Tuesday, October 21, 2008

John McCain and an Army of Joes

By Byron York
October 20, 2008

The real anger at McCain’s rallies.

Woodbridge, Va. — Tito Munoz was ready to rock when John McCain showed here up at the Connaughton Community Plaza in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday afternoon. Dressed in a yellow hard hat covered with McCain-Palin stickers, wearing an orange high-visibility vest, Munoz carried a hand-lettered sign that said CONSTRUCTION WORKER FOR McCAIN. He got a coveted spot in the bleachers directly behind McCain, where he could be seen in the camera shot along with the guy holding the sign that said PHIL THE BRICK LAYER and the woman with the ROSE THE TEACHER banner. He cheered a lot.



Everybody was playing on the Joe-the-Plumber theme. McCain spent a lot of time on it in his stump speech, using the now-famous Joe Wurzelbacher of Toledo, Ohio, as a stand-in for “small businessmen and women all over America [who] want to keep their earnings and not give it to the government.” McCain added that Obama’s response to Wurzelbacher — the assertion that it would be best to “spread the wealth around” — made Joe the Plumber “the only person to get a real answer out of Sen. Obama.”

The crowd laughed and cheered. But for them, Joe the Plumber is much more than a zinger in McCain’s stump speech. In recent days, the Joe the Plumber phenomenon has taken on a deeper meaning for McCain’s audiences, for two reasons. First, he is a symbol of their belief that Barack Obama is going to raise their taxes, regardless of what Obama says about hitting up only those taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year. They know Wurzelbacher doesn’t make that much, and they know they don’t make that much. And they’re not suspicious because they believe that someday they will make $250,000, and thus face higher taxes. No, they just don’t believe Obama right now. If he’s elected, they say, he’ll eventually come looking for taxpayers who make well below a quarter-million dollars, and that will include them.

The second reason Joe the Plumber resonates with the crowds is what his experience says about the media. Everybody here seems acutely aware of the once-over Wurzelbacher received from the press after his chance encounter with Obama was reported, first on Fox News, and then mentioned by McCain at last week’s presidential debate. Wurzelbacher found himself splashed across newspapers and cable shows, many of which reported that he didn’t have a plumber’s license, that he wasn’t a member of the plumbers’ union, that he had a lien against him for $1,182 in state taxes, and that he failed to comprehend what many commentators apparently felt was the indisputable fact that Barack Obama would lower his taxes, not raise them. As the people here in Woodbridge saw it, Joe was a guy who asked Barack Obama an inconvenient question — and for his troubles suddenly found himself under investigation by the media.

In the audience Saturday, there were plenty of people who were mad about it. There was real anger at this rally, but it wasn’t, as some erroneous press reports from other McCain rallies have suggested, aimed at Obama. It was aimed at the press. And that’s where Tito Munoz came in.



After McCain left, as the crowd filed out, Munoz made his way to an area near some loudspeakers. He attracted a few reporters when he started talking loudly, in heavily-accented English, about media mistreatment of Wurzelbacher. (It was clear that Spanish was Munoz’s native language, and he later told me he was born in Colombia.) When I first made my way over to him, Munoz thought I was there to give him the third degree.

“Are you going to check my license, too?” he asked me. “Are you going to check my immigration status? I’m ready, I have everything here. Whatever you want, I have it. I have my green card, I have my passport — “

I was a little surprised. Did Munoz really bring his papers with him to a McCain rally? I asked.

“Yeah, I have my papers right here,” he said. “I’m an American citizen. Right here, right here.” With that, he produced a U.S. passport, turned it to the page with his picture on it, and thrust it about an inch from my nose. “Right here,” he said. “In your face.”



Munoz said he owned a small construction business. “I have a license, if you guys want to check,” he said.

Someone asked why Munoz had come to the rally. “I support McCain, but I’ve come to face you guys because I’m disgusted with you guys,” he said. “Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong? Everything is possible in America. I made it. Joe the Plumber could make it even better than me. . . . I was born in Colombia, but I was made in the U.S.A.”

28 comments:

Merge Divide said...

Absolutely hilarious. The McCain/Palin ticket now has their own version of The Village people showing up at their rallies.

VoteNovember2008 said...

Wow, imagine that, now maybe the Repulicans can level the playing field since they have their own "fringe" supporting them. Oh and thanks for stopping by. VN8

Lee said...

What bothers the MSM, and by extension the Dems, is that Joe, Phil, Rose, Tito, and Connie don't believe that voting for BO will benefit them. They're self-reliant. It does my heart good to see these guys get in David Corn's face shove his condescending attitude back at him.

Angie ^i^ said...

Aw, Munoz saw what I saw and realized how the publicity Samuel got could possibly help his business too! Heck, he learned from the best though! McCain acted as if he was best buddies with Samuel at the debate, yet he had never even met the man! Why shouldn't Munoz give it a go to be the next Somebody the Something!

Cute Post!

OweMe1Cannoli said...

Yanno ... I just thought about this for a second: What a bane it must be to liberals to see a self-reliant democrat. Let alone a team of them.

Angie ^i^ said...

How judgmental to say that it's a rare thing to see a "self-reliant Democrat"! There are good in bad in every race, just as there is in people of different parties! I'm sure there are just as many Republicans who milk the system as there are Democrats, but I can't prove that point any more than you can prove that the majority of Democrats are not self-reliant!

VoteNovember2008 said...

LOL, Lee! It's because of repressed rage that we have bpttled up inside of us that you love seeing them get in his face! Tsk, tsk, all greedy and angry Conservatives should be in therapy and learn to have compassion for people who do not have the 10 to 14 hour a day drive to actually achieve a goal or a dream! They want it given to them by someone else who worked for it! Keep the faith, VN8

VoteNovember2008 said...

Bane is correct, BO's comment about the wealth was political suicide. If and that is an if, he should win, at the end of four years, he and President Carter can join forces at Habitat and maybe work on a Nobel project together. Wonder which one will want the credit? VN8

VoteNovember2008 said...

Oops, Angie, did you bring up race and an outright admission that dem's are milking the systmen all in in comment! WOW, thanks! Oh and thank you for being so complimentary, it was a cute post wasn't it! LOL. VN8

Angie ^i^ said...

Twist my words all you like! =)

VoteNovember2008 said...

Angie, thank you for your post but that is exactly what I read. I guess anything is up for interpretation. VN8

That dude Paul said...

I hope the repubs play this whole "insert a name and skill" thing until the left chokes on it.

How novel of an idea that the "average" American is taking the spotlight. Not a rich person, not a poor person, just an average American.

And to be honest, I'm really glad the Columbian gentleman stated his ethnic origin. "Born in Columbia, made in the USA". My hat is off to that gentleman.

VoteNovember2008 said...

Paul, I have a friend that grew up in socialist South American and calls the USA home and he has nothing nice to say about socialism or Hugo Chavez! It's amazing that if you haven't walked a mile in socialist shoes, you think it's so rosy! Hope you survived the PARTY! LOL VN8

Merge Divide said...

I wished every "conservative" worked 12-14 hours a day, like so many of them claim to do. That way, there wouldn't be so many inane posts filled with drivel about how the McCain campaign's new strategy is to hold a series of costume parties.

What McCain and so many of his supporters fail to realize is that there are now very real challenges facing this nation, and rhetoric and dress-up just don't cut it... what about an actual policy platform? That's something I'm just not hearing often enough from the Right.

VoteNovember2008 said...

Merge, thanks for stopping by again. You said the following:

"What McCain and so many of his supporters fail to realize is that there are now very real challenges facing this nation, and rhetoric and dress-up just don't cut it."

Actually that should read, "doesn't cut it."

Sorry, I'm sure you were educated in a government school and that's about the best you can do. Don't be discouraged and never stop trying. English grammar is a difficult language to master. VN8

Merge Divide said...

I was just trying to be as "folksy" as your masters. One would think that you'd show me a bit of appreciation for making an effort to talk down to you.

VoteNovember2008 said...

Merge, I would think by now you would recognize the Democrats mantra, "A Conservative has no compassion", especially for grammatical errors. LOL VN8

Merge Divide said...

Well... the fawning adoration among "conservatives" for Sarah Palin seems to suggest otherwise.

Actually, I think you might want to reassess your grammatical understanding. I used the word "don't" to refer to two things that "don't cut it". If I was referring to just one subject... the proper choice would have been "doesn't".

"rhetoric and dress-up just don't cut it."

"dress-up just doesn't cut it."

How ya like me now?

VoteNovember2008 said...

"How ya like me now?"

Considering that I don't know you from Adam's house cat, I don't have an opinion about my like or dislike of you. I do on the other hand have an opinion about your politics and they are unfavorable. VN8

Merge Divide said...

Come on now... you're not even going to acknowledge that you attempted to give me inaccurate grammar lessons? You can't even manage to pull off condescension successfully, and you're going to switch back to politics now? Don't you feel like a bit of a tool? You got "pwned", as the kids say (look it up).

Merge Divide said...

I bet you were home-schooled.

VoteNovember2008 said...

Merge, no I wasn't home schooled. Unfortunately, I went to public school where my seventh grade teacher brought a "little red book" to class to teach us about communism. Thank God my mother was tuned in to what I was being taught at school and put a stop to his attempt at indoctrination. Sorry to say that you apparently fell into the trap. Stop by anytime, you really are humorous. VN8

Merge Divide said...

"Unfortunately, I went to public school where my seventh grade teacher brought a "little red book" to class to teach us about communism."

Jeeezus... no wonder you're a Right Wing reactionary. I take back anything mean I've said to you in this thread.

Merge Divide said...

You know, I'm starting to wonder about your "associations". You've got a friend that grew up in "socialist South America" and you read the Communist Manifesto when you were in seventh grade... are you sure you aren't a plant?

"Who IS votenovember2008?"

VoteNovember2008 said...

Sounds like a Democrat looking for another "conspiracy" theory! LOL VN8

That dude Paul said...

Hey Vote...Let Merge contact ACORN and they'll count you as two communists...

And Merge...In your second post, "you wished that every conservative worked blah blah blah..." That's a pretty bold statement.

Actually, I'm in awe of you for rolling up in here and throwing around your five dollar words (My word for the day tomorrow will be "drivel").

But instead of insulting us inane drivelers who only work 8-10 hrs a day, why dont you turn your attention towards some of the the ZERO hour workday liberals. That way I dont have to "share the wealth" with as many folks if B.O. makes the cut.

My apologies ahead of time if you consider my comment drivel.
--Out

VoteNovember2008 said...

ThatdudePaul, don't you just love it when libs drop by and leave their drivel on the blog! They have a tendency to think we are all uneducated and have no common sense. Always a pleasure to have a patriot drop by and leave little pearls of wisdom. VN8

Merge Divide said...

Since when did "drivel" become a "$5 word"? I noticed you understood it, Paul.