Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Bummer

We sure heard a lot about Joe the Plumber from John McCain last night. A regular slice of this here American life, this Joe, just trying to live the American Dream, right?

Well, when a Republican presidential candidate turns someone into an instant icon, my smell-o-meter goes into hyper-drive. Only it didn't take long to uncover this swine before the pearls.

From the Houston Chronicle's blog pages (the blog called Gimme Some Truth):

"Early in the debate last night, John McCain, in the role of Amos McCoy with a bad case of hemorrhoids, brought up a guy who had confronted Obama in Holland, Ohio, just outside of Toledo, at a campaign event on Sunday. This guy, Joe Wurzelbacher, who McCain called 'Joe the Plumber,' throughout the entire debate, became the central focus of McCain stream of lies and invective aimed at Obama. Obama responded well, and even addressed 'Joe' directly a couple of times himself.

"So. Who is Joe the Plumber? Apparently, he is actually is a plumber in Ohio, but clearly a McCain supporter. He told Obama that he was buying a business that just happened to make a little over $250,000 a year and why was Obama going to tax him. Conveniently, a camera with the appropriate microphone happened to be set up to perfectly record the exchange.

"Obama stopped and talked about his tax plans and trying to help small business. Clearly Joe was hostile to Obama during the exchange. Coincidently, an interview with Wurzelbacher popped up on the internet before the debate on a website run by Republican shill Carol Taber, who was caught in the 2004 campaign posing as a concerned mother when, in fact, she was an operative for Bush/Cheney. In the interview, he used the McCain talking point "redistribute wealth" that McCain pounded during the debate that night.

"So, are we to believe that a hard working plumber, who claims to work from 4:30 in the morning until 7:00 at night, single father, who is clearly not an Obama supporter, took off of work, came to Obama's rally, and positioned himself to get to Obama at precisely the same time that a professional cameraman with appropriate sound equipment was perfectly placed to record the whole thing? And the whole exchange just so happened to show up on the net prior to the debate, along with an interview with Joe, and then McCain featured him as his central theme?"

UPDATE: On ABC's Good Morning America today, Joe the Plumber admitted that "he had been invited" to the rally.

It gets better.

From the Toledo (Ohio) Blade:

'Joe the plumber' isn’t licensed

"Joe the Plumber" isn’t a plumber — at least not a licensed one, or a registered one.

A check of state and local licensing agencies in Ohio and Michigan shows no plumbing licenses under Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher’s name, or even misspellings of his name.

Mr. Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday morning that he worked for Newell Plumbing & Heating Co., a small local firm whose business addresses flow back to several residential homes, including one on Talmadge Road in Ottawa Hills.

According to Lucas County Building Inspection records, A. W. Newell Corp. does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell’s license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work.

He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he’s not a plumber.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was hired by Mr. Newell six years ago and that the possibility of him eventually buying the company was discussed during his job interview.

He said it’s his understanding he can work under Mr. Newell’s license as long as the licensed contractor works on the same site.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he is working on taking the Ohio plumbing contractors’ license test.

Mr. Wurzelbacher’s notoriety has raised the ire of Tom Joseph, business manager for Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, who claimed that Mr. Wurzelbacher didn’t undergo any apprenticeship training.

"When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it’s a little disreputable to start with," Mr. Joseph said. "We’re the real Joe the Plumber."

"This individual has got no schooling, no licenses, he’s never been to a training program, union or non-union, in the United States of America," Mr. Joseph said.

In January, 2007, the Ohio Department of Taxation placed a lien against him because $1,183 in personal property taxes had not been paid, but there has been no action in the case since it was filed.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Here's a copy of the lien.

So, much like his VP choice, John McCain's Joe is just another artifact of G.O.P. bancruptcy.

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