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.