McCain Throws the Plumber in with the Kitchen Sink

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After John McCain throws everything in, including the kitchen sink, who does he call? “Joe the Plumber.” The last debate on Oct. 15 produced a new sideshow in the list of circus characters that have popped in and out of this year’s presidential election. McCain invoked “Joe the Plumber” as he tried to put a face to Obama’s tax policies. Joe Wurzelbacher, as he explained, was a plumber in Ohio who wanted to buy a business, yet under Obama’s policy he would be taxed more. This was McCain’s last-ditch attempt, at least for now, to depict the Obama campaign as actually bad for the middle class.
Did it work? No. The first thought that came to my mind was, “A plumber is making $250,000. Why am I in school?”
It turns out that “Joe the Plumber” isn’t even really “Joe” the plumber, but is in fact “Samuel” the plumber. I know what you are thinking, “Come on, that’s small.” But here’s the kicker: “Sam the Plumber” owes $1,200 in back taxes. I think Sam Wurzelbacher needs to first worry about paying his taxes at the current rate and then worry about what it would be like if he made over $250,000.
The license-free plumber probably now regrets asking Obama a taxation question at a recent campaign event. What Wurzelbacher should really regret and be angry about is the poor campaign McCain has run since the Republican Convention. Maybe if the McCain campaign had a better strategy, than “Joe the Plumber’s” question would have simply been a question and not the latest casualty in the election.
After McCain drained us with his plumber story (no pun intended), he then moved on to making people feel sorry for him due to the negativity of the campaign, citing Rep. John Lewis’ “George Wallace” comment. Ironically, according to the Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin, the McCain campaign is running negative messages on almost 80 percent of its ads. McCain then brought up the Ayers association, but Obama brushed it aside and said we needed to focus on the issues more.
McCain seemed to lose any momentum he had after the first 30 minutes. It was all cool for Obama with another win under his belt. Obama 3, McCain 0. Once again, those aren’t just my opinions. Let’s again look at the flash polls done after the debate. According to the CNN/Opinion Research Corp., Obama did better (58 percent to McCain’s 31 percent). Obama’s favorability was at 66 percent while McCain’s was at 49 percent. Not surprisingly, Obama did better on issues of health care, the economy and even taxes. Although the audience that watched the debate was more Democratic, there were more Republicans who watched the debate than the national average.
With McCain not producing any memorable moments and Obama not making any mistakes, it seems that the election is on course for an all-out win for the Democrats. While the polls may tighten nationally, the chances of Obama losing any of his states and not winning at least one of McCain’s is probably pretty low. McCain wasted his three chances to produce a knockout, which he desperately needed. All Obama needs to do now is wait for the clock to run out. It’s almost celebration time.
Conservatives believe that highlighting “Joe the Plumber” will rescue their sinking ship. The problem is that there are no lifeboats to pick them up. Maybe the reason McCain was not able to produce any great moments is that people simply aren’t listening to his party anymore.
During several of these debates, archconservative Sean Hannity said that there were devastating blows dealt to Obama and Biden. Really? The American people simply didn’t see it. Hannity boasted that Obama is one of the most liberal senators and that people won’t vote for a tax-and-spend, big government liberal. I’m actually glad he makes that argument because it has great ramifications. What if Obama, the most liberal senator according to the National Journal (a false claim, considering he doesn’t fully support universal healthcare, he’s mildly soft on the environment with support for drilling, doesn’t support same sex marriage and is mild on guns) wins by a landslide? Would it be the end of the Reagan/deregulation era? It couldn’t come soon enough.

Jaye Estrada is a third-year biological sciences major. He can be reached at estradaj@uci.edu.

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