The Palin Effect with an Exclamation Point

I’ve had the same reaction to the investigation of Joe the Plumber that Don noted earlier this morning. It’s frightening, and one gets the sense that it’s a taste of what would be to come (perhaps outside of public view) were Obama to be elected.
One wonders whether the stage was set by the American elite’s preparation for Obama’s coronation (as indicated by some conservative intellectuals’ RSVPs). Watching video of Obama actually mocking the man and his profession, it struck me that this may be a Sarah Palin redux, only with an exclamation point. In his comfort, he’s letting slip dinner party remarks for public consumption. “Who ever heard of a plumber making a quarter-million dollars?” If they made that much, they wouldn’t have to cling to God and guns.
So now Joe is being told, in not so many words, “Go away. We’d decided.” Americans were sickened by the instasmear campaign against Palin when she leaped onto the national stage, but his is worse: This is just some guy who asked a question. It could be you.
Yeah, he owes some taxes. Perhaps he’s been working without a license or without the proper registration. He’s divorced. Scarcely an American alive could emerge unstained from such scrutiny, but we sense there to be a protective gap of public interest. We muddle along understanding that the Eye of Sauron tends to focus on those who step forward to be seen. Even such common practices as undeclared cash-paid side work would look shady in its accusing glow.
Just answering a candidate’s question when approached on one’s own lawn oughtn’t qualify one for the same treatment as those who scrub their lives in preparation for the big time. But Obama’s army of zealots won’t be able to stop themselves now or if they gain the presidency’s power.

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Mike
Mike
12 years ago

“Obama’s army of zealots ”
Reminds me of Stalin’s Old Time Lefty’s who scoured the Ukraine for a stray potato hidden by a starving kulak.
Communists, aka Progressives are the scum of the Earth. General Franco, the man who rescued Spain from the Iron Curtain had the only cure for them. (snip)

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

File Joe the Plumber away alongside Peggy Noonan’s criticism of the Palin choice: The McCain campaign got too busy trying to spin a story, and whenever Republicans do that, they lose.
Course, there’s always the chance Palin could be a hit on SNL if she indeed does it (after all, Tina Fey has only played her thus far as loveably daffy hockey mom, not the mean-spirited rabble-rousing prig she’s been on the trail the past two weeks).

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

mike,
Look at what you are saying. You’re saying that it’s an evil to scour a kulak’s home to look for a stray potato, but that it’s okay for Franco the fascist to call off elections, brutally suppress opposition, incarcerate and kill dissenters and rule by dictate for 40 years. See the Spanish film entitled “Butterfly” to get a feel for the way dissent was treated by the fascists.
Try to find a Spaniard who would like to return to the Franco regime and you’ll be looking a long time and turn up, perhaps, a few nuts like yourself. Next, I suppose you’ll have a few good words for Mussolini – after all he did make the trains run on time.
You are a frightening thought terrorist.
OldTimeLefty

JP
JP
12 years ago

Somehow Obama’s relationship with William Ayers should not be scrutinized but Joe the plumber’s voting record, martital status, work record, and income taxes should be.
And of course the folks at rifuture are also convinced he’s a plant…

Pragamatist
Pragamatist
12 years ago

The “instasmear” campaign against Palin? Please. That is absurd. The criticism of Palin was caused by three factors:
1. It’s a political campaign. That’s what happens.
2. McCain picked a complete unknown. The media had never vetted her before, so all the dirt was exposed in a compressed timeframe. That’s the risk with picking an unknown. The campaign knew it and decided to roll the dice anyway.
3. Palin is a mess. Troopergate? The half-truth about stopping the Bridge to Nowhere? The foreign policy expertise by virtue of her state’s proximity to Russia? And to top it off, her incoherent ramblings on national television interviews? Ugh. McCain probably regretted the decision days after making it.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

All true, Prag, but somehow I doubt VP was McCain’s decision to make.

Richard
Richard
12 years ago

US News & World Report, 10/17: (US News) Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber so often referred to by Sen. John McCain in the third and final debate had better learn to shut his mouth. The more he speaks publicly, the more he looks like the GOP plant liberal blogs are starting to claim that he is. Watch him calling Social Security a “joke” on YouTube. I’m no fan of tax hikes, but even I recognize Social Security is no “joke.” It has single-handedly lifted millions of elderly and disabled Americans out of poverty and turned America’s elderly from the most impoverished age demographic to one with an income more in line with that of working families. Joe the Plumber so loves media attention, he’s drawing pro-Obama bloggers to question his authenticity as an undecided voter: Joe has been on so many right wing talk shows it appears pretty obvious that this is a coordinated attempt to pull a last second ‘tax and spend’ haymaker. Family Security Matters, a wingnut security policy thinktank, has the first interview with Joe after this Obama encounter. Hmmm. What’s the chance that a group like this gets the first interview with this alleged ‘undecided voter’? Other blogs say Wurzelbacher may be related to Charles Keating of the Keating Five and that his father is a major Republican donor: Joe the Plumber, the star of tonight’s debate, may have a very interesting connection to John McCain. In fact, Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) of Cincinnati, Ohio may be related to one Robert Wurzelbacher of Cincinnati, Ohio, who happens to be Charles Keating’s son-in-law. Robert Wurzelbacher was implicated in the Keating 5 scandal, and sentenced to 40 months in prison in 1993. Wurzelbacher is also a huge Republican donor. Keep watching this story because if it proves true… Read more »

Richard in Blue
Richard in Blue
12 years ago

McCain’s plumber no ordinary Joe By: Carrie Budoff Brown and Amie Parnes October 17, 2008 04:27 PM EST NEW YORK – John McCain hung his final presidential debate performance on an Ohio plumber who campaign aides never vetted. A day after making Joseph Wurzelbacher famous, referencing him in the debate almost two dozen times as someone who would pay higher taxes under Barack Obama, McCain learned the fine print Thursday on the plumber’s not-so-tidy personal story: He owes back taxes. He is not a licensed plumber. And it turns out that Wurzelbacher makes less than $250,000 a year, which means he would receive a tax cut if Obama were elected president. McCain likes to say that he isn’t George W. Bush – and in this case of bungled public relations, it is clear he is not. The famously disciplined Bush campaign operation would likely have found the perfect anonymous citizen to illustrate a policy proposal, rather than spontaneously wrap itself around an unknown entity with so many asterisks. While the arc of Wurzelbacher’s breakneck trip through the news cycle – from private citizen to insta-celebrity to political target – offers a curious insight into the political media culture, it also appears to offer a glimpse into the McCain campaign’s on-the-fly decision-making style. A McCain source said Thursday that the campaign read about Wurzelbacher on the Drudge Report, while another campaign aide confirmed that he was not vetted. Senior McCain adviser Matt McDonald told Politico after the debate that Wurzelbacher was not aware that he would become central to the candidates’ third and final showdown, although Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday that the McCain campaign contacted him earlier in the week to ask him to appear with the candidate at a Toledo rally scheduled for Sunday. (He may not make it, now… Read more »

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

Hey Justin,
How many plumbers do you know making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year? Only one I can think of might be G. Gordon Liddy.
OldTimeLefty

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

Poor Joe the Plumber
He gets his fifteen minutes of fame thanks to a desperate campaign in search of an issue. First its association with a terrorist and then its taxes..the old reliable republican standby. Now Joe is getting more unwanted attention …again thanks to McCain. All Obama did was to answer the guy’s question.
By the way how is Joe’s position of not wanting to give up any of his (imaginary) earnings any different than the position of any member of Council 94?
Phil the Quahogger

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Joe wants to keep money he earns by conducting consensual business for clients.
Union members want to take more money from taxpayers by force of law without additional benefit to the public.

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

Justin
Council 94 members want to keep what they have. In joe’s case he hopes to keep what he does not have but hopes to have sometime in the distant future or may never have. But he can have an opinion just like every other person in the country.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

“Joe wants to keep money he earns by conducting consensual business for clients.” Sounds like a pimp.
OldTimeLefty

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