“Joe” and the Magic Plunger.

0901k4p111_jpg Someone wrote to ask if I thought "Joe" might be a "plant," a "shill,"  a "ringer," etc.  The appearance of this fellow in the midst of the desperate search by Rick Davis, McCain et al for a rallying figure among the white, working class electorate does raise a certain question for me.

Someone should be taking a close look at Mr. Joe the everyman.

He brings to mind a bit of doggerel that my "mates" used to sing in pubs in the Gulf:

"Oh who IS the Sultan of Muscat and Oman?

Is he a yes man or is he a no man?

Or is he indeed, the abominable Snowman?"  Anon.

Look closely boys and girls of the media.  That is what you are paid for.  pl


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37 Responses to “Joe” and the Magic Plunger.

  1. WP says:

    The issue of shills is all over the election. Perhaps, the ACORN contraversy is also a matter of plants. It appears that an organization like ACORN is required by federal law to submit ALL voter registrations applications it receives, even if the organization believes them to be fraudulent. Did Republican operatives submit a bunch of the “fraudulent” voter registration applicattions to ACORN or plant their own solicitors in ACORN for the purpose of setting ACORN up for political purposes?
    It seems highly unlikely that Mickey Mouse would ever show up to vote with the government issued ID required to cast a ballot.
    Many of the purported “frauds” that are the subject of so much media attention may, themselves, be the real fraud!

  2. David W. says:

    Or is he just a ‘useful idiot?’ I don’t wish to knock on Joe the person, and I am feeling for him (parodied in a SNL skit in less than 24 hours has got to be a new record), however, when someone puts themself forward as something they are not (a la Jeff Gannon), then they open themselves up for scrutiny.
    To recap the salient facts, Joe is not even a licensed plumber, his ‘plan’ to buy the business is based on a few vague wishful talks with his boss, he has a tax lien on his home, and no loan collateral. Even at the height of the loan frenzy, I don’t think this guy would have getting any loan to buy the business.
    Furthermore, regarding his purported opposition to Obama’s tax plan, he made $40k in 2006, and the plumbing business only grosses $100k a year, so he’s not even close to hitting the magic $250k of net profit paid as income (somebody needs to explain the difference between gross and net to the McCain crowd).
    Of course Joe isn’t very happy about all of this, however, per the previous post, the Republicans have turned taxes into a wedge issue, and ‘class war in reverse’ by tricking people like Joe into supporting the economic interests of people like Rick Davis. Nobody likes to pay taxes, however, Joe’s righteous indignation belies his true economic position.
    Now, if you want a real plumber’s position, ask the plumber’s union (UA), which Joe is not even a member of–they were the first union to give Obama an endorsement, and have rightfully blasted McCain’s hoary economic ideas.

  3. Joe’s balloon already popped. Not a liscensed plumber. Just another American posing as qualified for jobs for which he is paid and probably not. Ever wonder about the training the Wall Street traders received? Ever wondered why Senators and Governors think they are fully qualified to be President? Job resume fraud is skyrocketing.

  4. Binh says:

    According to the media follow-up, he doesn’t have a plumbing license, he admitted he doesn’t currently make 250k, wants the borders closed, thinks it was right to “take the fight to them” in Iraq WMDs be damned, hates that Social Security is “forced” on him and would rather be free to invest his money on the stock market (!!!) as he sees fit.
    To me, this guy is a living, breathing anachronism – he’s very out of sync with where the rest of the country is at at the moment, politically and economically. He seems like part of the demographically shrinking, demoralized Republican “base” that McCain is fighting so hard to hold on to, even if it costs him the votes of independents and moderates.
    Listening to him talk and looking at the details that are coming up about him, I doubt he’s a Rick Davis plant. Then again, they picked Palin, so I guess anything’s possible.

  5. condfusedponderer says:

    The points he brought out when asked to what he thinks about Obama sounded well in-synch with GOP message. Now one might get there from incessantly listening to right-wing talk-radio when plumbing.
    Still, as a whole he IMO sounded ‘un-plumber-ish’.
    That bit about taxes just sounded like an ‘entry’ to me. With an income of less than $250,000 he would not be subject to any tax increase under Obama. Joe just doesn’t like taxes and thinks taxes are a “slippery slope” and arbitrary? Maybe just some vague, brooding paranoia, much like the distrustfulness of Col Guano from Dr. Strangelove. Or plain ol’ fearmongering – Obama will tax you into poverty is a GOP theme.
    It really got interesting with the Cathy Couric interview, where he kept re-iterating this line: I don’t know who Obama is, but I know who John McCain is – another GOP campaign theme. Fearmongering again.
    What struck me as the oddest thing of them all was the line about Obama tap dancing a lot like Sammy Davis Jr. For one it sounded crypto-racist to me. Also it depicts Obama as a … show dancer, a guy with grace but without substance?
    Your average working class Joe, or Joe the Plumber doesn’t speak that way. Thus I vote for plant.

  6. sbj says:

    Sadly, where you say:
    “Look closely boys and girls of the media. That is what you are paid for.”;
    I suspect that, in reality, too often members of the press are paid to NOT look too closely.

  7. bstr says:

    Joe the Plumber,was not a plant. No need for him to be a plant. Recall the affinity felt by Dick Nixon for plumbers. But why is Joe and so many Joes like him afraid of a tax increase? According to one source, should Joe earn $280,000.00 he would pay only $773.00 more in taxes under Obama then under McCain. When one considers the options that being a part of the American commons offers Joe, why is he so resentful of paying his fair share? We have two, possibly three wars, neighborhoods are suffering from the downward trend brought by foreclosures, and we continue to support disaster areas. Joe all of this is expensesive, Help comes in the form of taxation. Not helping is more expensive. In a very real sense all of this is for your benefit. We are in this boat together, get a grip.

  8. Nicholas Weaver says:

    I think there is enough evidence now to show that
    a: Sam the plumber’s appearance was not a plant. Obama was in the area, and Sam, a generic republican took the opportunity.
    b: Someone in Team McCain decided that the appearance of Sam the Plumber was worth expoliting, without doing the proper research to determine that
    1) He’s a tax cheat, with a $1200 outstanding tax bill.
    2) His claim of higher taxes is almost certainly ridiculous
    3) He’s not undecided, but a solid red-republican
    4) He’s not a liscenced plumber
    5) He may even be related to Charles Keating.
    So I think its clear: Sam the plumber is real, and his response was real (and driven from ignorance, most likely), but the McCain camp decided to sieze on this narrative without researching Sam, just like they never researched Sarah Palin.

  9. Tom S says:

    Well, for starters, “Joe” is not a licensed plumber, he owes back taxes, and is a registered Republican.

  10. jamzo says:

    this from a blog was reported by keith obermann last night
    “Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher related to Charles “the Crook” Keating. Oops.
    October 15th, 2008 . by Marty
    John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned “Joe the Plumber,” some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John’s debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). “You idiots – he’s related to Charles Keating… of the Keating Five scandal!” They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who’s spurned Barack Obama’s tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher’s background.
    Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.”

  11. JohnH says:

    So “Joe” might be a “plant,” a “shill,” a “ringer,” etc. In other words, is Joe the Plumber a plumber or could he be a White House Plumber?

  12. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Funny you should mention Oman. I am re-reading The Irish War by Tony Geraghty and he frequently refers to SAS troops coming from Oman to Northern Ireland.
    Any personal experience there?
    As for Joe, I paraphrase…will no one rid me of this meddlesome election coverage?

  13. Curious says:

    Joe the plumber is just a goofball. He seems to quickly realize the internet is about to chew him up and spit him to pieces.
    He start spinning and backtracking. (He even say, Obama will reduce his tax burden under his proposal. … duh)

  14. Mark Logan says:

    Yes they should earn their pay. It’s high time the started too.
    Unfortunately, that NYT piece didn’t “get ‘er done”, as a true plumber might put it. There are some “plumbers” who own major constrution contracting businesses, or have many trucks working for them in the repair business that may reel
    in a quarter mill a year. But that residential plumber in a small Ohio town he would have to NET $120 an hour and have to average eight billable hours a day for the year.
    This is extremely unlikely for our friend Joe. In fact
    I would guess him to be around the $50K range of salary if typical of many that I know in simular situations.
    There is no doubt Obamas
    policys would serve him better towards his goal of saving enough to
    “go it alone”. I think there is one lesson that “Joe” can teach us: Many people are still very poorly informed.
    PS: What’s the picture?

  15. looseleaf says:

    That is Gustave Dore’s caricature of the Baron von Munchhausen, notorious fabulist, incorrigible (involuntary)confabulator, or person of wonderful great imagination, depending on one’s perspective.

  16. condfusedponderer says:

    Thinking about it, David B. is probably correct in saying that Joe is just a useful idiot to the McCain campaign. Probably, when he came along, they simply jumped on the opportunity took him and spun him and his narrative relentlessly.

  17. Crazy Eddie says:

    The discussion of Joe being a plant is rendered more than a little ludicrous when you remember that Joe was in his own front yard when Barack Obama approached him. By all accounts, he’s only voted a few times before, may be Republican but is not especially politically active, and was – quite literally – a random Joe Sixpack. And now, because he was there when Barack Obama embarrassed himself with a poorly worded answer, he must be tracked, investigated, vetted, and removed. All for the crime of standing in his yard playing football with his son.
    Don’t bother replying – I’m done reading this weblog. If this is the tone of the author and the commenters, you and I are coming from very different places.

  18. Patrick Lang says:

    “Joe was in his own front yard when Barack Obama approached him”
    Is this true? pl

  19. condfusedponderer says:

    Joe went to him. From the Couric interview:

    “Obama came to my neighborhood and my son and I were outside tossing the football, and all of a sudden he showed up, and there went our football tossing for a while. And, you know, neighbors were outside asking him questions, and I didn’t think they were asking him tough enough questions, so I thought, you know, I’ll go over there

  20. Curious says:

    The company McCain said the plumber wants to buy has annual sales of $510,000, according to an analysis by Dun & Bradstreet. That makes it unlikely that Wurzelbacher’s purchase would give him a taxable income of more than $200,000 — leaving him unaffected by Obama’s proposal to roll back tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000, said Steven Bankler, a certified public accountant in San Antonio, who counts plumbers and other trade professionals as his clients….
    If Wurzelbacher managed to earn $280,000, “he’s not an average Joe Six-Pack,” said Gerald Prante, a senior economist at the Tax Foundation.
    “Rather than a game-changing blow for the McCain campaign, `Joe the plumber’ is turning into a bad case of blowback,” said Rogan Kersh, a public service professor at New York University.
    The underlying problem here is two-fold. First, Joe is a conservative Republican who tried to pull a fast-one. He doesn’t currently earn anywhere near the $250,000 adjusted gross income necessary to see a tax increase under Obama’s plan. And what’s worse, Joe’s excuse – that he might buy his boss’s plumbing business, and THEN he’d face higher taxes – is also now proven untrue. You see, the limit in Obama’s plan under which you aren’t taxed isn’t $250,000, as the Obama campaign keeps incorrectly telling people. The limit is much higher. That’s because the $250,000 isn’t based on your total income, it’s based on your TAXABLE income AFTER deductions. That means, in Joe’s case, he can make the $510,000 his future business is currently earning, but after deductions, he’s only making $200,000 – and that would exempt him from a tax increase under Obama’s plan.
    As for Joe’s final excuse, that Obama might change his mind and start taxing people making $100,000 a year – uh, well, McCain might change his mind and start taxing people making $20,000 a year. It’s an idiotic point. Joe is pretty much a fraud. And McCain, kind of an idiot.

  21. TR Stone says:

    Even Peggy Noonan is against the GOP
    GOTV-Good luck to us all!

  22. TR Stone says:

    Don’t pimp on this guy—he is America!!!!!

  23. pbrownlee says:

    Perhaps we should heed the Baron’s oxymoronic motto (on Munchhausen’s crest): MENDACE VERITAS (“Through a liar (or lying), truth”)– maybe an allusion in more learned times to “splendide mendax et in omne virgo” — Q. Horatius Flaccus, Carmina 3.11.33

  24. fnord says:

    My analysis: Obamas team made the meeting happen, if it was a plug at all. At this stage, for the candidate to be seen discussing with someone who disagrees with him is good PR, since he is now trying to get as many doubting republican votes as possible. So, logic media-bite. If he is indeed a relative of Keating, then I must say pretty nice work by whoever set it up, its like a kinder-egg effect, three strokes in one.

  25. jon says:

    ‘Joe’ expresses an attitude of proud, belligerent, know-nothing ignorance. In this he is truly symbolic of a large portion of the American electorate, and a fitting representative.
    He doesn’t understand his own situation. He doesn’t understand the economics of the business he would like to buy or the industry he is in. He does not understand the tax code or economic basics. He doesn’t understand the positions of the candidates. He has not thought any of this through. This is no impediment to his angrily making his impassioned point, and subsequent unwillingness to contemplate and facts that might be brought to bear on that argument.
    I find it significant that his first party affiliation was to the Natural Law Party. Apparently, he is now a registered Republican. Moving in the right direction, but not quite Independent.
    I also find the allegations that he is connected to Charles Keating and the S&L meltdown to be worthy of further examination. People should not necessarily be tarred with the politics or misdeeds of their relatives. But it is a curiosity that calls for an explanation.
    What I don’t find significant is: that he does not have a plumbing license – only one license is required for a larger plumbing company; that he owes back taxes – many people do and perhaps he is under financial strain; his house has a lien on it – see above.
    His gratuitously dragging Sammy Davis Jr. into the discussion is confusing. Is he saying that Obama is Jewish? Maybe Obama was a closet supporter of Nixon in 1972? After all, some photos of Obama do look like he stepped right out of the Rat Pack.
    And yes, Col., I would appreciate it reporters could bring themselves to do some actual research and journalism, rather than repackaging press releases and selecting the most visually entertaining five seconds of footage.

  26. SAC Brat says:

    “Paging John McCain to the white courtesy phone please.”
    John, you have to help me out with this. You used to be against unions and blue collar folks like airline pilots moving up to the $250k income bracket, and now you want to protect union voting and help secure a plumber’s career aspirations. What’s up with that? After seeing you on C-SPAN years ago making your angry face and popping a gasket at airline workers I didn’t think you’d come around like this.
    Tell you what. If you can reach deep and get in touch with your inner New Republican and promise to nationalize the energy industry, I’ll vote for you. The new you.

  27. OldCoastie says:

    from the Toledo Blade:
    “Mr. Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.”
    seems like it would be a little difficult to “plant” Joe the Plumber… looks a lot like “kill the messenger” to me. a shill? at an unscheduled stop, playing football in the front yard? if he is a shill, it is the most amazing timing ever…

  28. Bobo says:

    Poor Poor Joe the Plumber opened his mouth, thinking he was doing right, and now just because he had aspirations the American MSM and bloggers elite (sans SST) are coming down on him like a ton of bricks..Now if he was only a Hod Carrier he could handle those bricks and put them where they belong.
    The message here seems to be that Plumbers are not widely held in esteem as they use to be. Must be those pricey bills they pass out.

  29. wasa says:

    I don’t thnik he was a plant, but he is a bad liar.
    “Obama came to my neighborhood and my son and I were outside tossing the football, and all of a sudden he showed up, and there went our football tossing for a while. And, you know, neighbors were outside asking him questions, and I didn’t think they were asking him tough enough questions, so I thought, you know, I’ll go over there…”
    How did Joe hear those softball questions if he was playing football with his son in his yard? The converstions weren’t broadcast over a PA.
    The man has an agenda, which is fine. An “undecided every-man” he is not.

  30. Dimbulb says:

    Col. Lang et. al.,
    “Plumber Joe” does smell a little ripe, but perhaps he does not know he is being played.
    I wonder how many veterans of the Orange and Rose revolutions might be working on one or both sides of this campaign?
    I’d like to believe the answer is none, but, after reading “Legacy of Ashes” I think that is a vain hope.

  31. jay says:

    Yep…the guy obviously bought a house and moved his family in just so he could be standing in his neighborhood for Obama to pick him out of a crowd.

  32. Graywolf says:

    So let’s look closely at a citizen who dared to ask “the one” a question.
    Lets NOT look at “the one’s” past, including his undergrad years at Columbia, cocaine use, ties to Rezko and Ayers and on and on.
    How about “the one’s” underling – Biden – with his madeup stories about Katy’s restaurant and Home Depot?
    You’re choking on the kool-aid.

  33. pbrownlee says:

    I suppose those of us who value Col. Lang’s oasis of civilised discourse must expect the odd simoom.

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