October 16, 2008, - 12:36 pm

Enough About Joe the Plumber: Is Nightmarishly Bad Kevin Costner Flick Coming True?

By Debbie Schlussel
It’s not that I have anything against Joe the Plumber a/k/a Joe Wurzelbacher. He’s a Midwesterner, like me, and he wants to start a small business–an admirable pursuit. He seems like the average, common-sense-endowed, hard-working, blue-collar American. And he strikes me as a very smart, likeable guy. All good things. In fact, I like Joe the Plumber far better than McCain and Obama.
It’s just that–with his name mentioned ten or 11 times at last night’s final Presidential debate–I had to wonder if I was seeing life imitate bad art.
Remember the horrid Kevin Costner movie, “Swing Vote“? Well, how could you? Very few went to see it, and it bombed. But it was about a blue-collar worker who, because of a fluke, got to decide the election with his single vote. The Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates packed up their team and moved to “Bud”‘s hometown and held debates for an audience of one. All of the campaign commercials were directed toward him.


Unlike the drunken, ignorant “Bud”, Joe the Plumber seems responsible and he gets it. He sees that Obama is a socialist who wants to take his hard-earned money and tax him out of starting his small business. Costner’s “Bud” was an idiot. Joe the Plumber is the exact opposite.
That said, I think it was a mistake to focus so much on Joe the Plumber that much. It was fine for McCain to point out once or twice, or even three times, that Obama was bad for Joe the Plumber and the rest of us who find ourselves in Joe’s position–a great symbol of how Obama’s policies are bad for small business owners and average Americans. But there are lots of other American voters. Millions of ’em. And I think both candidates took the risk of boring them with the constant Joe references and made them wonder: What about us? Pandering to one voter among millions is annoying.
Maybe I’m wrong. But I think the person who got the most mileage out of last night’s debate was neither McCain nor Obama. The guy who benefited most was . . . Joe.
Enjoy those 15 minutes, Joe. And I hope you’re able to buy and succeed at your small business, realizing the American Dream. I wish you well, Joe.
And I’m so glad you’re a heckuva lot smarter and on the ball than Kevin Costner’s “Bud” from “Swing Vote.”
Sadly, I don’t think you’ll get to decide the election as in “Swing Vote.” Unfortunately, we may have a lot more Spicolis than Joes planning to vote in November. I hope not, but I’m not holding my breath.

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4 Responses

I think the bruhaha about Joe the Plumber just shows the shallowness of all the political discussion. If one guy like this can pre-empt essentially all the other issues and discussion, it means that everyone, candidates, the media and the viewers are just looking for simple discussion & quick fixes. If it wasn’t Joe the Plumber it would probably be something else just as shallow.
Just talking points and programs from both the candiates that are just electioneering anyway. Why do we treat these programs and positions as if they mean something? They’re just meaningless campaign promises or at most, very very general guides to what the successful candidate will do.
[CF: COULD NOT AGREE MORE. GREAT COMMENT. DS]

c f on October 16, 2008 at 2:03 pm

When Andy Warhol said that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, I’m sure most people back then took that as an overstatement. Now thanks to the mass media of today and the internet, truer words were never spoken.

Norman Blitzer on October 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm

I think you all are missing the point. Joe the Plumber is the perfect symbol for the danger of BHO’s economic plan. Sometimes the simplest point is the best. Joe may or may not be a great guy. Don’t know and don’t care. But, he represents the difference between Obama’s plans and McCain’s plans. If I were the McCain team, I would run his exchange with Obama on a constant loop until election day.

Blayne on October 17, 2008 at 7:50 am

We have had almost 20 years of William Jefferson Clinton the thug. Now we have another thug running for President – Obama. If someone embarrass you, have your gang in the media destroy them for you. Had Obama put out the word, his media would have ignored both Joe and Palin. With these two men, mean spirited takes on new meaning.

Burt on October 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm

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