I know I said I hoped we would be done with Joe the Plumber after the debate. But fate, in the form of a little digging by the local media in Toledo, took a hand and revealed that Joe Wurzelbacher is not exactly the person that John McCain depicted him as in the debate Wednesday night: your average middle-class working guy with aspirations to buy his own business and live out the American dream. And now that he’s been so revealed, the right wing is howling that he’s being hounded by the Obamabots and the liberal media elites who are making one last desperate attempt to salvage a win for Barack Obama before the inevitable juggernaut of John McCain’s maverickyness overtakes them like a herd of hunted moose on snowmobiles…wearing lipstick. Or something. Michelle Malkin has even come up with a term for the frothing pursuit of poor Joe: JTPDS, which stands for “Joe The Plumber Derangement Syndrome,” and she’s on a tear to defend him against this pitiless attack. Ironic, isn’t it, that Ms. Malkin would rise to such high dudgeon when she basically launched the same kind of attack against Graeme Frost, the seventh grader from Baltimore who had the temerity to speak up when the Bush administration was vetoing the SCHIP bill last year. But then, when it comes to shining examples of ironic convergence, Ms. Malkin has no peer.
At any rate, whatever has happened to Joe Wurzelbacher, it isn’t the fault of the media for — for once — doing their job and looking behind the curtain. The Obama campaign has had nothing to do with it. And if there’s anyone to get pissed off at, it’s John McCain for bringing him up in the debate and holding him up there as an example of the average guy just trying to get by. If the McCain campaign had done their vetting properly, they would have found out that Joe the Plumber wasn’t exactly ready for prime time. But then again, the McCain campaign hasn’t got a really good track record on vetting: Exhibit A – ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.
So either the McCain campaign strategists are really terrible at their job or they’re cynical enough to think that they can flim-flam the country into believing what they put out for consumption without the consumers reading the label.
Do I feel sorry for Joe and the mess he’s gotten in? Perhaps, but then, he picked up the ball the McCain campaign gave him and ran with it. And just like Exhibit A, he had either the arrogance or lack of foresight to see that when the spotlight turns on you, even if it’s only for your allotted fifteen minutes, it can be a harsh and cold experience.