Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2008
POLITICS: Never Question Obama

Obama Knocks

Don't answer that door!

You will find no better illustration of the hazards of simply asking a question Barack Obama doesn't want to answer than the frenzy on the part of Obama's campaign and his allies in the media and the Left blogs to attack Joe the Plumber. The amazing thing is, this isn't a guy who was set up by one of the campaigns to tell a sob story that had to be checked. Obama was going door to door, he met this guy who was playing football in his yard *. Joe said he'd like to be more successful and buy his own business, and asked Obama why that meant he should have to pay higher taxes, and Obama gave his now-infamous answer that "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." John McCain responded by retelling that story in the debate to illustrate Obama's instincts for redistribution, and both candidates ended up using Joe as an example of how their various plans would affect small businesspeople.

But fearful of the damage caused by Obama's answer, the Obama camp and its surrogates have gone on the attack against this ordinary citizen from Toldeo:

*Obama campaign flacks attacking McCain for failing to "vet" a guy who only became an issue because Obama showed up in his yard.

*Ben Smith dug up his voter registration. (More here).

*The media dug up tax liens on him *

*Not only did reporters go after his licensing as a plumber, but now government officials are after his business.

*Lefty blogs publishing his home address and writing up attacks on him and digging into his family tree.

*Here's a NY Times article digging up more dirt on Joe than they've bothered to cobble together on Obama, and another here.

*Andrew Sullivan finds a new obsession with the plumber, reducing this man to a "hood ornament[]" (here, here, and here).

*Here is a roundup of the media frenzy. Remember, read all these and ask yourself when the last time was you saw a report on, say, Barack Obama's relationship with the Chicago political machine.

(As Ace notes, the Chicago-style ton of bricks dropped on Joe should help intimidate people who might actually come forward with stories from Obama's past he doesn't want told)

UPDATE: McCain defends ordinary Joe:

The response from Senator Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe. People are digging through his personal life and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn't ask for Senator Obama to come to his house. He wasn't recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Senator Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks.

SECOND UPDATE: Brian Faughnan notes that the people attacking Joe used to claim to care about privacy. What a surprise. It's not shocking to find either side using double standards on this sort of thing, but as usual what's missing is some degree of perspective about what's even a relevant basis for invading this guy's private life - the whole point here is that he asked Obama a question, and Obama gave a revealing answer, and he winds up with goons trying to run him out of business and posting his address online and freaking out because he goes by his middle name.

In the Frost case Brian notes, I'd agree that some people went overboard - but the essential question was the assertion that the Frost family needed and deserved government assistance at their income level. Joe the Plumber's basic point wasn't even about his current income, but about what happened if he succeeded in making more money.

I generally despise this sort of politics by anecdote, precisely because it drags us into this sort of morass. But remember: the essential question here is what Obama said. It's rather telling the panicked lashing out at an ordinary citizen that has resulted even at a time when he's leading in the polls. And it doesn't bode well at all for the next person who asks Obama a question he doesn't like.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:03 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (52) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I was wondering about the Wing Nuts sudden concern for personal privacy and, to some degree, I agree that the blowback has gone too far. Then, the answer appears.

The attempted take-down of Joe the Plumber" hit a little too close to home.

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/10/17/michelle-malkin-bids-for-self-parody-award.aspx

Posted by: Magrooder at October 17, 2008 2:32 PM

I definitely feel sorry for the guy, but it was McCain that injected his name into the debate and made him a national target. Secondly, he didn't pay his taxes and he is doing business without a plumbing license, is this someone the Republicans want to defend?!?

You have to admit, if Obama had brought up an "ordinary citizen," the republicans would have done the same thing. It's just normal politics, I'm afraid.

Posted by: MVH at October 17, 2008 2:43 PM

Crank,
Ben Smith, "the lefty blogosphere," the NY Times, Andrew Sullivan and the rest are not part of the Obama campaign. The only thing I've heard Obama say on the matter is that it's absurd for "Joe the Plumber" to be worried about his tax increasing when he makes nowhere near $250,000 per year.

I do think that if the McCain camp was intent on making a big, fat anecdote about a blue collar regular Joe who just wants to buy a business at the final debate, they should have done some digging into his public records to ensure he's representing himself honestly. Based on the evidence (he's not a licensed plumber; he's a registered Republican, very likely not an undecided voter; and he doesn't make anywhere near as much per year as he said he did, which is the whole point of McCain introducing him), it's fairly obvious to all but the most bitter partisans that he wasn't. That said, leaving the poor tax-dodging non-plumber alone now seems to be the best course of action.

(Also -- and this is par for the course around here -- you used Obama's quote completely out of context. He said the bit about "spreading the wealth around" in the context of the flat tax. Now, argue all you want about the flat vs. progressive tax rate, but both candidates in this race support the latter.)

Posted by: Ryan at October 17, 2008 2:48 PM

I think it's a bit silly to expect McCain to have done extensive background checking on something that occured the day before the debate. I also think the fact that the guy was asking a question based on his dreams rather than his plans doesn't really negate the question, nor Obama's answer. If Obama is ignoring the people who aren't wealthy buy aspire to be, he does that at his peril.

Posted by: Jerry at October 17, 2008 2:54 PM

Ben Smith, "the lefty blogosphere," the NY Times, Andrew Sullivan and the rest are not part of the Obama campaign.

Tell me another one...first of all, I made clear in the post that this was a group effort by Obama's camp and his most prominent supporters; second, I'm not holding my breath waiting for Obama to denounce media people who repeat his campaign's talking points ad nauseum, not when you guys are pitching fits over things unidentified people can't even be proven to have said at rallies.

And really, Obama wasn't talking about Obama's tax plan? What was he doing in that guy's driveway, conducting a graduate seminar? Please.

McCain didn't recruit this guy, all he did was jump on the story after Obama showed up in the man's yard.

Magrooder, I'm not going to defend everything Malkin does (I will note that the woman is on the receiving end of more nastier stuff than anyone in the whole blogosphere) but it's obviously a different situation when you have somebody giving an official party radio address.

Posted by: Crank at October 17, 2008 2:59 PM

...and to add one more point, a point I've been meaning to make about the candidates families as well (e.g., Palin's kids, Obama's wife and Biden's son Hunter): even when people get themselves inserted in a public debate in a way that makes some aspect of their life arguably fair game in some debate, people who aren't on the ticket should be given a lot more space and not treated as subjects to be out-and-out attacked. I think that's what gets lost most of all here. This isn't a guy telling a sob story that needs to be checked, and even if it was, there's no reason to turn the guy's life inside out. This is just thuggishness.

Posted by: Crank at October 17, 2008 3:18 PM

Crank, you've really lost your sense of reason in this election.

Obama spent five minutes calmly responding directly to a question asked by a guy who clearly had made up his mind not to vote for him. He responded to the guy's follow up questions and clearly explained why he disagreed with him.

Now, after McCain references the guy in the debate, making him an obvious political interest story, he was happy to claim his 15 minutes and do multiple interviews with the national media. Now an established story, the media did some research and found out that he's not who he says he was and that even if he was who he said he was, the Obama tax plan would cost him less than $1000 per year more than McCain's would.

By the way, when's the last time you heard McCain spend five minutes civilly disagreeing with anyone, let alone a potential constituent who clearly cannot be swayed?

Posted by: Dan at October 17, 2008 3:22 PM

You're missing the part where they are trying to run the man out of the plumbing business.

when's the last time you heard McCain spend five minutes civilly disagreeing with anyone, let alone a potential constituent who clearly cannot be swayed

That may be the most unfounded question of the year. You have any idea how many town hall meetings McCain's done?

Obama's problem here is the answer he gave, which is not the first time he's said something revealing of a mindset that views higher taxes as a mechanism for redistribution rather than just government funding. The personal attacks on Joe the Plumber are just an effort to distract, as usual, from Obama himself.

Posted by: Crank at October 17, 2008 3:31 PM

"You're missing the part where they are trying to run the man out of the plumbing business."

Come on, Crank, the guy isn't licensed. He shouldn't be a practicing as a plumber as it stands. And this is my last comment on an issue that's not that big of deal.

By the way, it's a little sad that the hard-core Obama defenders are focusing on -this- post rather than your much more relevant post on Obama's tax and spending plans, which is definitely a problem.

Posted by: MVH at October 17, 2008 3:42 PM

1) I agree that the media -- note: not the Obama campaign! -- may be crossing some lines in digging into Sam the Not-Plumber's personal life. But here's what McCain said at the debate:

"Joe wants to buy the business that he has been in for all of these years, worked 10, 12 hours a day. And he wanted to buy the business but he looked at your tax plan and he saw that he was going to pay much higher taxes.

You were going to put him in a higher tax bracket which was going to increase his taxes, which was going to cause him not to be able to employ people, which Joe was trying to realize the American dream."

So, now we know that the whole basis for McCain inserting "Joe" into the debate -- that he has the means and desire to buy his boss' plumbing business and would see his taxes rise under Obama but not McCain -- turned out to be false. That's clearly relevant to the discussion at hand. But, yes, now that that's established, I'd prefer not to hear another word about him or his personal life.

2) "McCain didn't recruit this guy"
He may not have recruited him, but all of the public attention heaped upon him these last few days -- good and bad -- is solely due to McCain bringing him up at the debate. You think we'd be talking about this guy today if he hadn't?

3) "I think it's a bit silly to expect McCain to have done extensive background checking on something that occured the day before the debate."
If the media can uncover all of these details 12 hours after "Joe"'s introduction at the debate, it's not asking too much to get a McCain staffer to do some digging into the guy who was going to be a centerpiece of your attack on Obama's tax plan in the final debate. Especially when you're running to be the most powerful man in the free world and your "vetting" of your V.P. was, to be charitable, suspect.

Posted by: Ryan at October 17, 2008 3:44 PM

Crank, McCain has done a lot of town hall meetings, but that doesn't answer the question I posed that you dismissed with a nonanswer:

When's the last time you heard McCain spend five minutes civilly disagreeing with anyone, let alone a potential constituent who clearly cannot be swayed?

Note the civilly disagreeing part of the question. McCain's happy to talk to people who support him, but I would love for you to show me a time where he has responded as thoughtfully to someone who disagreed with him as Obama did with Joe.

Posted by: Dan at October 17, 2008 3:49 PM

"Sam" - What, it's a problem now that the dude goes by his middle name?

Wow.

Posted by: Crank at October 17, 2008 3:55 PM

I smell some fear coming from the left. I'd guess that they fear that their man peaked a few weeks too soon.

How the Obama supporters think that demonizing Joe the Plumber helps them in Western PA and in OH is beyond me.
The longer Joe the Plumber becomes a victim of the Obama machine and of the media, the worse it gets for the Democrats.

Why, then, do they persist in making an issue out of a regular fellow to whom more undecided voters in swing states will relate than anyone we've seen on the campaign trail yet? Beats me.

Posted by: Stan at October 17, 2008 4:51 PM

You've got to be kidding me. Joe the Plumber's asking a question of Obama had nothing to do with causing your claimed "frenzy." John McCain, and his "allies in the media [Fox News] and the [Right] blogs" did.

What did you expect people to do after McCain invoked this guy every chance he possibly could during the debate and then Joe the Plumber goes on national television immediately thereafter to take advantage of his 15 minutes? If McCain hadn't decided to try and use this guy for political purposes, no one (not even the alleged liberal medial) would care one whit that Joe the Plumber is a tax scofflaw. Similarly, if Joe the Plumber hadn't voluntarily decided to go on national television, no one would have cared that he isn't a licensed plumber.

If you want to blame anyone for supposedly invading the private life of Joe the Plumber, then blame McCain. Its really that simple. To try and blame this on Obama, and claim it is somehow a "Chicago-style" campaign of intimidation replete with "bricks" and references to "the Chicago political machine," is simply laughable.

Posted by: Democrat down the Hall at October 17, 2008 7:34 PM

so lets get this straight, guy makes up a story. McCain uses the story as a key tactic in the debate. So people check the guys story out and find the facts do not match his story. So it is Obama's fault?
Crank, why do you suspend your legal training to make a point? Do you write your blog with big floppy shoes and a red nose to make sure you leave out common sense?

Posted by: javaman at October 17, 2008 8:11 PM

I don't buy the idea that the guy getting inserted into the debate makes his whole life fair game to be ripped apart, his home address posted on lefty blogs, the Toledo plumbers union sicced after him to ruin his career as a lesson for others who question Obama. Sorry, that's not decent and it's not right. And trying to blame this on McCain because he made hay out of Obama's revealing response to this guy is a complete non-starter.

Posted by: The Crank at October 17, 2008 9:16 PM

Spot on Crank. Well said. What is interesting here is that Joe the Plumber isn't being piled on for his question. He is being piled on because because The One gave the wrong answer. Had He answered with his usual smooth BS this would not have been a story.

Posted by: feeblemind at October 17, 2008 10:43 PM

Crank,

I agree that the scope of any "investigation" into Joe the Plumber's life should be very limited; i.e., is he a campain plant or otherwise a set-up. Joe the Plumber is a side show.

But, a kid agreeing to talk about how S-CHIP helped him is not a free ticket to trash his family. (Pardon me if I don't cry for Malkin; if she can't stand the heat, stop blogging.)

Also, does the paranoia of the rigth wing have any bounds? The MSM is biased. The net roots are biased. Give me a break.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 17, 2008 10:58 PM

Uh, the netroots are supposed to be biased. That's kinda the point. The problem I have with them is not bias.

Posted by: The Crank at October 17, 2008 11:12 PM

Isn't Joe (Samuel Joseph for those who esteem Barack Hussein) exactly the type of man the Dems are always "fighting" for? Isn't he the typical struggling middle-class guy who needs help from Nanny Government?

For those who obsess over licenses, jurisdictions vary. In Ohio it's generally a county thing, with cities having jurisdiction separate from the county in which they are situated. Holland, a village next to Toledo in Lucas County, is certainly under county rules, which anyone can look up should he be so ambitious. I have never, however, heard of a requirement for an Apprentice to have a license, since they by definition train under a Master. Also--although I'm no plumber--I'm unfamiliar with any requirement that an apprenticeship need be completed according to a rigid schedule.

It's ironic that the apprentice/master combination, a holdover from Medieval times, should contribute to this battle caused by the feudal outlook of Obama and his minions. It's so much like the peasant/noble relationship of pre-gunpowder times.

If Joseph the Cottager appears at Yule with the gift of a prime goose and some flattery for Count Raymond, all is well in the fenland. But should Joseph appear with a complaint about the Count's pigs breaking into his garden, he's likely to find Raymond's bailiff breathing down his neck, just aching for a chance to lock the poor commoner into the stocks.

So it is today. Show proper obeisance Joe, and receive the bounty of your lord. Be obstreperous, and receive the (tongue) lash of Bailiff Biden.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 18, 2008 1:30 AM

Hmmmm. I guess this post (and the active role of its author in the comments) indicates that the GOP has sent out a new talking point memo:

Dear fellow McCaniacs, the target has changed again. Please skip items 1-5, all of which have been suspended, and look to item number 6 for your latest instructions. Also, do not utilize number 7 (aka, The Nuke-ular Option) until specifically instructed to do so. We believe that item no. 6 will be the breakthrough, avoiding the need for:

1. Obama is too inexperienced. Suggest that America is doomed under his non-leadership (suspended).

2. Jeremiah Wright is a no-good racist. (suspended)

3. Obama is a Muslim. (suspended)

4. Bill Ayers is a terrorist, and because Obama spoke to him once, that makes Obama a terrorist (suspended).

5. ACORN is threatening American democracy. Obama worked with them in the past so he threatens democracy (suspended).

6. Obama hates plumbers.

7. Obama is a no-good, dirty niggra set on giving some good lovin' to your Christian wives and daughters (Planned but yet implemented).

Thank you for your support.

The McCain Campaign

Posted by: Mike at October 18, 2008 9:11 AM
Now an established story, the media did some research

Wow, good to see that they're still dogged in their determination after spending all those hours investigating Obama's relationship with Ayers, his coordination with ACORN, the rampant voter fraud that's going on at this very moment, and reporting to the world how Obama lied - blatantly - when he said that he didn't vote against the born alive act.

Nice try, but it's pretty apparent to all that today's media is simply an extension of the Democratic party. Hence, your own words, that the media - which refuses to research what Bill Ayers & Barack Obama did together in the late 90s - is doing research on a private citizen.

Whare ARE all those newspaper reports on Obama being hip deep in working with ACORN, anyway? Where is YOUR outrage at that? Oh, sorry, you're focusing on attacking a citizen. Now is the part where you guys get verklempt about the feds listening in on a shady citizen's phone calls to someone on the Most Wanted list in Fallujah.

Feh, I know full well that if I embarrassed some major Dem that you guys would be investigating me and going through my trashcans; that's what you do.

You're smear artists. Sleep well.

Posted by: RW at October 18, 2008 9:20 AM

Mike, you continue to be unable to grasp the concept that there could be more than one thing wrong with Obama at once.

I therefore take your failure to comment on the post below this one as a concession by your paymasters at the Obama campaign that his tax and spending proposals are indefensible. Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: The Crank at October 18, 2008 9:28 AM

Now, they're trolling the schools that McCain's kids' friends attend. Maybe it's time for another anti-McCarthy movie & how the right wing wants to destroy the reputation of citizens (it has been a few months since the last one, you know).

Hey, those kids asked for it by attending that school!

Posted by: RW at October 18, 2008 9:47 AM

FYI everyone-they finally have started hitting empty suit Obama with ads regarding his support for driver licenses for illegal aliens. Oh wait that is just racist xenophobe stuff, right?. That wasn't the issue that started the wheels coming off the Hillary bandwagon. Its not like 75-80% of the country is against that policy position.

Posted by: dch at October 18, 2008 1:59 PM

I therefore take your failure to comment on the post below this one as a concession by your paymasters at the Obama campaign that his tax and spending proposals are indefensible

Indefensible is a strong word, but I won't really defend them. I didn't comment because I don't like Obama's tax-and-spend measures. I said as much in the post on my own site two days go. I think he's playing fast & loose with the numbers.

Now, I'll turn it on you: you continue to be unable to grasp the concept that I'm not an Obama fan. In fact, I'd vote third party, as I usually do, if the choices weren't (i) a disgruntled GOPer-disguised-as-a-Libertarian (Bob Barr) & (ii) the wacko of the day (Cynthia McKinney).

I won't vote for those clown. Which leaves me the choice of a business-as-usual Democrat and a war-mongering, economically retarded, business-as-usual Republican.

I'll hold my nose and pull the lever for the younger, sharper, more energetic guy who at least says he'll get us out of Iraq and talk to, rather than bomb, Iran.

If that means I'm under the instructions of my paymasters (if only!) at the Obama campaign, then you've got some strange take on reality.

Posted by: Mike at October 18, 2008 3:03 PM

The media will go with any story that has feet and is easy. Political teams will go after any issue that is easy for average Joes (plumbers or not) to understand and can spark outrage. Humorists will go after anything that seems funny.

McCain brings up Joe the Plumber. By the 3rd reference, it got pretty funny. Media descend because it is easy to find the guy, it's an easy piece to write (Who is Joe the Plumber? Find out after these commercial announcements.) and he's willing to talk.


The clarity of the story that attracted McCain also attracted the media. The reason the media hasn't pursued ACORN or Ayers to the extent some here would like is the same reason McCain has essentially ignored it in the debates: by the time the issue has been explained in any detail, people are going to the fridge for another soda.

Now, if Obama had been caught schtupping the nanny, the media would be all over it. It has legs, it's easy, and will spark outrage.

Them's the rules of the game. Sometime it helps the left, and sometimes it helps the right.

So... Quit acting like a bunch of pussies by whining about the media.

Posted by: Zufall at October 18, 2008 3:11 PM

Mike - Just following your logic.

Posted by: The Crank at October 18, 2008 3:16 PM
by the time the issue has been explained in any detail, people are going to the fridge for another soda.
Ah, that's why they spent thousands of words investigating Cindy McCain today on the front page of the NYT. Because it's easier than looking at the terrorist that babysat Obama's kids.
Now, if Obama had been caught schtupping the nanny, the media would be all over it. It has legs, it's easy, and will spark outrage.
Which is why Mahoney has endured a thousandth of the coverage that Mark Foley faced, right?

Please.

That was pathetic.

Posted by: RW at October 18, 2008 7:11 PM

Zogby poll-Mc Cain now within the 3 points and within the margin or error for the poll. How come Senator Empty Suit can't close the deal with unlimited funds and 24/7 media pimping? Must be racism.

Posted by: dch at October 19, 2008 10:23 AM

Maybe the endorsement of a war criminal will help him seal the deal. I would think that would even impress the collection of short-bus riders that assemble here (with apologies to Governor Palin, who, as John McCain pointed out multiple times Wednesday night, has become intimately familiar with the educational requirements of special needs children from the several minutes she appears to have spent with her newborn).
Of course, the more likely spin here is that it's just a case of those blacks sticking together.

Posted by: rs at October 19, 2008 1:12 PM

If anyone ever needed a perfect example of the moral and rational bankruptcy of liberals, this comment thread is it. Jaw dropping. Actually, it's frightening. I think the sickness has infected their brains and removed any capacity for rational or moral discernment.

The treatment of Joe the Plumber is beyond the pale. The efforts to defend that abuse by the left are pathetic. Have you people no shame?!

Posted by: stan at October 19, 2008 2:53 PM

Shame..... from a liberal? these are the same people who bloviate about the lessons of Vietnam, but ignore the millions killed in SE Asia after the US left, these are the same people who have developed amnesia about everything regarding Iraq from 1990-2003, specifically everything said and done by Congressional Democrats and the Clinton Administration , the same people who for 27 years and counting delberately confuse cutting tax rates with cutting revenue, the same people that when we were preparing to go into Iraq were stating that we should be invading Iran, the same people that were calling anyone that said anything positive about Iraq and the surge idiots until about 3 months ago, when suddenly they stopped talking about Iraq and the same people that love to call everyone a racist except their candidate who attended a racist church for 20 years, donated large sums of money to said church and who viewed the racist leader of that church as a father figure and spiritual advisor.

It is really amazing how the book 1984, written 60 plus years ago, forsaw modern liberals deliberate rewriting and forgetting of history until they are left with just the parts they like.

But you know what-I am just delivering a screed. Everythinhg I have just said is not 100% factual.

Posted by: dch at October 19, 2008 4:07 PM

Some real angry folks here.

Look, there is going to be an election in November that will decide who gets to be the next President. Odds are it'll be Obama, but it might be McCain. During his 4 years in office, he will not have the luxury of maintaining ideological purity because there is a ton of stuff that needs to get done. He'll piss off everyone at one point or another and will most likely do a decent job in several areas that receive not notoriety.

I thought the best answer during the debates (OK the parts of the debates I watched) was McCain's regarding military intervention. In short, only if American force can make a difference. If that mode of thinking is what conservatives are all about, I'd be one. I just don't see that consistently.

I am amused that the response to my earlier post was whining about unfair press treatment. Consider my crude epithet proven, RW.

Posted by: Zufall at October 19, 2008 4:41 PM

Wouldn't Joe the non-Plumber be a more accurate sobriquet?
Actually, stan, the past 3 months has done nothing to change my mind about who is or isn't an idiot.
Wear your helmets, fellas.

Posted by: rs at October 19, 2008 10:55 PM

"It is really amazing how the book 1984, written 60 plus years ago, forsaw modern liberals deliberate rewriting and forgetting of history until they are left with just the parts they like."

DCH, if anything, Orwell was talking about Communism and Totalitarianism. And much of the book was on how the power of language can control thought. And on how The Party would monitor everything, one assumes without a warrant. It's interesting how the right is trying hard now to not mention your great savior of the last 8 years, and how he and his far right minions have bankrupted us both financially and morally. And how McCain, whom you all despised for not toeing the line (and boy do Republicans hate non-line toers--or maybe it's just a foot fetish)--now he's great, he's always been great, Oceania is at war with Eurasia, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

I would clearly have to say that, at this point in time, the Republican Party is, er, doubleplusungood.

Posted by: Daryl at October 20, 2008 9:41 AM

Let's not forget that that SCHIP family agreed to trot themselves out in support of the program's expansion. And that they turned out to be deadbeats asking for a handout they didn't actually, you know, need.

Obama turned up uninvited in Joe's yard. Joe asked if Obama would let him keep the income he wants to be at risk to earn. He didn't have his hand out for anything--he's asking to be left alone.

And he is a plumber. You don't have to be a CPA to be an accountant and you don't have to be a licensed plumber to be a plumber.

But please, demonstrate how morally bankrupt you lefties are by completely ignoring the facts here and endlessly repeating the same lies over and over. I find your dishonesty very telling, even amusing.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 20, 2008 10:45 AM

I support a press that investigates SCHIP families or anyone else who willingly offer themselves on the media altar, including those who allow their stories to be invoked by presidential candidates hoping to score debate points. In Joe the non-Plumber's case, a simple "no comment" to the media hordes may have been a more effective way to ask to be left alone, especially after McCain misrepresented his professional and financial status, if not his political and economic philosophy, repeatedly during the debate. Once he agreed to the first interview, he was fair (albeit small) game. It's 2008- everyone knows the rules that come with their 15 minutes. Except, apparently, the reality challenged that constitute the cheering section here.
Speaking of which, Crank, you need smarter minions here. I suspect you know you're prevaricating, whereas the spongeworthys and the stans seem to actually believe the silliness they write. Is there anyone left in the Republican Party who isn't ignorant and/or deceitful? Either way, it makes it hard to have a conversation with you people.

Posted by: rs at October 20, 2008 11:35 AM

A new low in DUMB, rs. Kudos.

The SCHIP deadbeats were researched after they pleaded for more money so they could both work as hippies or whatever vocation they chose for themselves. This was, by any measure, relevant.

This dirt-digging on Joe had nothing to do with his question to Obama. And you guys seem to think his current finances or his marital status disqualify him from dreaming about success so that makes it okay for you to dig that up and smear the guy. And then, in the same breath you dumped on the guy's dream, you claim you're the real friend of the working class.

Mega-dumb.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 20, 2008 1:43 PM

I salute Joe for what is clearly a hard work ethic. An unlicensed plumber who nonetheless makes over a quarter million dollars a year is someone who is clearly got his nose in his work. However, no matter how expensive it is to live in, say Hawaii, or even San Fransisco or New York, that kind of income does put you over middle class. And for damn sure, not working class Sponge.

FDR asked us to buy War Bonds; JFK asked us what we could do for our country. Bush and now McCain are asking to keep paying for a major two front war on credit, and that we need not pay for it.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 20, 2008 2:54 PM

I encourage everyone to dream, whether it's Joe the non-Plumber's dream to rise above his station, or your dream of logic and erudition.
Unfortunately, however, both you and Joe sometimes have to accept the world as it is, not as you dream it. Joe's not very rich nor licensed nor up-to-date on the taxes that he would of course be paying if only he were as financially and professionally qualified as the character he pretended to be, and you're not very bright. Both Joe and McCain (and apparently you, for that matter) were foolish enough to think that Joe's status as a campaign prop would go unexamined. A pair of jokers make a poor foundation to build on. As it turns out, Joe the Plumber's similarity to Jeff the Journalist goes beyond their bald heads.
Like I wrote, I don't have a problem with a media that digs, about Joe or SCHIPS families. As I indicated, however, I do have a problem with the ignorant and the deceitful, so you and I are naturally starting off on the wrong foot. On top of all that, with you we get the whininess as well, which, now that I think about it, makes you the quintessential 21st Century Republican.

Posted by: rs at October 20, 2008 2:59 PM

were foolish enough to think that Joe's status as a campaign prop would go unexamined.

If anything, reasonable people were foolish enough to believe that Obama's status as a Presidential candidate would not go unexamined.

Of course, it's not surprise that scumbags attempt to paint Joe as some sort of moronic hobo. It's what you have to do in order to keep the curtain closed on Obama's wealth redistribution plans. Rather than actually deal with the 'point' of the encounter Obama had with Joe, it's necessary to obfuscate to continue to attempt to deflect attention from the truth as much as possible until election time.

With the help of an advocacy media, it's a sound, although soul selling practice.

Posted by: Agent W at October 20, 2008 3:11 PM

So what is the 'point'. No one is representing Joe the non-Plumber as a hobo. Moronic, maybe, but not a hobo. Both Joe and McCain misrepresented the facts to advance McCain's political agenda. Joe, who is not a licensed plumber, is earning less than the national median while hoping to buy a business that does not earn $250K. Like other morons who don't recognize they've been on the losing end of a class war, Joe cheerleads for the winners, thinking someday he'll pick the right lottery numbers and be among their ranks.
Part of the problem you guys have with the "redistribution" thing is that most people are not as willfully obtuse as yourselves and Joe- excepting of course the 6000 year old Earth crowd, the scientifically ignorant who along with the economically ignorant comprise large chunks of the Republican base. They understand that Obama's rhetoric is about changing the direction of the redistribution from up to down.

Posted by: rs at October 20, 2008 3:35 PM

Were Obama to take from the "up" to give to the "down" and not be a politician, wouldn't that be called 'stealing'? Whatever happened to working so that instead of being the one receiving the welfare...er wealth redistribution...they could be helping others?

Joe the non-plumber could be Joe the terrorist who supports partial-birth abortions for all I care, the fact remains that Obama clearly favors a policy of taking from those of means (for lack of a better term) to give to those who pay no federal income tax. How is that not socialism?

Posted by: Ryan at October 20, 2008 4:14 PM

It is socialism. Period. Obama likes to couch his plans in this idea of a 'tax cut', but the reality is that a 'tax cut' that goes to individuals and/or families who pay no income taxes is NOT a Tax cut, it's Government SPENDING. It's the government acting as Robin Hood. It's Karl Marx's wet dream.

The worst thing is, much like policies such as the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, the policies of Obama would serve to prolong whatever it is we will enter into (whether it be a recession, which looks imminent, or a low level depression which is, more than likely, a long shot).

Posted by: Agent W at October 20, 2008 4:33 PM

Hmmm, good question- how is having people who make over $250K paying more taxes so that people who make less than $250K pay less not socialism? Let me consider that question while you answer mine- how is McCain wanting to use federal money to purchase bad mortgages, the government nationalizing the banks, a federal bailout of the airline industry (post 9-11), bailing out the auto industry (a few weeks ago), farm subsidies etc. not socialism?
Seems to me we've already determined the lady is a prostitute. Now we're not only arguing about the price, we're deciding who pays while the poor and working class continue to take it up the ass.
Hell, even Joe the moronic non-Plumber, the newest economic guru of the McCain campaign, concedes that in the here and now he benefits from an Obama tax plan.
Actually, we're living Marx's wet dream as we write. He predicted this as the end-game of capitalism.

Posted by: rs at October 20, 2008 5:54 PM

Let me consider that question while you answer mine- how is McCain wanting to use federal money to purchase bad mortgages, the government nationalizing the banks, a federal bailout of the airline industry (post 9-11), bailing out the auto industry (a few weeks ago), farm subsidies etc. not socialism?

Hence the reason I don't support those policies and never have. It's one of McCain's weakest points and one of the reason I say he's not a true classical liberal.

Posted by: Agent W at October 20, 2008 6:09 PM

Fair enough, but pretending the centrist Obama is a fundamental threat to overhaul the corporate socialism that defines the American economy is disingenuous. McCain's "weakest points" pretty much define his and Obama's economic philosophy- it's no mistake they both voted for the Wall Street bailout. With the exception, of course, that the changes to the income tax Obama proposes is probably more beneficial to the average McCain sycophant that comments here.

Posted by: rs at October 20, 2008 6:49 PM

Well, a few things remain clear, and these are common sense issues. It's not that anyone is asking for the rich to pay so the poor rakes it in. It's that we are asking the government to provide for a growing list of what we expect government to provide, and somebody has to pay for it. Here are the big ones:

1. Armed forces. Notwithstanding one necessary war that the Republicans totally screwed up by not going in with hellburners. Also an insanely expensive non-necessary war that the Republican suckered us into. Even if the army is at peace, it has to be paid for. Consider it an investment in our security. It's paid off not in dollars but security.

2. Social security: the other big Kahuna in the room. And the poor don't pay into the system as much, and as a result, don't get as much out. But my generation, the Boomers, have paid in, and boy will it cost a lot to pay that one off. Which is why I am so much in favor of raising the payout age to over 80. ANd this is no investment, but an incentive to retire, which, to me, is totally crazy. Why should anyone not near death retire on anyone's ticket not their own? Unless your health mandates it.

3. Energy. We have to get out of the hydrocarbon age, and that means spending lots of money. Actually it means investing in lots of money, not spending. While the army pays off in security, green energy independence pays us off with actual cash, as in, we don't have to borrow the money from Pete (well Hop Sing) to pay Abdul.

Let's face it, the money will not come from the poor. It's why they are poor: they ain't got it. ANd it's not coming from a lower tax rate from business, because there comes a diminished return point where no matter how successful business it, it can't possibly pay in enough to do the things the preamble says the government can do (and no more) without our paying in. That's why, in the midst of the biggest damn industrial start up the planet will ever see, FDR had us all buy war bonds.

Socialism is when we all collectively give in and then take out what is "needed," will never work as long as personal greed is in our DNA. However, the richer will have to pay in to invest, because like Willie Sutton and banks, that's where the money is. And the payback is 10 years down the road. And it's probably a good investment at that.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 20, 2008 8:15 PM

Fair enough, but pretending the centrist Obama is a fundamental threat to overhaul the corporate socialism that defines the American economy is disingenuous.

Pretending that Obama is a centrist is disingenuous if not downright ignorant. There's absolutely nothing to support your argument in that regard.

McCain's "weakest points" pretty much define his and Obama's economic philosophy- it's no mistake they both voted for the Wall Street bailout.

I think the fundamental reasons each voted for the bailout are different. That being said, I believe both were wrong.

With the exception, of course, that the changes to the income tax Obama proposes is probably more beneficial to the average McCain sycophant that comments here.

There you go again, being disingenuous. His "tax cuts", in appropriately labeled as such since they're tax hikes coupled with government spending (i.e., welfare handouts) do nothing to help me any more than McCain's would.

The problem with Obama and people like yourself is that you don't understand basic economic theory and that this idea of growing the economy from the ground up, while sounding nice and peachy, has very little validity in real world practice. You don't create jobs by taxing the rich more and giving that money to those who don't pay income taxes. All you do is create another generation of Americans who are addicted to government entitlements and spending, while subsequently pushing an already large economic taxation burden to even higher levels, thereby depressing jobs and economic growth.

I suppose if Obama wasn't too busy sleeping in his chair at the Harvard Law Review he might have learned this in his Econ 101 class.

Posted by: Agent W at October 21, 2008 5:44 AM

The corporate share of federal revenue is historically low. The supposed burden of taxes on corporations is a myth. It's not because of taxes that American business is off-shoring.
The defense budget is simply too high (even before the $12B/month for Iraq$Afghanistan). Neither Obama or McCain has addressed the issue. Perhaps the only silver lining in this dark economic cloud blocking the sun is the dampening effect it may have on the fondness every American president displays for military adventurism. Big defense budget = opportunity costs missed. Like a crumbling infrastructure, for instance.
Social Security is not in any immediate jeopardy. Rather than raising the payout age, ''fix" it forever and remove the cap. Those of us who benefit will not suffer any extreme hardship by payroll taxes on all of our earned dollars. Incidentally, what's earned Obama the "socialist" label is his advocating a moderate restoration of similar progressivity to the income tax. Anyone who tells you a marginal Obama tax increase is the difference between a vacation (actually, vacations) and a new car next year is lying.
Medicare, on the other hand, as well as our entire health care system, is in need of immediate attention. Neither McCain nor Obama is in favor of the single-payer system that could restore some element of economic sanity while providing insurance to the nearly 50M Americans (all of them between 18 and 65) who are without.
All I can offer to support my contention of Obama as centrist is his record (for instance, the bailout vote) as well as the considerable donations he has received from the FIRE sector of the economy. I suspect they wouldn't have bestowed such a large amount of cash on an acolyte of Karl Marx. You have any evidence he's anything but a centrist?
Not surprising that it's here I'd find one of the last two or three proponents of the pretty thoroughly discredited idea of trickle-down. We've spent the last three decades living the dream of Friedman, Reagan, Gramm, et al. Deregulation, trade agreements, regressive tax policies, and all your other babies are responsible for the disappearance of American manufacturing, accelerating wealth inequality, ballooning debt and deficits, and whatever the next phase is in the economic debacle we're currently experiencing. You guys need to take more pride in your creation.

Posted by: rs at October 21, 2008 12:08 PM

Now that his own socialist answer has caught up to him, the rest of the elitist illuminati want to take it out on Joe. All he did was ask a question. Isn't that what Obama was there for?

Posted by: Expressions at October 29, 2008 7:09 PM
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