Monday, October 20, 2008

The Real Magic of 'Joe the Plumber'

Joe Wurzelbacher kinda wishes the media would go away. Or, at least, those members of the media who keep trying to trip him up as the purported savior of the McCain campaign. When asked on Huckabee's Fox News show about all the attention he's gotten, he said:
"It actually upsets me[...] I am a plumber, and just a plumber, and here Barack Obama or John McCain, I mean these guys are going to deal with some serious issues coming up shortly. The media's worried about whether I paid my taxes, they're worried about any number of silly things that have nothing to do with America. They really don't. I asked a question. When you can't ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary. That bothers me."
There it is, in a nutshell. "Joe the Plumber" becomes an overnight sensation — a man whose name is had for good and evil across the nation — simply because he asked a question.

He has more guts than I've ever had. But then, he was literally in the right place at the right time. I am not a small business owner myself, but I've often thought about becoming one. Every time I do, though, I end up in the same place. The government would likely tax and regulate the heart and soul out of whatever enterprise I'd like to try, so why bother?

Joe, as a plumber, has harbored dreams of starting his own business, having a few guys work for him, and trying to eke a better living for his family. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Has he made a few errors in his life? Certainly. Has a few tax liens to deal with. I've had one or two in my life, too. Wreak havoc with one's credit, they do. But that never meant that I couldn't take care of those liens, keep my nose clean for a few years, and ultimately have good if not admirable credit once again. No reason that I can think of why Joe shouldn't have that same opportunity.

I seriously doubt whether we'd even be having this conversation had he asked this question of McCain rather than Obama. For one thing, McCain's tax proposals would likely be more friendly to Joe's American Dream than would Obama's. Also, McCain would never have responded as Obama did:
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Which is precisely why the political left is so hacked off right now. Obama fell into a trap of his own making. He took a question from Mr. Average American, gave his gut-level response to that question, and immediately showed his socialist stripes. That has to be embarrassing to Democrats who wish to paint the party as being only slightly left of center. Spreading the wealth around is about as far left as you can go without actually being branded a communist (small or capital 'C').

Make no mistake: Obama's response, NOT Joe Wurzelbacher's question, was a game-changer. The left can excoriate 'Joe the Plumber' all they want. They can dig as deep as they like and get as nasty as they ever have about Joe's personal life and his alleged "connections" with McCain or his campaign. At the end of the day, however, they still have Obama's stated desire to "spread the wealth around" hanging over The Anointed One's head. It just doesn't sound or look good. And all the nastiness they dish out on Wurzelbacher will only come back to them, returned with interest.

If Obama loses in November, it will not be 'Joe the Plumber' that we hoist onto a pedestal and lavish with praise. It will be Obama's "spread the wealth around" petard that gets that singular honor. If he wins, it will be because Americans were too blind to see that petard for what it was: the acceptance of socialism as an American political standard.

No comments: