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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Nothing in politics has ever made me angrier than the MSM's treatment of Joe the Plumber after his recent conversation with Obama. In the past, I was taken aback by the attacks on Palin, but she, at least, is a public figure. I was even more taken aback by the massive attacks (many of which are untrue) on Palin's family, and I considered that to be beyond the pale since they aren't really public figures. But the attacks on Joe the Plumber represent a whole new level of Media malfeasance. They are a massive and unwarranted intrusion into the life of a private citizen that has dredged up a few minor skeletons in his closet that have the potential of to cause severe negative consequences for him.

It turns out that Joe doesn't have a plumber's license. I don't have a plumber's license either. I've done plumbing in my house and in friends' and neighbors' houses. I'm not sure whether or not my plumbing without a license was illegal, but it certainly shouldn't be. As of this writing, it's not clear whether or not Joe's plumbing without a license was illegal (since he was working for a licensed plumber), but it certainly shouldn't be.

The MSM managed to dredge up some other problems, and I can relate to all of them. He's had driver's license problems, I've had driver's problems (due to petty out-of-state bureaucrats jerking me around). He has a tax problem, I've been audited four times by the IRS (though I only ended up owing money once and that was for only a few hundred dollars). He may have overestimated the revenue of the plumbing company that he works for, I've been known to overestimate some revenue projections for my companies (as my investors are sometimes quick to note). What it comes down to is that I could not possibly withstand the severe media scrutiny that Joe has had to endure and my bet is that very few people could.

That's the first part of what makes me so angry: the MSM can ruin anybody's life if it wants to, and apparently it will if it suits its purpose. And it gets to decide if and when ruining lives suits its purpose.

The second part of what makes me angry is that Joe's background has no bearing on his conversation with Obama. That's because it's immaterial who asked Obama the questions. It doesn't matter if the private citizen who asked the questions has a plumbing license or has overestimated the revenue of the company he's currently working for during an impromptu conversation. The only news of importance is Obama's responses to those questions and his responses are his responses regardless of who asked the questions.

And what was wrong with Obama's responses? Is it really any surprise that Obama wants to "spread the wealth around?" That he wants to "make sure that everybody who is behind [Joe], that they've got a chance at success, too?" Indeed, wouldn't Obama's supporters, including the MSM, be unhappy if Obama didn't want to do those things? Doesn't it even seem like a rather nice exchange highlighting Obama's compassion for the little guy?

So why destroy Joe? I've seen few theories that make any sense to me. The only one that makes some sense to me and fits some of the facts is the scariest: the MSM was hoping to hide Obama's true beliefs until after the election, making him a blank slate upon which each individual voter would project his or her own beliefs such that they would trust and then vote for Obama; Joe, because of his innocent questions, elicited one of the few defining responses ever from Obama; As a result, at least some potential swing voters might vote against Obama because there is now something written on the previously blank slate that they don't like; So the MSM, instead of trying to inform the public, has instead tried to keep information from the public and are livid that Joe the Plumber has ruined their plans by writing on Obama's blank slate and are taking revenge.

I hope that's not it, but whatever the reason, the fear of being raked over the coals like Joe the Plumber is not going to help public discourse in this democracy of ours.


Howard said...

Leftist don't want discourse, they want control.

Anonymous said...

"the fear of being raked over the coals like Joe the Plumber is not going to help public discourse in this democracy of ours"

Isn't that the simplest and most plausible explanation? It's not a complex thought like "we need to conceal Obama's real beliefs until he is elected", it is simply that you, peasant, are not to question your betters or make them look bad.

Which is basically what Howard wrote, only he was pithier.

Bret said...

OK. I'll buy that explanation. It's nice and simple at least, and not as evil.

My problem and resulting anger is the result of the fact that I am a peasant in that I can relate much more to Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin than I can my "betters" in the MSM and other chattering classes.