I get the whole Joe the Plumber thing. I understand why McCain made him the most famous plumber since Mario. He gave a face to regular Americans who might be adversly affected by Barack Obama's tax plan. Joe had every right to ask the questions he did, and I understand why McCain made a big deal out of him. Joe was a regular American. "Joe Six-Pack" in the flesh. McCain held him up as a sort of ideal, a symbol of working class Americans everywhere who just wanted to get by and live the dream. I was outraged when the press started criticizing Joe--it wasn't his fault he was given 15 minutes--and felt the man should have been left alone. Obviously Joe felt differently.
Fine. No problem. People presumably less intelligent with less to offer have gotten famous for far less (Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, everyone who's ever been on "The Hills").
But now it's gone too far.
Joe the Plumber is actively stumping for John McCain. Yesterday, McCain said that if elected, "I'm going to Washington and I'm going to bring Joe the plumber with me." I have no idea if McCain was being facetious, but something tells me he was not.
So what's my problem with this?
By going on the trail with McCain, Joe Wurzelbacher is now officially a McCain surrogate. He is no longer "Joe Six-Pack." He is a spokesman for John McCain, not a regular citizen. Makes no mistake about it: Joe Wurzelbach is a member of John McCain's campaign. And when Joe Wurzelbacher makes statements like these, agreeing that an Obama presidency will be "Death to Israel," he needs to be disavowed like Bill Ayers and Reverand Wright. These words are damaging. Not only because they're untrue, but because they're divisive and will undoubtedly cause many impressionable Americans to believe Obama is some sort of anti-Semite, or at the very least not be as sensitive to Israel's issues as he should be.
Make no mistake. Joe Wurzelbacher is officially a McCain surrogate. He speaks on behalf of the campaign. If Joe wants to go off and try his hand at a singing career, or even a run for Congress, I wish him the best. But I'm tired of fear mongering. I'm tired of divisive politics. It's one thing for an American to be uninformed and make poor judgments. That might not be admirable, but it's allowed. It's a totally different thing when those uninformed opinions are not only validated, but endorsed by a man who very well could be the President of the United States.
So do us a favor. Don't present this man as some sort of policy expert. He is not. If you officially endorse his views (emphasis on officially), you should be held accountable when those views are inappropriate.
Thankfully some members of the press are calling Joe out on his remarks. It shouldn't be too much to ask that the man who might run this country, who claims to want to bring us all together, do the same.