Posted by: tazlmo | October 21, 2008

A Caricature of Ordinariness: McCain evokes illusion of an average Joe.

During the last presidential debate McCain mentioned “Joe the Plumber” over 20 times.  McCain chose Joe Wurzelbacher, who once questioned Obama regarding his tax plan, to illustrate his deep concern for the economic security of small business owners and average Americans.  He also hoped to finally find a way to connect with America on that pesky economic issue, since it is not his strong suit.


McCain readily admits that he knows very little about the economy, and has to rely on advisors like Phil Graham, the bank lobbyist that called America “a nation of whiners” in response to economic concerns, and Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and co-chairperson for the McCain campaign. 


Meg Whitman’s 10 year tenure at eBay is littered with the destruction of small businesses and the expansion of eBay profits.  When Whitman was ironically tapped to introduced the McCain small business plan during the Republican National Convention, it is likely that some of those small business owners who once made their living selling merchandise on the eBay website, but who had to close shop when Whitman raised eBay’s commission prices, were not overly impressed. 


McCain continues to invoke Joe the plumber as a means to suggest that small business owners will suffer a severe tax burden under Obama, despite facts indicating the assertion is false.  In fact, small business owners making over 250,000 a year would only pay taxes on the excess amount under Obama. McCain doesn’t seem too concerned with facts, however, and didn’t even take the time to find out that Joe Wurzelbacher is not really a plumber, or that Joe only makes 40k a year and will actually save $500 a year on taxes under Obama’s plan.  Of course those facts don’t square with McCain’s desire to show his support for “average” small business owners, so maybe he just chose to ignore them.


McCain wants us to believe that he is interested in the economic affairs of average folks, despite his long record of supporting corporate business interests over everyone else. McCain is far more likely to support a business owner over any other average American, and was very slow, for instance, to respond to the housing crisis.  In February McCain said that a government fund “to help borrowers who are facing foreclosure on their homes” was an unnecessary step to solving the housing crisis.


Facts are not really important to the McCain campaign, since his VP, Sarah Palin has made a career out of reciting half truths and McCain tells outright lies regarding his record on veteran’s affairs and other issues. The campaign is now gearing up for a final round of character assassination, doubt creation and false rhetoric.  So far that binge has included robo calls accusing Obama of working closely with “terrorist” Bill Ayers, and assertions that he voted to let infants die, both of which are shameless lies.


Shameful is a good way to explain the race baiting, truth conflagration, and out right deception being employed by the Republican Party in their desperate attempts to win election 2008, by any means. 


Recent racial tensions whipped up at McCain rallies, his selection of Palin as his running mate, and the fact that McCain chose Joe, an extremely conservative critic of democrats, who has been featured on conservative radio programs, to represent his concern for the “common man” suggests that McCain is willing to pander to the most biased elements in our society to win. 


This divisive, win at any cost strategy, seems to clash with McCain’s “Country First” motto, and illustrates just how far the campaign will go to win. It is perhaps unfortunate for McCain, but probably very fortunate for the rest of us, that Joe Wurzelbacher is not even registered to vote.



Sources: Huffington Post, “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher Not Voting for McCain, Off the Bus, October 16, 2007.  MSNBC, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, October 16, 2008. Economist for Obama, The Other List: McCain’s Economic Advisers, June 14, 2008. Think Progress, McCain’s Record Of Denying Assistance To Homeowners, March 25, 3008.



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