Motivating Republicans in Toledo

Toledo, Ohio – In this city in northwest Ohio, the one thing that motivates Republicans is the same thing that has Democrats fired up: Barack Obama.

“In terms of the economy, it’s more being drawn away from Barack Obama,” said Becky Tighe when asked why she supported John McCain for president.

After talking to McCain supporters about the economy for several hours at McCain’s Toledo headquarters, it quickly became clear that it was fear of Obama’s economic proposals more than excitement for McCain’s plans that has these Republicans motivated.

In the office, volunteers phoned registered Republicans urging them to vote as a steady stream of people came in to pick up yard signs and tickets for an upcoming speech by Sarah Palin. And when asked about their reasons for supporting John McCain, the response was nearly always the same. Whether they were former Hillary Clinton supporters, independents, or Republicans, nearly everyone here said they feared Obama would raise taxes and “spread the wealth.”

“The democrats are going to take the money from the people who are working the hardest and try to decide who they’d like to distribute it to,” said Paula Hyder.

Lucas County Republican Party chairman Jon Stainbrook said that he’s seen a surge of excitement in his office after two events. First, he said, was the pick of Sarah Palin for VP. The second was when Toledo native Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber” entered the spotlight during the last presidential debate.

“When ‘Joe the Plumber’ came into the race, it just exploded,” said Stainbrook, “It’s been amazing at how many people said ‘I’m a common every day Joe.’”

The McCain campaign points to a tightening in some polls as indication that “Joe’s” message of questioning Obama’s tax plan is getting traction. Wurzelbacher is campaigning for McCain this week in Ohio.

At least among McCain supporters in Toledo, “Joe,” and the doubts he raised about Obama, is on the tips of everyone’s tongue here.

“I don’t have very much wealth and to spread it around is just not good for me,” said Tighe.

(I spent time with the Obama campaign last week in Colorado)

By Travis Fox  |  October 30, 2008; 3:55 AM ET  | Category:  In-Depth
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Of course, the people claiming to be most fearful of Sen. Barack Obama, like the young woman at the end of the video, are the ones who would benefit most from his tax cuts for the middle-class, health care plans and education grants for public service deal. It is unfortunate that they believe Right Wing propaganda against Sen. Obama instead of doing minimal research.

Among those who Sen. Obama's plans would favor much more than Sen. McCain's are, ironically, Joe the Plumber, who earns $40,000 annually, not $250,000.

Posted by: query0 | October 30, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly why we have the baby bush now. People voting against thier own interest out of fear.

Posted by: fresno500 | October 30, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

It is stunning how stupid so many of these people are. No wonder they love Sarah Palin so much. I can only imagine how this loos to the outside world...

Posted by: stew118 | October 30, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

These idiot answers sound to me like convenient excuses to justify prejudice. Do people really want to "concentrate the wealth" on the megarich while they sink further into poverty and despair? Laughable.

Posted by: alarico | October 30, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

One can only hope that when That Which They So Much Fear actually comes to pass and turns out to be GOOD for the country and GOOD for them, that they will have the decency to admit they were wrong, and to be less susceptible to lies and smears next time around.

Posted by: herzliebster | October 30, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I believe this is a concrete example of Hegel's theory of the alienation of the self. These people are so convinced easily convinced that the Democrats' economic proposals (which, unfortunately, are NOT truly socialist) are bad, that they fail to understand that they'll actually be the ones benefiting from such plans. Society has trained them to believe that what is bad for the elite is bad for them-- although the young girl at the end of the video talking about socialism is far from the elite. It is unfortunate that this phenomenon is so prevalent among McCain supporters, and proves that McCain has nothing to run on but the fear of Barack Obama.

Posted by: BWKYLE | October 30, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It's sad that people actually believe their ordinary incomes will be "spread". I dislike McCain even more for throwing around those lies.

Posted by: asoders22 | October 30, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

People who call other people stupid because they're not voting for their candidate are the poster children with everything wrong with our political culture.

It's the same people who preach tolerance who seem to be in actuality the least interested in tolerance and diversity.

-------- - PCW Extreme Political Satire. 5 days to PCW Extreme Election 2008.

Posted by: politicalchampionshipwrestling | October 30, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

McCain will WIN!

Posted by: seawolfR | October 30, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand in the least how middle-class "joe"s can look at the tax plans and think that Obama's tax plan will hurt them. It just goes to show that a witty quip is what sticks in people's minds and not the hard research.

Posted by: NfromRockville | October 30, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call it stupidity, but the ignorance is the clinging to the phrase "spread the wealth." If these folks live, as they say, in Joe the Plumber's community...they are not a part of the "wealth" discussion. As Ed Rendell said, most of them don't have "wealth," They have a mortgage. John McCain has wealth--so many houses that he didn't remember the number. Most of these folks know how many and how much the monthly mortgage is. They would be better served by the Obama plan, plain and simple.

Posted by: OneStop1 | October 30, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

From Toledo Ohio:

The Republican party is very weak in Lucas County Ohio (Toledo and surrounding communities.) There are 14 contests on the ballot that are uncontested by Republicans. Several other races have only token Republican candidates. There are very few McCain/Palin ads on television. I assume that they are spending their money where they have a better chance of winning. It is a sure bet that Barak Obama will garner a greater percentage of the vote here than he does nationally. 60/40 is a conservative guess.

Posted by: Lefty_ | October 30, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that Obama’s definition of wealthy fat cats has gone from 250K to 200K in the last week?

At this rate, by inauguration day Barack and his big government thugs will be mugging school kids for their lunch money.
Sorry kids, we’re building utopia here, big brother needs the money more than you do!

Posted by: dcn1 | October 30, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Fox zeros in on Republicans' problem: they campaign not to govern, but to keep Democrats from governing. Americans lack a positive reason to vote for them.

Posted by: jhbyer | October 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse


Obama's definition of a tax cut has not changed. He has always said that those making up to 250k would not see their taxes increased one penny and that those at 200k would see a tax CUT. These are the SAME levels during the Clinton years of PEACE and PROSPERITY. His tax plans will provide MORE relief to MOST Americans, including you.

Posted by: orbitcv | October 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it is too much fear to see the Senator Obama's financial policy. Tax increase would be another desaster in the America for middle and poor people. Not only that it looks like that his leadership could have high chance to motivate more Americans to be dependent on social welfare. Is American a lazy country? Never. It is a country of HARD WORK that bring financial gain for every citizen and makes the country financially stronger.....
Right now America needs a president who can protect this country from danger, create more jobs, energy independence, good education system, universal health care for all... Not increasing taxes and the Washington will use that money for only limited people.... Needs a president who can produce patriotic and responsible citizens. Of course, America has to look to rebuild friendship outside the world, but not this country keep a side, not looking the problems of this country.... Needs a president who has multiple moral valus who can create value-based citizens which can present the America a better country in the world. Value-based country is better than quick financial development nation. If any country has more value-based citizens that the country is more better finanically and more sustainable country in the world. I strongly urgue that American citizens must not look for the next president who not only can explain better or who pursues people, or who talks much or better .... but look for good and better skilled candidate for this time. May God bless America.

Posted by: nirmalgomes | October 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that these people, most of whom make well below $50,000 annually will benefit most from Obama's plan, I also think that Obama's comment on "spreading the wealth" was a gaffe. I agree that what he was trying to say was "give the middle class more in tax cuts so that they have more spending money," but that's Economic-speak, not plain English that most voters understand.

Incidentally, Joe the plumber is now well on his way to making a ton of money. Not by working as a plumber, but as a celebrity. He's hired a PR agent and is charging for appearances. I guess if McCain-Palin win, he'll be made Treasury Secretary. Or Secretary of State. Nothing surprises me with this ticket.

Posted by: jaysit | October 30, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I never hear McCain supporters talk about their candidate, why they like him, why his proposed policies are better. Instead, it's a smear or untrue statement against Obama.

I guess these are people who have always been republicans, so they want to vote for the Republican candidate. But they can't think of any other reason to vote for him.

The McCain campaign itself is the same way. Never "here's the good stuff about us." Instead it's "here's the lie about Obama. Spread it around."

Posted by: Lalalu | October 30, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we go again. I so hate it that the emotions and tensions of the political process eventually gets in the way of us trying to talk to one another about the issues of people pitching in to help other people. After a while none of us listen to reason, but only react personally...which, sadly, taints our judgment. And frankly, to suggest that "It's the same people who preach tolerance who seem...the least diversity" is just another splash of the combustible.


Don’t, even for a second, believe that we are not a caring, benevolent society. No matter the current public rancor. And don’t confuse this belief with any political ideology, either. Careful how you throw words or phrases at someone. Marxist, socialism, liberal...share the wealth? Would you use those words/phrases to really describe a social circumstance or to try and anger whomever you're talking to.

In example: “to endorse Obama is to endorse socialism.” Really?

Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production is owned by the state or some form of cooperative.

Using this definition, the following American institutions are socialist: police and fire departments, libraries, public schools, state government offices, departments of motor vehicles and prisons, not to mention Social Security and Medicare. For those who dread socialism you might, then, consider returning your Social Security checks to the U.S. Treasury when you retire...or rejecting Medicare when you become eligible.

And surely, none in my middle-class circle would suggest we do away with all public schools, since we cooperate as a society to financially support them.

There is a tongue-in-cheek definition of socialism. I suggest all those throwing political ladyfingers out there to consider it's personal twist. When the government does something for me, it's called social progress. When it does something for you, that's socialism.

Posted by: Genefox1 | October 30, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that Obama’s definition of wealthy fat cats has gone from 250K to 200K in the last week?

At this rate, by inauguration day Barack and his big government thugs will be mugging school kids for their lunch money.
Sorry kids, we’re building utopia here, big brother needs the money more than you do!
You are spreading lies here, and should be ashamed of yourself.

Obama’s stated position has always been a tax cut for people making less than 200,000, and a tax increase for people making over 250,000. It has always been part of his plan that people making between 200,000 and 250,000 would not see their taxes change. A few days ago, Biden said that "for example, someone making $150,000 would see a tax cut." This doesn't mean that the $250,000 figure is now down to $150,000. The Limbaughs and the Hannities (those who WOULD see their taxes increase) deliberately misinterpreted this, and their brain-dead followers all nodded in tow.

Posted by: jaysit | October 30, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Can Senator Obama's leadership garantee not to be increased more Americans on Social Welfare programs? When there is no enough jobs, no skilled people, lose administration, and so on... People look for welfare from government. It is not a good programs at all. Then I will vote for him. Tax increases is only one factor but what about other issues? I am really curious to know about Senator Obama's values that will lead his good leadership that every Americans want to know as I am. He always talks about his economic plan and blaming Bush administration... If Senator Obama talks about Bush administraiton, then what about Clinton era? Did he developed the nation as citizen expected? Not at all. He must think that McCain is not the the Bush or twins. He is different person and he must be applied different leadership theories.... I expect from the candidates what each of they can do, not who did or what did by others.

Posted by: nirmalgomes | October 30, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

not very bright. Joe the plumber and the majority of the country would benefit more with Obama's plan.

Since the Republicans couldnt scare people with social issues (abortion, gun control because of the economy's problems), they really lucked out to have an average American Joe promote a tax policy he and none of his buddies will ever fall under.

Big dreams for sale - at $12.75 per hour.


Posted by: Woodbridge45 | October 30, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Fools and their money are soon parted.

The Bush/Cheney Republican Administration was in office for eight years. During that time they had a Republican Congressional advantage for six of those years.

The country is in economic ruins.

They believe that McCain/Palin has a solution for the economy. McCain who admits he know little to nothing about the economy. The man who in September stated we had a fundamentally sound economy.

Please . . . . . .

. . . . . a fool and his money is soon parted.

For a Solution Vote for Obama/Biden!

Veterans for Obama!

Obama/Biden '08 '12

Posted by: seakayaker | October 30, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at some of the reasons these people are still hesitating to vote for Sen. Obama.

They remember the last 'Great Democratic Hope'- one William Jefferson Clinton- who said he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class. In 2003, thanks to Al Gore's tie-breaking vote, Bill Clinton signed into law a tax hike that raised taxes and balanced the budget but did so on the backs of middle class America who disproportionally was hit harder than the more affluent were.

Add to that Congressional Republicans who passed the NAFTA bill that Al Gore went on Larry King and said would be good for the country. Clinton signed it and what happened? Exactly what Ross Perot said was going to happen. That sucking sound you heard was good paying middle class American jobs leaving the country.

So I don't blame these people at all for being skeptical about the latest 'great Democratic hope.'

Posted by: politicalchampionshipwrestling | October 30, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, I meant 1993.

Posted by: politicalchampionshipwrestling | October 30, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

these guys who look like they haven't missed a meal, seem to be decent people. Too bad for them they are being misled.
My guess is out of fear: hate, racism, fear/hatemongering has been McBush and the GOP's main calling card, dividing America.

When you look on the other side, it's not Dems giving big breaks to the billionaires. Sheesh.

Posted by: ukeman | October 30, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

What is so amazing is that people think either an Obama or McCain presidency will change their lives.

The hospital staffer (FYI - largest source of minority jobs in US MSAs) will not see a radical change in any way. Actually, if the hospital is forced to take lower reimbursement from either Obama care or McCain care - they may lose their job.

The child in 10th grade who has not mastered English, Arithmetic, and a Physical Science....will not be able to compete against the child from Singapore, etc. When you fail the test in Pre-calc - you do NOT pick up extra points from the student who ACED it.

Lifelong learning, rewarding innovation are only way US will get out of this mess.

Posted by: jhpbriton | October 30, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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