I am sick of Joe the Plumber. Every time I see him on TV again, I wonder whether I'm watching The Onion TV. But I'm even more sick of the way the left is spinning his celebrity status. In particular, I'm appalled by two attacks I keep hearing over and over: (i) that the Republicans failed to properly "vet" Joe the Plumber, and (ii) that the Republicans are talking about Joe the Plumber rather than "the real issues in this campaign."
I hate the word "vet", and I'm disgusted by the use of the term as it applies to Joe the Plumber. Why in the world should anyone have vetted Joe the Plumber? Joe became famous not so much because of Joe, but because of Obama's "share the wealth" response. This wasn't a guy who was set up by the campaigns to tell a sad sad story. He was just a guy who didn't see Obama eye-to-eye, but who was minding his own business when Obama entered his domain. Joe said he’d like to be more successful and think about buying his own business, and asked Obama why that meant he should have to pay higher taxes, and Obama answered with “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” That question and, more so, that response, struck a chord. It wasn't about Joe himself. So why attack McCain for failing to “vet” the guy?
They should have vetted him better? Seriously? Have the Obamaphiles actually thought about the implications of that statement? Because when you think about it, what you are really saying is this: Knowing Barack Obama's supporters, the McCain campaign should have known to anticipate ad hominem attacks on this guy, and because of this, they should have just kept quiet until Obama stumbled upon a better citizen with a cleaner background and hoped that he or she could catch Obama talking about "spreading the wealth around" a second time.
If you are doing it on purpose, it takes some jumbo coconut balls to make that argument with a straight face. What was wrong with talking about some guy and his question without vetting the guy? You only need to vet someone like this if you know you are going to need to respond to ad hominem attacks. Granted, the MSM and Obama groupies did do a lot of that. Ben Smith looked into his voter registration. The MSM dug up tax liens on him and questioned his licensing as a plumber and persuaded government officials to look into his business, leftist blogs published his home address and checked his family tree. And it was, arguably, foreseeable. But really, who does all this say more about, McCain's people or Obama's people?
And while I understand that talking about Joe's license is a distraction from the real issues in this campaign, Joe's question and Obama's answers are interesting and important and represent a bona fide focus on bona fide issues, and this would remain true even if Joe was a McCain supporter from day one, even if the guy was a felon, even if he didn't make more than twenty grand a year, and even if he smoked drugs and dated ugly married women. Why and how Barack Obama wants to spread the wealth is a legitimate discussion of "the issues", and for some reason, Joe has become some sort of poster boy for that discussion. Silly, yes, but the discussion itself is not.
I can't wait for this election to be over.