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The Final Debate: Respect for Joe the Plumber

My father, Guy Armao, was a butcher. I confess to being embarrassed as a child by his occupation (“food store manager” was the euphemism I most employed). But the years, my father’s death and my lingering appreciation for a good T-bone have not only made me ashamed of my youthful chagrin but have also helped give me new insights into my father’s life.

I thought of him as I watched, with growing anger, last night’s presidential debate. Each time “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned, I substituted “Guy the Butcher.” I know that Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama hoped to show their understanding, their support, their empathy for the working people of America. What they ended up doing, though, was objectifying -- and to my mind, disrespecting -- the very people they claim to admire. Joe Wurzelbacher is not a gimmick or a slogan, and his hopes and fears deserve more than to be campaign fodder.

Making people -- and us “ordinary” folks are the best -- into props has become custom, almost de rigueur, in presidential politics. It's too bad they get forgotten until the next election comes around. And it's too bad that neither candidate thought to refer to the gentleman from Ohio as Mr. Wurzelbacher. I know that’s what “Guy the Butcher” would have done.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | October 16, 2008; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Next: Move Over, Joe the Plumber


Bravo! I couldn't agree more. Same for "Joe Six-Pack," which supposedly stands for all working class people (why? Over 1/2 of my extended family are teetotalers -- for religious reasons -- but some number of them aren't white collar workers) & guess what, women hold blue collar jobs, too!

Also, "hockey moms," which is a weird mixture of folks, is somehow a socioeconomic status? Huh? First, hockey is expensive, so most of us aren't (or shouldn't be) having trouble paying our mortgage (why have your kid in such an expensive sport if that's the case?). Because of the cost (although not, I hope, the attitude of the players, parents, or coaches) it might even be considered a -- dare we whisper it? -- elitist sport. Some hockey moms (but more hockey dads) may deserve the "pit bull" appellation, but most of us are in it for the kids & not for our own egos. I'm not sure why being so over-identified with your kids that you attack others at a kid's sporting event is something to brag about. Grow up & set an example, already.

In any event, from what you say, I am sure that Mr. Armao set a great example for you. Best wishes & thanks for making a great point.

Posted by: tselis | October 16, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, it appears that Joe the plumber is not Joe the plumber at all. According to latest reports Joe Wurzelbacher he works for a plumber, and Joe has no license. It expired in 2002 according to reports in the Baltimore Sun. According to reports from a fact digger responding to a Dan Rodricks post, Joe is not a registered voter either. What a fraud. Please check the Ohio Board of Licensing to verify. It is also reported that said Wurzelbacher is a relative of another Wurzelbacher( a registered Republican who has donated $10,000 in the last 2 yrs to the campaign )who has ties to Charles Keating. This is so typical. What a fraud if this is true.

Posted by: dwilliab | October 16, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

....uh, Jo-Anne, I hate to break it to you but Joe the Plumber...ain't. As another poster just reported....he's a McCain plant. You, me and the rest of the voters who watched this debate last night were taken by this desperate deception by the McCain/Palin camp. I wonder how much he was paid?

Posted by: dollylama | October 16, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

. . . . . unfortunately, Joe the Plumber is a gimmick, slippery with a lot of questions wrapped around him.

McCain learned something from the beating that he took in South Carolina in 2000, . . . . . hire the scum bags to work in his campaign!

John McCain has no honor, he doesn’t care for the 95 % of the citizens of this country and he certainly has no regard for Veterans!

Just look at his voting record:,0,4850795.story

From 2004 to 2006, the Disabled Veterans of America gave him annual scores ranging from 50% to the most recent 20% when it comes to supporting the group's legislative priorities. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a grade of "D" in its most recent analysis of voting records. The American Legion says he is dead wrong on the GI Bill, as does the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

When Obama (who has averaged an 86% rating from the Disabled Veterans of America) criticized McCain on the GI Bill, the Arizona senator angrily suggested that Obama's status as a non-veteran rendered his opinions on military matters worthless (an odd stance, as this standard would also discount the opinions of 85% of American men, 98.8% of American women and two-thirds of Congress). Then he invited a look at his own record by asserting, "I take a back seat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans."

So let's take McCain up on his invitation. Here is how he has stood on recent legislation supported by major veterans organizations:

* On Webb's GI Bill, he expressed opposition, and he was AWOL when it was time to vote on May 22.

* Last September, he voted against another Webb bill that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

* On a badly needed $1.5-billion increase for veterans medical services for fiscal year 2007 -- to be funded through closing corporate tax loopholes -- he voted no. He also voted against establishing a trust fund to bolster under-budgeted veterans hospitals.

* In May 2006, he voted against a $20-billion allotment for expanding swamped veterans medical facilities.

* In April 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Republicans who voted against an amendment to provide $430 million for veterans outpatient care.

* In March 2004, he voted against and helped defeat on a party-line vote a $1.8-billion reserve for veterans medical care, also funded by closing tax loopholes.

So here is where the McCain image and reality part company. It is certainly true that his affectionate and respectful rhetoric for America's servicemen and women takes a back seat to no one. But when it comes to improving the health and education of our veterans, McCain's record leaves them stranded by the side of the road.

Obama/Biden '08 '12

Posted by: seakayaker | October 16, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber is weirdly similar to "Good Old Schu," the fictitious war hero of the 1998 movie Wag the Dog. Schu is supposedly an American soldier, Sgt. William Schumacher, who is invented by a CIA official (Robert deNiro) and a movie director (Dustin Hoffman) in order to prolong a nonexistent war that the CIA has foisted on the American public to divert attention from a bungling administration

Posted by: PhilipL42 | October 16, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

What I find most telling is that even with the (contrived) support of "Joe the Plumber," the McCain camp still can't score political points by invoking him.

I haven't seen such whole-hearted willingness to, well, use somebody to score political points brings since Willie Horton. Enter Sarah Palin, happily inviting the press into her family's private lives for her own personal political gain. I bet Gary Hart wishes he'd thought of that!

Sigh. The most important political campaign in recent memory and I feel like I'm watching TMZ.

Creating Joe the Plumber and then invoking him as proof that Joe the Plumber supports McCain is eerily similar to Dick Cheney feeding anonymous "scoops" to Judith Miller, then going on Meet The Press and saying "Hey, it's not just me saying this, it's in the New York Times."

Is it possible Americans are becoming more media savvy? This can't be good for the old guard.

Posted by: Qrlx | October 16, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Not only is he not a plumber, he's not even registered to vote!

Posted by: trevin1 | October 16, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I feel encouraged by all the online postings that I've read that people aren't being suckered in by all of this "Joe the Plumber" nonsense. The man uses someone else's license illegally. Just like a typical republican, he's lied to manipulate his story to get a false outcome. Fortunately, most of us have figured out that investigative journalism does serve a purpose.
Joe the Plumber ought to be Joe the Indicted for being a tax cheat as reported by NPR.

Posted by: SYWanda | October 16, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

The thing about the polls that nobody is discussing is that 98% of the Blacks in this Country are going to vote for Obama.

Many White Supremacists(who think of the Black Race as genetically, socially, and culturally inferior but don't hate us) will vote for him.

The hard core Racists, White Supremacists and Black man hating lesbians support McCain and Palin.

Understand that the Racists, hard core White Supremacists and Black man hating lesbians (as well as many Mexicans who want to be White) are for lack of a better word DUMB, they will stay home if they think that McCain is a lock to win over Obama.

The Media would be doing Obama a disservice misleading the public by suggesting that Obama is leading or close because by suggesting this they motivate Racists and White Supremacists (Black man haters) to come out to vote which hurts Obama's chances.

So you Idiots need to stop telling the LIE that the media is falsely portraying Obama as slightly ahead because they want him to win. If the wanted him to win then they'd lie and say McCain was ahead thus causing more good, fair minded non-racists to turn out to elect him.


Posted by: Realbrother0003 | October 16, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

The first thing I said about Joe the Plummer when I saw him is "Redneck". They will check his profile and find he like 99.9% of these Idiots who claim to be "Undecided" are Registered Republicans, belong to the NRA, or KKK or some other Racist White organization(like Fox News) but yet they claim to be undecided.

Of course they sit up here and watch Barack Obama mop up the floor with McCain every day(all day) but yet are now "leaning" toward McCain because they liked his flip flopping positions and he "looked" more experienced(read he looked old as hell).

Its lame and silly.

The Republican Party has lost and they are even worse sore losers then Hillary.


Posted by: Realbrother0003 | October 16, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"It's too bad that neither candidate thought to refer to the gentleman from Ohio as Mr. Wurzelbacher."

I agree with the writer on this general principle, but not with this:
"Joe Wurzelbacher is not a gimmick or a slogan."

Are you sure? Joe Wurzelbacher looks a lot like a gimmick to me. A plumber about to buy a $250k+ business is an awfully convenient citizen for the McCain campaign.

"Plumber" gets the populist points, but $250k+ puts him in the one bracket where Obama might tax him more than McCain.

Wurzelbacher LOOKS a lot like a classic right-wing Republican. But he claims to be an independent. A lot of Republicans claim to be independents.

IF the McCain campaign wanted to recruit a plant, to ambush Obama, Wurzelbacher seems like exactly the sort of guy they'd be looking for.
"Oh no. No one's contacted me as far as being on the debate or as far as my name being used," Wurzelbacher said. "I have been contacted by them and asked to show up at a rally, but other than that, I just happened to be there and Barack Obama showed up."

Let's see if Wurzelbacher turns up at a GOP rally, shall we?

Posted by: kevrobb | October 16, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

And by the way,

"Wurzelbacher conceded today that he is not in danger of being hit with the higher tax rate. He acknowledged that he wants to buy a plumbing company for $250,000 to $280,000. That wouldn't be how much profit he would make from the firm.

He would make much less, he said.

That would seem to indicate that Wurzelbacher would not be subject to Obama's proposed tax increase from 36 percent to 39 percent for those making more than $250,000 per family. Instead, he would be eligible for a tax cut that Obama is proposing.

Nevertheless, the plumber said people shouldn't be 'punished' for success even if you become a billionaire."

Posted by: kevrobb | October 16, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

To Ms. Armao,

Well said.

Posted by: catblue8 | October 16, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Turns out that Joe does not make over $250,000 and is not rich like McCain has said. Well to do maybe, but not rich. Certainly not wealthy like a Gates, Buffet or Bloomberg.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 16, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

They're talking about change. You have to pay the piper and the person paying the piper calls the tune. That never changes. The election is not going to change the economy. It's looking good with gasoline coming down or at least better. The price of politics keeps going up. Politics is up and gas is down, the city is full of crime and we all fall down.

Posted by: deflag | October 17, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I do hope Ms. Armao will make a similar plea on behalf of the "ordinary" folks of the District of Columbia. The citizens of the District of Columbia deserve RESPECT from their local leaders. Ms. Aramo should send a copy of her commentary to Mayor Adrian Fenty and DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Robert Vinson Brannum

Posted by: robert158 | October 17, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

The pundits and reporters should reach out to Bill the Plumber, William Hite, General President of the Plumbers Union. He is from Chicago and has been an early and strong supporter of Barack obama

Posted by: Jimmy1920 | October 17, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Um...........actually...............Joe is not a plumber... and Wurzelbacher is the last name of the man who married Keating's daughter... you remember... of the Keathing five?

Moreover, he doesn't own a company, and is not a licensed plumber, which means he shouldn't be working as a plumber in Toledo, where it is requires.

Finally, he is upset about taxes no doubt because he owes back taxes...

So far, no one has pinned down exactly the relationship to Keating... and no one can explain why McCain contacted him and used him unvetted....

So they all wear egg on the face.

Posted by: dutchess2 | October 17, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Black Catholic Bishop Holley: Abortion Exploits African-American Community
One of the top black Catholic leaders in the nation issued a call for the African-American community to do more to reject abortion. Bishop Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, says a new report underscores the racist nature of abortion and how it preys on black Americans.
Bishop Holley issued a statement received responding to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, named after a former Planned Parenthood president, showing black women have abortions at five times the rate of white women.
“As an African American, I am saddened by evidence that Black women continue to be targeted by the abortion industry," the bishop said. "The loss of any child from abortion is a tragedy, but we must ask: Why are minority children being aborted at such disproportionate rates?”
“Our legitimate commitment to other social concerns must not push the primary moral issue of abortion onto the back burner. It clearly must be at the heart and center of our discussion of the survival of African American people,” Bishop Holley said.
The report, released in September, found that, although abortion rates have declined among all racial and ethnic groups, large disparities persist with Hispanic and black women obtaining abortions at rates three and five times higher, respectively, than non-Hispanic white women.
Between 1994 and 2004, the abortion rate for Hispanic women fell by 20% and there was a 30% decline among non-Hispanic white women. But black women saw the lowest decline -- at 15 percent during the same time period.
Black women account for 37% of abortions, white women for 34%, Hispanic women 22% and women of other races 8%.
Holley serves as chairman of the Sub-Committee on African American Affairs at the States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is a member of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
In comments provided to, Bishop Holley also called for the federal defunding of the abortion industry.
“Every year the federal government gives over $300 million to Planned Parenthood. Last year for the first time, Planned Parenthood took in over one billion dollars and reported a profit of $51 million,” he said of the supposed non-profit organization.
The Bishop called upon African Americans to “defend our community by rededicating ourselves to family life and marriage, promoting the gift of chastity and marital fidelity, committing ourselves to prayer and service to others and defending the life and dignity of each human person."
"We can welcome every child as a gift and we can overcome abortion," he said.

Posted by: 4elise | October 17, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

A Messiah Manufactured by Marxism
Proof is in the Public Record.
“The public record is our only proof,” says former Naval Intelligence Officer Marion Valentine.
“In 1963, while serving in Navy Intelligence (1958-1967), I read the FBI file on Frank Marshall Davis. He had outlined the Communist plan to take over America from within, by installing educators at all levels of our educational system, gaining control of the media, getting Liberal judges appointed, recruiting, training and backing people to be elected to public office.
“I have researched every piece of legislation I can find that the Liberal Democrats have passed since the early sixties, and if you will research for yourself, you will find that they have been slowly moving this country toward Socialism.
“When Obama announced he was running for President as an unknown with only one major speech at the DNC (that the DNC and MSM made so much fuss over), he aroused my old intel suspicions. So I started researching.
“I have not found any evidence to convince me he is a Muslim, bur I did find his radical associations were unusual. I found Frank Marshall Davis, who had fled from Chicago to Hawaii when Obama was 12 years old, was Obama’s mentor from then till Davis died in 1987.
“Davis put Obama in touch with the Socialist Party in Chicago (called the New Party) which Ayers is also a member of, (emphasis added) therefore the first “Planned” contact with Ayers. The New Party helped launch and finance Obama’s political career. Obama…selected, trained, groomed and scripted to become the “puppet” leader of the United Socialist States of America.

Posted by: 4elise | October 17, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber, Joe the Schlumber. A McCain-Palin pitiful campaign trick to make themselves appear populists. Joe was a contributor to Fox News along with his other embarrassing lack of plumbing credentials. He's a farce, mush like the other unrelenting lies of the McCainites. Will they never stop their grasping at straws and simply concede the inevitable? That is, that Obama is the best man for the job and WILL be the next and distinguished POTUS.

Posted by: buzziea | October 17, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

As so many have noted, Joe the Plumber is a fraud, used by McCain to control parts of his last debate in ways that are fundamentally dishonest ( There are two points, however, that also ought to be made. First, Obama surely knew that this guy was not a supporter (nor likely to become one), yet Obama allowed himself an open and frank conversation with Joe for about 5 minutes. This is at the end of a year and a half of a grueling campaign and in the final hectic weeks when there are enormous demands on the candidate's time. I am sure that Obama had no idea that Joe was a plant. That bespeaks a respect for the American voter so radically different from the way McCain treats voters that we all ought to notice. Secondly, McCain's use of this transparent device bespeaks a fundamental contempt for the American voter and a smug cynicism that the advantages of the device during the debate would not be offset by exposure afterwards (which he had to know was coming) because "his base", the media, would give him the kid glove treatment again. That certainty, and the fact that he appears to have been right, ought to be a source of more shame than I see. Professionals in the news business should feel insulted, and we members of the public ought to be searching for ways to express our displeasure.

Posted by: eroot | October 17, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

while the guy does reek of being a plant, obama would do well to adjust the tone of his comments. the whole concept behind it was a working class guy that aspires to own a business. democrats are supposed to support guys like that 100%. some of the comments from his campaign don't sound like that. joe the plumber is a concept. the background of a concept, or whether it has a tax lein, is irrelevant. obama's remarks, and how mccain is using them, will damage obama with moderates and right leaning independents. he needs to repair the damage. instead of "spread the wealth around" obama should say "putting people first". the latter is a known winner for dems.

Posted by: phosgene | October 17, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Touche Ms. Armao,
You have scratched an persistent itch with your comments. A particularly low objectifying moment came when Sen. McCain crowed sarcastically to his new friend: "Joe! You're rich! Congratulations!!" in order to mock the comments of Sen. Obama.

Posted by: HalK1 | October 17, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Bravo. Everyone in America no matter if you live in Washington,DC or West Virginia, have a relative who is a plummer, butcher, police officer, mechanic, etc.

I don't understand why McCain would be so easy to coin another persons life in that way. Now Joe speaks for all the plummers!

And offcourse, he dosn't want his taxes going up, even though McCains tax plan will cost Americans more money, Joe the plummer thinks it better to just save his as_ first!

Americans and there patriotic duty, to self first, country and countrymen last!

Posted by: vicbennettnet | October 18, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

The plumbers of last resort:
Seems like desperate Republican candidates always resort to plumbers - remember Watergate? I guess something is leaking. Remember Woody Allen's saying: "Not only is there no God, but it's impossible to get a plumber on a weekend (Tuesday!).
Sorry Joe W.: You shouldn't be out at rallies, but fixing pipes.
Michael S. Cullen, Berlin, Germany

Posted by: michaelscullen | October 18, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Joe the fraud would be more appropriate. Not only is he not a licensed plumber, but by all accounts he is not contemplating buying a plumbing business that has gross annual reciepts of $250,000. But, even if he did make such a purchase, his net taxable income would be less then one third of that giving him a tax break under the Obama plan. For this perpetrated fraud we should have respect? Please.

Posted by: murp | October 18, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

When did it become wrong for republicans to pay their fair share on taxes?

Why do they object to having enough money in the bank that we don't owe other countries more than we can afford to pay them if we vote againt them for anything?

Why do they consider roads and bridges and sewers and libraries and Senator salaries not their problem, to be paid only by the lower income people of this country?

Why can't they do their patriotic duty and pay their taxes like everyone else does?

Posted by: dutchess2 | October 18, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ''abortion-rights'' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ''pro-choice;'' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child - and let's remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ''murder'' - the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.

Posted by: 4elise | October 18, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: blueyes1 | October 18, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse


i had to chuckle to myself. joann, do you still believe in santa claus, the tooth fairy and sarah palin the vice presidential candidate?

joe the plumber--NOT--is like everything else in the mccain/palin campaign: phony, fake and illegimate.

Posted by: glenknowles | October 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Obama SCREWS Lower/Middle Class Taxpayers by Allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to Expire-Taxes Increase!
The Democrats have a dirty little secret that they don’t want you to know. It is that their mantra of Bush’s “Tax Cuts for the Rich” is unabashedly false. The rich paid a higher percentage of the total tax bill under the Bush plan than under Clinton. In fact, the expiration of the Bush tax cut savages the low- and middle-class voters.
This case has been made and fact-checked with the ever-liberal Snopes.Com. The Tax Foundation used “tax table” rates between the Bush and Clinton tax plans to shows a huge difference for low income taxpayers, sometimes even a 100% tax increase when going backward to the Clinton “tax table” rates versus Bush.
Not so fast, says Snopes! Tax rates do not equal marginal rates, so they run some numbers that supposedly reflect that. Even using their own numbers in the table below, the results are damning.
Single tax payers in three typical low to middle income categories have the taxes increased 12% on average
Single Taxpayer making $30K – Pays 15% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire
Single Taxpayer making $50K – Pays 10% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire
Single Taxpayer making $75K – Pays 11% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire
But married taxpayers in typical low to middle income really get the shaft! Their taxes are increased 20.5% on average
Married Taxpayer making $60K – Pays 19.5% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire
Married Taxpayer making $75K – Pays 21.5% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire
Married Taxpayer making $125K – Pays 20.5% more in taxes when Bush tax cuts expire

Posted by: 4elise | October 18, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think you are a bit deluded. Joe the plumber does not deserve respect, since he lied about his circumstances. His whole story was a lie, because he was planted as a tool by the GOP for McShame.

McCain is a fake also, and is media-made, his whole pretense about relating to the middle-class whom he never mentions is a lie also. All of his efforts are to help the very rich. He is very crafty -- how could you not see that?

I am just sorry Obama was snared by the trap McCain played so well. McCain is a master at distractions and not answering question directly.

Posted by: carrm67 | October 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

FOX news GOP'er Conservative Malzberg defender of all things McCain yesterday on FOX live airwaves ....insisted:

".. even though the actual Joe Wurzelbacher would do far better under Obama's tax plans, the real point is that raising taxes on the wealthy to give relief to the middle class removes any incentive for people to get rich....

Did McCain straight talk those straight facts during his publicity stunt call to his latest victim: Joe? Nah

Posted by: tselis "..."Joe Six-Pack," which supposedly stands for all working class people..."

Actually tselis, "Joe Six-Pack" is their polite term for White Trash.

That's the same Taliban-gelicals nee White Trash in USA-istan who were lushly rewarded behind the scenes of Tom Delay and Preacher Ralph Reed as being....

"whacko's so stupid they'll believe anything we tell them to believe" as revealed in the two's writings to each other during the document dump of DeLay's court hearings in the "charming" state of Texas.

Posted by: spritey | October 18, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It kind of reminds me of the time Bush went to Iraq to have a big photo op with the leader of the people who were standing up against Al-queda in Iraq. Within a few days the guy was murdered. Bush's photo with him just added to Al-queda's motivation for killing the guy.

Posted by: repudar711 | October 18, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

My issues with Sam have nothing to do with his occupation or class status. My issue is with his failure to pay his taxes.

Sam is now complaining about the media: "The media's worried about whether I've paid my taxes, they're worried about any number of silly things that have nothing to do with America,"

Tax evasion has everything to do with America. For example, tax revenues pay for: national security (US military, national guard, FBI, CIA, judicial system, etc); education (including research in science, medicine, and technology used to keep us healthy, safe, and economically competitive globally); transportation infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels vital to intrastate and interstate commerce); and public works (irrigation, water supply, flood control, hydroelectric power, etc).

When people like Joe the plumber failed to pay their taxes, they strike at the core of America's national security and economy.

In order to survive as a nation, we must collectively support our security and economy. Joe enjoys the security and economic opportunities provided by Americans for Americans, but he doesn't want to contribute toward these privileges. Not paying one’s taxes is as Un-American as one can be.

Posted by: jandcgall1 | October 19, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Listen Jo-Ann, my late father was also a butcher and his nickname was Joe; despite username, so is mine and I'm a retired delivery driver. Like my father, the only people I want to address me as Mr or Sir are those believing they alone deserve to be addressed by title. In deference to what you believe is due your father, I will call Joe or Sam the plumber, Mr. Wurzelbacher.

Mr. Wurzelbacher represented himself in the dream he holds, not in reality of current station in life. In doing so, Mr. Wurzelbacher showed he was ill-informed on difference between business earning vs revenue, and how Obama tax policy actually more beneficial; taking him closer to the dream of business ownership. To worsen the matter, he choice to do a political commentary of Obama's answer to him. Mr. Wurzelbacher is old enough to know, when you engage in attempts to discredit others you better have no skeletons in your closet. Of course Mr. Wurzelbacher tax lien should not be club used against him, many Americans have find themselves with tax problems because they were just trying to survive. However that is another reason Mr. Wurzelbacher's creditability was stained; how will McCain tax plans (a repeat of Bush's that Mr. Wurzelbacher had for last 8 years) be more favorable to him than Obama tax plan? In reality with Obama's tax plan Mr. Wurzelbacher will be able to pay off his tax lien sooner, and begin saving. Let's face facts, Mr. Wurzelbacher tried to advantage his confrontational style and competing tax plans ignorance into celebrityhood. He gladly accepted McCain's camp offer of being the Darling of what's wrong with Obama's tax plan, and showed himself to be mere tool. Mr. Wurzelbacher problem isn't Obama or McCain or media, yet he has an opportunity of coming away even better. All he has to do is exam the tax issue and be forthcoming on which of the candidates tax actually plan benefits plumbers, butchers, bakers and candlestickmakers. Right now Mr. Wurzelbacher is handling the problem he help created for himself by letting a small leak turn into a flood.

Posted by: JohnDebba | October 20, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

4elise are you aware of the topic? Nonetheless I have hardly seen a more pathetic example of cut and paste post with so little coherency. The only thing I caught in your rant was expiration of Bush tax cut affecting Obama' tax plan.

Someone is feeding you a lie. Obama's tax plan keeps the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for those earning less than $250,000. It's not cool or patriotic to live in self-induced ignorance

Posted by: JohnDebba | October 20, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

If I'm to draw any conclusions from the postings here and how the candidates have treated "Joe the Plumber", it would be these: Joe is there to be used and abused, and Obama's answer to Joe's question has to be completely forgotten.
I don't expect any other citizen, "plant" or otherwise, to be asking any more serious questions to either candidate soon.

Posted by: rmpatera | October 20, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

....uh, Jo-Anne, I hate to break it to you but Joe the Plumber...ain't. As another poster just reported....he's a McCain plant. You, me and the rest of the voters who watched this debate last night were taken by this desperate deception by the McCain/Palin camp. I wonder how much he was paid?

Posted by: dollylama | October 16, 2008 5:10 PM
Joe was not a plant and he is not on the McCain payroll. What he is, is a poor smuck who got caught up in a stunt by McCain who was looking for a club to use to pound Obama. Since McCain is unable to offer cogent arguments to counter Obama, he has to look for gimicks. It was McCain who turned the media circus on Joe. I don't blame Obama for addressing some of his responses (partially) to Joe. Not to do so would have been siezed upon by his opponents as weakness.

McCain lobbed Joe at Obama and Obama hit him out of the park. If anyone owes Joe an apology, it is McCain.

Posted by: lgaide | October 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann, with all due respect, this joe guy is Joe the Tax Evader, Joe the Liar, because his name is not even Joe. I don't think he is an honorabe as your dad.

Posted by: msreginacomcastnet | October 20, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

If you disliked how "Joe the Plumber" is being used by the candidate, then I bet you really enjoyed how the DailyKos and most of your colleagues at WaPo savaged the guy afterwards.

How dare a simple prole question Big Brother! Be happy with our tender leftist sympathy and a few more Gov't handouts from Obama!

Posted by: pgr88 | October 20, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber is a fraud and a liar. Enough already of this farce of a man who has so willingly bought into the media about himself. Just another attempt by the McCain campaign to distract voters from the fact that he has NO ECONOMIC PLAN.

Laurie, the Stay At Home Mom

Posted by: lsale | October 20, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Given the vitriol and (seemingly obligatory) hate spewed by the Leftie postings, I'd say old "Joe" really touched a nerve.

The guy asked a respectful and reasonable question, to which Senator Obama gave a most revealing (i.e., unscripted) answer. For that, of course, "Joe" must be vilified and destroyed.

"Joe" has faced more scrutiny in 6 days than Senator Obama has received in two years. Bizarre. But that's our media "elite" for you....

Oh, yeah, I forgot....To support anyone other than Senator Obama necessarily means one is a racist, stupid, or both. How convenient.

Why is it that the most intolerant voices (and ad hominem attacks) seem to come reliably from the Left?

As the saying goes, "It must suck to be you."

Posted by: pcbrig | October 20, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse


The American people must sacrifice in order to pay for 2 ongoing wars, a $700 bailout, and a spiraling national debt. If taxes don't go up, will money rain from the heavens?!

How do you propose to pay for the government's expenses? Don't say to cut government back, a la the "drown it in a bathtub" school of thought. That's nonsense. A country of 300 million people needs a proportionately sized government to handle its needs and functions.

So how, 4elise, will we pay our bills?

Posted by: undercover_hon | October 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

that should have said $700 BILLION bailout!

Posted by: undercover_hon | October 21, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Joe the Plumber" was on the Hannity and Colmes show last night. He behaved like a Hannity puppet. It was pathetic. Look it up on youtube..... In my opinion, He is a plant.

Posted by: ajaxada | October 21, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The drooling Obamabots cant seem to control that urge to dig at Joe the Plumber one more time. It shows the success to McCain that Joe the Plumber really was. The MSM found out more about Joe the Plumber in 24 hours than they did about Obama the candidate in 4 years.

The comment below is typical of the "wish Joe The Plumber would just go to hell" Obamabots.

"Well, it appears that Joe the plumber is not Joe the plumber at all. According to latest reports Joe Wurzelbacher he works for a plumber, and Joe has no license."

Apparently the leftist socialist Obamabots are a bit confused about working in America. Joe the plumber is indeed a plumber. As is the case with many jobs, you dont need an individual licence as long as the company you work for is licensed and bonded.

But the Obamabots are anxious to dig up as much dirt as they can on Joe the Plumber since Joe the Plumber accidentally spilled the SOCIALIST dirt on Obama.

Obamabots have to remember that the reason they currently hate Joe the Plumber is that he was the reason that Obama the SOCIALIST was known for who he really is, a socialist.

Had the MSM (like the idiots at WaPo) done their job, they could have reported that Obama was on the official rolls of New Party, a self-declared socialist party in Chicago years ago.

But alas, Obama the SOCIALIST was destined to be propped up as Obama the centrist since the MSM had decided that because he is black and democrat then whatever he says is golden and great and even though he is a definite SOCIALIST that is ok with them.

MSM has gone so far into the behind of Obama that the crowd there is maddening. WaPo writers are in his colon, Colin is in his colon. NYTimes writers are all in his colon. Man, talk about flexibility and stretching power. Obama sure does pack a tight colon.

Alas, the facade will eventually fade and the real Obama the Socialist will eventually be revealed. Most likely too late to have an honest election but the MSM are surely not known for promoting an honest election.

I have never in my long life seen so many MSM media so deeply in the pocket (or colon) of a candidate before. I suppose it is just signs of the times and how utterly corrupt the MSM has truly become.

Posted by: KMichaels | October 21, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse


In the last month, After Governor Sarah Palin and HER Administration was refused by The Alaska Superior Court, then refused by The Alaska Supreme Court to SQUASH the “Troopergate Investigation” against Sarah Palin, the Alaska State Legislative Investigation (LAW) moved on the investigation of the Firing of the Alaska State Public Safety Commissioner.

Gov.Sarah Palin “IS” found “GUILTY” by The Alaska State Legislature [60] Lawmakers, [Mostly Republicans] .in the Investigation of Firing" The Chief of The Alaska State Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan.

TROOPERGATE: In plain English, Sarah Palin has been legally PROVEN that she broke the Alaska State Ethics Law in ABUSING HER power in pushing for the firing of a State Trooper once married to her sister and by also ALLOWING her husband Todd Palin to use the Alaska Governor's Office in a crusade against the Officer. She is charged with 18 Ethic Violation Facts.

Currently the State of Alaska Personnel Board [appointed by Sara Palin} hired a private Investigator to continue the “Troopergate Investigation” on possible OTHER Ethic Violations which Palin allowed HER appointed Administration to participate in. Sarah Palins appointed State of Alaska, Attorney General Colberg, cannot participate to defend Gov. Palin or to defend her Administration. Why? Because he also is in conflict of interest

I am an Alaskan life voting Republican. This 2008 Election, I will [with pleasure] vote Democrat!

This Alaska Governor Palin has Destroyed and continues to attempt to Destroy "MANY GOOD ALASKAN PEOPLE(s)” Professionally and Politically during her "VERY SHORT" term position as Mayor in a small community Wasilla, Ak (Approx 5,000 + residents during her reign) and currently the Alaska State Governor.

McCain’s V.P. selection Sarah Palin unequivocally has NO business being the Alaska Governor, let alone, a USA Candidate for Vice President…..


I voted for Sarah Palin in Alaskans 2006 Governor Election. MISTAKE!.... Never Again… I repeat-NEVER AGAIN!!....Alaska Governor Palin is an absolute Embarrassment to the Alaska People(s) and "IS PROVEN” Over and Over to be an insatiable LIAR!!..
How can she possibly ASSUME to possess the ability to clean up America, when she cannot clean the progressive ''MESS" She has created, then left Alaska to run for the United States V.P. Yes, she .departed leaving “HERSELF and HER husband todd palins” Mess FOR Alaskans to Clean-Up!!

MCCAIN, you should be ASHAMED of yourself!!!! This victim (palin) has no business in this Presidential Arena.

Posted by: Alaskan Voter
Thank You,
History of Palin News & Investigation Report; Washington Post
Anchorage Daily News ;Newsweek; Alaska Politics

Posted by: Alaskanvoter | October 22, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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