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Column: McCain's Campaign Problem: Crap That Comes From Joe The Plumber

This story was written by Mario Moretto, The Maine Campus


In Columbus, Ohio, this Tuesday, one of Sen. John McCain's supporters that we've heard so much about asked whether a "vote for [Sen.] Obama is a vote for the death of Israel." Samuel Wurzelbacher -- better known as "Joe The Plumber" -- was campaigning with McCain that day in Columbus and responded, "I'll go ahead and agree with you on that."

One has to wonder: What is it the McCain campaign hopes to accomplish by having Joe The Plumber -- who is by no means a foreign policy expert or an expert on anything -- on the stump this campaign season? The campaign responded to questions about Wurzelbacher's comment in a statement saying, "while he's clearly his own man, so far Joe has offered some penetrating and clear analysis that cuts to the core of many of the concerns people have with Barack Obama's statements and policies. Whether it is Obama's willingness to sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or his plans to redistribute the paychecks of hardworking Americans, there is good reason to question the judgment that Obama would bring to the Oval Office."

McCain's campaign has said it will be drawing on the story of Joe the Plumber -- who isn't a licensed plumber and isn't named Joe -- during the final weeks of their campaign, including spending large sums of money on new TV ads that mention Wurzelbacher, in an attempt to highlight the differences between McCain's and Obama's economic policy. But is it really a good idea to have someone on the stump with you who is going to give the wink and nod to insane statements like "a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel"?

It depends. If the goal is to engage in yet another fear campaign to make less politically observant Americans vote based on flimsy scenarios, using Joe the Plumber on the campaign trail might be a great idea -- especially if you're going to release a press statement saying that he's offered "some penetrating and clear analysis." If the goal is to run a clean campaign or to rebuild your crumbling credibility, maybe you should leave Joe the Plumber at home.

Let's remember, Joe the Plumber also said, "I know just enough about foreign policy to probably be dangerous ... I have no idea where John McCain's position is ... I honestly want people to go out and find their own reasons. I tell people not to listen to everyone else's opinion. I'm not going to have them start listening to mine."

I recommend we all start taking Joe's advice. We should let him go back to work -- whatever it is he does as an unlicensed plumber -- where he can keep making a bunch of money that may or may not be taxed. Let's stop listening to him and start listening to people who know what they're talking about.

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