right now, there's a headline that reads, "Joe laughs at Obama speech," above a picture of Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. The headline leads to a story -- and video -- in which we learn the former campaign prop didn't care for President Obama's address to Congress this week.

Apparently, the fact that Wurzelbacher "did not have many nice things to say about Obama's speech" is newsworthy.

It's worth noting, though, that while Wurzelbacher remains important in some circles, his public "following" appears to be dwindling.

Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel) popped into [Washington, D.C.] yesterday evening to sell his new book and to remind people that he's still a plain and simple guy. Mission accomplished, on at least one of his missions.

About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border's bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.

At least a few of the 11 didn't actually show up for Wurzelbacher, but were in the store anyway. One was reading "Dreams From My Father" upstairs and thought it was an amusing coincidence that "Joe the Plumber" was in Borders at the time.

Wurzelbacher was scheduled to speak and sign books for three hours. He left after 55 minutes when no one else showed up.

John McCain wasn't there. Neither were any other members of Congress, Hill staffers, think-tank aides, conservative media personalities, etc. The whole event sounds kind of depressing. It was a reminder that as campaign props go, Wurzelbacher has become something of an afterthought.

So, why is his take on a presidential address worthy of a piece at the Politico? Your guess is as good as mine.

Steve Benen 11:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Comments

A better question is why does Politico seem to be one of your primary sources of political news? They've always been only one step up from Drudge.

Posted by: DR on February 26, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm...because Politico is a worthless waste of bandwidth?

Posted by: Mahnkenstein on February 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Wurzelbacher has been pondering a run for Congress

PRETTY PLEASE. Sadly, he might actually raise the average IQ of the Republican caucus.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on February 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

So, why is his take on a presidential address worthy of a piece at the Politico?

Because it's easier to write a piece about something that's been offered to you at a book store three Metro stops away than actually going out and investigating an actual story?

That said, Jesus Christ. Not to brag or anything, but I did a book signing at that Border's and got more than 11 people.

Posted by: August J. Pollak on February 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Why is Faux news widening its lead among cable news programs this year? I think it's easier to grasp the meaning of life.

Posted by: Frak on February 26, 2009 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

"why does Politico seem to be one of your primary sources of political news?"
asks DR.

I for one appreciate it. Otherwise, I'd be exposed mainly to the liberal echo chamber - and we know how harmful echo chambers are to a sense of reality.

Posted by: Zandru on February 26, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

And the best question is why, Steve (and with all due respect) do you give link love to that organization? You, I believe, already realize that they are not a fair dealer in information.

Posted by: rhodozeb on February 26, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Joe "not the Plumber" is going to just as successful being Joe "not the book seller" as he was being a plumber. Good luck Joe at being, Joe "not the Congressman". Glad I am not from Ohio.

Posted by: NODAK on February 26, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Says more about Politico than Joe and the public.

What a bunch of hacks at Politicrap.

Posted by: fromer on February 26, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

What's the next event for Joe?

A puppet show?

Posted by: Former Dan on February 26, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

why does Politico seem to be one of your primary sources of political news?"

Steve reads it so we don't have to and lord knows we appreciate it. Right wing claptrap has been known to rot the brain and cause heart palapitations.

Posted by: John R on February 26, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

1:15...1:14...1:13...

"I get e-mails all the time from people asking me when my 15 minutes is going to expire," he grinned after his talk. "Sometimes they just write, '15 . . . 14:59 . . . 14:58 . . .' "

Funniest line of all in the article:

"I'm missing pottery class for this..."

[Insert guffaws here.]

Posted by: koreyel on February 26, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

My next door neighbor just bought a new snow blower and he thinks the Red Sox are going to win the AL East this year.

If you want to run with this story please e-mail me Steve and I will give you some more details. Otherwise I am going to let Politico blow this story wide open.

Posted by: Blue Neponset on February 26, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

A sarcastic SOB could make the comment that anyone who'd consider him or herself a Joe the Plumber fan probably has no use for books.

I'll leave that comment for a sarcastic SOB to make.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 26, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Steve reads it so we don't have to and lord knows we appreciate it. Right wing claptrap has been known to rot the brain and cause heart palapitations.

I disagree. It seems like Steve links approvingly to it as often as he links disapprovingly to it.

Posted by: DR on February 26, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

In defense of Mr. Benen, I'd like to offer the following analogy. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture of a clown is worth a thousand laughs, then what is a picture of Joe the Once-Upon-A-Time guy---accompanied by many silly words from Politico---worth? Hell, people---I laughed my head off for a good five minutes after reading it.

I laughed even harder as I realized that a guy who used to pretend to fix toilets and unclog drains for a living now finds himself in one, while trying with all his might to flush and plunge simultaneously.

In all seriousness, by offering a regular dose of Politico silliness, Mr. Benen offers his readers a dose of comedy that is, indeed, well-deserved in the trying times we now find our Republic in.

And---he doesn't even have to make it up....

Posted by: Steve W. on February 26, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

His 15 min. of fame should have been over 14 min. and 59.5 seconds ago.

Posted by: ET on February 26, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's very surprising that in Washington, D.C., populated by minorities, gloating liberals, and Republicans so busy trying to fit in that they refuse to stand up for conservative principles, Joe the Plumber didn't get a lot of people buying his book. If the brains on you kids are the future of this planet, I'm glad I'm on my way out.

Posted by: Myke K on February 26, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Don't let the rapture hit you in the ass on your way, Myke.

Posted by: Butch on February 26, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Can't let Myke K. have the last word. I'm glad I get to go out with some hope for the future. Also with some good belly laughs at the Republicans. They haven't been funny the last eight years.

Posted by: Mari on February 26, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

"Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel)..."

Be honest, Joe NEVER WAS a licensed plumber!

Seriously would you let an UNLICENSED "plumber" work on your home?

Posted by: David on February 26, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

You know how some movies are released straight to DVD these days?

Joe the Plummer's book is released straight to the Remainder Bin in Borders.

Posted by: kindness on February 26, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

"[P]opulated by minorities," Myke? Yeah, that's it.

Here in the Midwestern heartland, I'd look for Wurzelbacher's book in the "White Interest" section of Borders.

Posted by: 1st Paradox on February 26, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Yes, it's very surprising that in Washington, D.C., populated by minorities, gloating liberals, and Republicans so busy trying to fit in that they refuse to stand up for conservative principles, Joe the Plumber didn't get a lot of people buying his book. If the brains on you kids are the future of this planet, I'm glad I'm on my way out."
Posted by: Myke K
-------------------------------------
Sad really, betting your future on Joe the Plumber, Samuel the Wanna-be Author then trolling liberal sites and having the nerve to question our intelligence is truly priceless.

Posted by: ScottW on February 26, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

This is my favorite article abou JtP EVER.

Posted by: Gina on February 26, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Well, myke, if all you say is true about Wash.DC, then why did Genius Joe and his conservative handlers pick it to do his initial book signing?
Shouldn't he have, oh, I don't know, started in Ohio, where he's from? Or, in Az, where McCain is who made him semi-famous, or across the street from Rushbo's West Palm Beach studio, or, someplace where conservatives gather, like next to an unemployment line?
Of course, you already have your copy, right?

Posted by: maya on February 26, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, you already have your copy, right?

Right now I'm reading Jerome Corsi's Obama Nation and Clarence Thomas's memoir, and of course promoting my own book. I'll probably read Joe's book later when it goes into paperback. I can't keep my house in bookcases for all the reading I do.

Posted by: Myke K on February 26, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Comment threads like this one remind me of the 'megahappy ending' to Wayne's World:

Fished in! Fished in!

Posted by: doubtful on February 26, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, I miss Morbo.

Posted by: Gabriel on February 26, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I thought "Joe" was in DC to help fix the plumbing at the CPAC convention. Lot of young pipes pulsating.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 26, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

So, why is his take on a presidential address worthy of a piece at the Politico?

I know! I know! Pick me!

Because he expressed a conservative point of view?

Posted by: Gregory on February 26, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

So, why is his take on a presidential address worthy of a piece at the Politico? Your guess is as good as mine.

Because Politico is a right-wing media organ. It's major purpose is to inflate bullshit memes into actual news stories, in order to further the radical 'conservative' agenda. The conscious intent is to distort the media lens, channel the national conversation in the wrong direction, and mislead readers and voters and what passes for a 'cogniscenti' in D.C.

Sure, there are capable reporters at Politico. No question. But those same reporters fulfilled precisely that same function at the Washington Post. But like the rats they are, they fled from WaPo to Politico with their reputation in tatters. Which gives a reality check to just how fvckd things really are at the Post.

Not exaggerating: Harris & Co. led the anti-Clinton lynching, lying and distorting and applying an unspeakably hypocritical double-standard in 'reporting' on Gore & Clinton versus Bush & the Repubs.

Note that off-shoring their WaPost activities to Politico doesn't change their MO -- it just sheds the sham & shame of the WaPo brand, in favor of the cachet of new media and a reified operation.

It's still the same nest of covert ideologues and overt political operatives.

Posted by: johnsturgeon on February 26, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Cheers to Myke K and hopes he lives long enough to cast a vote for the Palin/Plumber'12 ticket. But please, Jerome Corsi and Clarence Thomas? Can't be much quality of life there.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 26, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it was Jindal's job to express the conservative point of view?

If you're comfortable with Sam the non-plumber being the mouthpiece for your party, I'm going to be a lot less stressed about future elections. Hell, I'll just go ahead and start celebrating the 2016 win right now.

Posted by: Adam on February 26, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

When it comes to folks like Dinesh D'Souzed, Clarence Thomas*, mAnn Coulter, etcetc, I always wonder how much (if any) they've managed to convince themselves of their own BS, vs how much they're consciously lying thru their teeth for the $, the fame, the "respect" they garner by their selling out. (I also wonder how thoroughly aware they are that the "respect" is conditional on their continued sellout -- rescinded instantly on any evidence of independent thought or action. Anyone hear from JC Watts lately?)
In JtP's case, though, it's entirely possible there's no cognitive dissonance at all. He doesn't seem to be bright enough to be aware of the contradictions...


*my favorite oxymoron: "Justice Thomas"

Posted by: smartalek on February 26, 2009 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

A new low for Politico.

Posted by: Jennifer B. on February 26, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I am featured in a recent documentary film about mountain biking (see my link). At one promo stop I signed posters for that film for over an hour non-stop, AND YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME.

Suck on that, Joe. I also changed the world more than you did.

Posted by: Repack Rider on February 26, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Joe the Afterthought...

Totally faked me out. I thought this was a post about what's his name... the junior Senator from CT.

Posted by: junebug on February 26, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Repack, repost the link in the body of your comment, please. Thanks.

Posted by: shortstop on February 26, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

DR (#1) said it best. Stop giving Politico the linkage and maybe they'll stop publishing stupid stories, or, even better, go away completely.

Posted by: CDW on February 26, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, the once and future plumber.

Posted by: CDW on February 26, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Let's let the media keep giving Sam-the-skinhead a.k.a. Joe-the-plumber all the publicity he wants.

Sam-the-skinhead, Sarah-the-airhead, Rush-the-cokehead, Sean-the-sorehead, Mike-the-sheethead. These are the voices of the real, core, Republican Party. Please please please give these people as much attention as possible so that middle America can finally realize that the Republican party is not the party of David Brooks and David Gergan -- they are the party of an insane, angry, incompetent, and potentially violent mob.

Posted by: Cool on February 26, 2009 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I actually think it is rather sad that "Joe the Plumber" never realized that he was just a campaign gimmick. He actually believed that his fifteen minutes of fame meant he had something real to contribute to the political discussion in this country. He didn't know that the conservatives would lose interest in him just as fast as they adopted him.

Posted by: tanstaafl on February 26, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think the GOP is reduced to Palin and Joe for 2012.

Posted by: JS on February 26, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

maybe he'd have done better if the book was titled "dreams from my plumber"

Posted by: dj spellchecka on February 26, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

the customer reviews for joe's book on amazon are worth a read. here's a fine sample:

Should be required reading in Schools!,
February 13, 2009
By R. D. Long (Ramona, CA United States) - See all my reviews

Finally someone who speaks out as to what our country was, is and could be again if we again held on to and promoted the ideals that this country was founded upon! Should be required reading for all high school and college students..... our schools have been purged of the true American Principles that this nation has stood for since the Founding Fathers separated themselves from the controlling English government. How soon we forget the Constitutional Rights we possess as American Citizens. This book brings all of this back into focus again.

http://www.amazon.com/Joe-Plumber-Fighting-American-Dream/review/product/0976974037/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Posted by: bartd on February 26, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

All The Onion would give him was 3 minutes:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/48941

Posted by: Steve Paradis on February 26, 2009 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Joe asked me to let you know the following:

You people are way to harsh with him. Joes's only following the path to the American dream that is open to him. He has been dealing with smelly stuff all his professional career and his current gig is no different in that regard.

It's just that the smut Joe's stirring now pays a lot better and comes with a plenty of nice stuff, like traveling first class, being put up in nice hotels, getting to know important people, and so on.

Joe's really just a street-smart guy making something of Barack's Midas touch.

Posted by: SRW1 on February 27, 2009 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Damn it, that should have been

"... off Barack's Midas touch."

Posted by: SRW1 on February 27, 2009 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

So, why is his take on a presidential address worthy of a piece at the Politico? Your guess is as good as mine.

Simple, the "Villagers" think the Politico is something other than the right wing disinformation project that it is.

And the fact you take them seriously, Steve, makes me wonder if you've been granted citizenship in "the Village."

These guys are asswipes! Why do you continue to think them worthy of 5 micronanoseconds of your thought?????!!!!!!

Posted by: TCinLA on February 27, 2009 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK


I'm waiting for those three weeks of DC springtime when I will shave my head, put on pajamas, stand on a milk crate, and get picked by Politico for an all-expense paid trip to Italy to report just WTF Burlesconni is up to now. I'm an ex-financial wizard: I used to do my own taxes with TurboTax. (Now my wife does them using the IRS' online widget, but because she won't shave her head I'll beat her our for the gig.)

Posted by: Bob Johnson on February 27, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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