Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber and Obama -- The Point Is Not About Joe

By now I'm sure you heard about Joe the Plumber. While stumping in Ohio, Obama was asked by a Cleveland resident about his new tax plan. As the story goes, Joe was planning on expanding his plumbing business and was going to go over the mystical $250,000 mark. He asked Obama why he wanted to raise his taxes, to which Obama replied, "It is time to spread the wealth around."
Since then the news has been dominated by Joe the Plumber. He was mentioned prominently by Joe McCain during the debate and even got to give his own post-debate analysis.
And he featured in a new ad by McCain.
Today, Sarah Palin mentioned him while campaigning. Joe Biden mentioned him while campaigning.

The reason for all the press is that the event--not Joe--struck a chord with a lot of people. People who don't support Obama for his economic policies worry about how far to the left he is, even in his own party. They don't like the idea of redistribution of wealth. They don't like the idea a welfare state. Which is why normally Obama is much more crafty than this. He doesn't call it welfare, he calls it tax cuts--when in fact they aren't cuts at all, but handouts.

James Pethokoukis at US News and World Report writes in an article entitled "Did Barack 'Spread the Wealth' Obama Just Blow the Election?":
No. Really. You're kidding me. Barack Obama actually told that Joe the Plumber guy that he wants to "spread the wealth around." What, did Obama just get done reading the Wikipedia entry on Huey "Share the Wealth" Long or something? Was he somehow channeling that left-wing populist from the Depression? Talk about playing into the most extreme stereotype of your party, that it is infested with socialists.
Pethokoukis notes this finding from a Gallup poll this summer:
When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today's consumer, Americans overwhelmingly—by 84% to 13%—prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.
So what are the Democrats trying to do in response? They are trying to destroy Joe the Plumber. Toledo is investigating his (lack of) a proper plumbing license. He is being attacked from all sides. DailyKos published his home address so people could harass him.

The Anchoress understands why the left is so upset over Joe the Plumber:
Those words are what matters. It does not matter whether Obama said them to Joe the Plumber or Booby McBoobadoob. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the media swarm/feed. Stay focused on Obama’s words. THOSE are what matters.
This is why attacking the actual Joe doesn't matter. In a monumental slip, Obama showed his far left economic underpinnings. That doesn't mesh with the views of many, many Americans.

And he isn't learning. Today he, too, was talking about Joe the Plumber.
“He’s trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he’s fighting for,” Obama said. “How many plumbers you know that are making a quarter-million dollars a year?”
For God's sake, that is the point, Mr. Obama. America is a place where you start out as a simple plumber--or electrician or carpenter. Maybe one day you start your own business. The next you hire a few more employees. The thought that when you have a few more employees and have continued success that the government would swoop in an "share the wealth" with others is abhorrent. And frightening. It's not like a company making $250,000 a year now pays no taxes--it pays a fair share.

It is the simple thought that "sharing the wealth" is a good or just idea that I, and hopefully a majority of Americans, reject utterly.

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