yes -- in the video above, olberman began to deconstruct the "joe the plumber" myth so thoroughly, i cringed when i watched it. nice work -- but he really didn't go far enough.
here's my top ten factoids that are flying around all over the place about joe the plumber in no particular order.
- joe the plumber is not a plumber. he's a contractor -- and he's working as a plumber illegally. this guy doesn't even have a plumber's license! he says he works for a. w. newell corporation, a small company that does residential work and he doesn't need one because he works for someone else that's licensed. but the fact of the matter is that under ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work. according to tom joseph, business manager for the local 50 of the united association of plumbers, steamfitters and service mechanics, joe the plumber has obtained absolutely no training or apprenticeship of any kind anywhere in the usa. he's an insult to real plumbers everywhere. and yes, that plumber's union has already endorsed senator obama for president. why? because according to them, he's worked hard to help workers for his entire political career.
- joe the plumber's real name isn't joe. it's sam -- samuel joseph wurtzelbacher, to be exact. not exactly john jacob jingleheimer schmidt. but close.
- it's not true: joe the plumber is NOT related to robert wurtzelbacher of milford, ohio -- son-in-law of charles keating jr and former vice president of american continental, the parent company of the infamous lincoln savings and loan. you remember the savings and loan scandal of the 80s and 90s, don't you? the one that almost derailed senator mccain's political career? you should -- because you, the taxpayer, picked up the tab for a whopping $124 billion. for his part in the scandal, robert wurtzelbacher spent 40 months in prison. name association is an ugly thing. senator obama could have zinged him last night by discussing this and bringing up the keating five -- but he was too focused on the issues. now that senator mccain and consequently the press made joe the plumber such a focal point, he doesn't have to. what a massively huge mistake on mccain's part. it's almost as big as his black gaffe. as it turns out, wurtzelbacher is a common name in ohio. (go figure.) the press will have a field day with this, by name association alone. or will they?
- joe's voter registration was (and may still be) in question because he's registered under a misspelled name. that alone is enough to disqualify him from voting in florida, ohio or wisconsin. all of those misspelled names will get purged. that's right -- it's disenfranchisement by typo. if enough voters get booted out of the system, it could throw the election. sound familiar?
- they're saying that joe is a republican plant. (he's definitely a republican tool.) if that's true, it would explain why senator mccain chose to make him the focal point of the debate, instead of discussing the issues. smart move, really -- mccain doesn't do well off script. if this isn't true, then answer me this: how did every and any media outlet know how to reach him so quickly after his initial impromptu chat on the street with senator obama? if he had no idea that he would be mentioned during the debate, then why was a newspaper with him while it was happening? why was he already scheduled for the morning talk show press junket before the debate ended? why was right wing radio talking about him before the debate?
- joe the plumber is not an undecided voter, as was previously reported. he told katie couric that he "wasn't swayed" by the debate and pretty much knew who would get his vote.
- he probably said that because (insert gomer pyle here) surprise, surprise, surprise! he's a registered republican. he even voted in the primaries!
- que that gomer pyle send-up again, please: none of us enjoy playing taxes but joe goes one step further and doesn't pay his, period. he's had a tax lien placed against his house since january 2007 -- $1,182.96 to be exact, according to the lucas county (OH) court of common pleas. how ironic that he's so concerned about obama's tax plan, and yet he hasn't paid his own income taxes. ew.
- what's up with the sammy davis, jr tap dancing reference about senator obama? joe asked him a question and was given a straight answer. too bad joe wasn't listening.
- the mccain/palin camp says that they didn't give joe a heads-up before his morning press junket because they never contacted him. the quote is: "We tried to call him during the debate, but his phone was busy," said matt mcdonald. "We're not going to put him through media training." it may be true that they didn't contact him beforehand -- but if that's true, then what were they doing with his phone number? and why did they attempt to call him during the debate?
- here's an extra one, and it's a goodie. joe the plumber has only lived in two other places: arizona (he left a trail of court records in mesa, believe it or not) and alaska (for 4 years -- his ex-wife is alaskan). makes you wonder, doesn't it.
they could have done a simple internet background search on joe the plumber before they thrust him into the glare of the national and international spotlight and sidestepped what could easily become a "keating five scandal" blitzkrieg on every media outlet in short order. google him! that's what everyone else did -- from the associated press to small-town librarians everywhere -- to find out whatever they wanted on this guy. heck. that's what i did.
this was a calculated move to appeal to white working class folk. and it is backfiring.
if they really wanted to find someone who was "one of the people" to illustrate the flaws in senator obama's tax plan, all they had to do was reach out and touch someone, anyone. instead, they stitched together a bunch of blue collar white man stereotypes, stuffed him full of republican talking points and shoved him down our collective throats.
here's the kicker: joe says he's infuriated by obama's tax plan. as it turns out, he only made $40K in 2006 -- and that plumbing business he wants to buy only made $100K. what's unfortunate is that he is so brainwashed by soundbites and rhetoric that he can't see that obama's tax plan would benefit him more than mccain's plan.
talk about out of touch. i think the mccain/palin ticket just joined twitter a few weeks ago...