It turns out the fairytale that was Joe the Plumber was merely that: a fairytale. Sam J. Wurzelbacher, better known by his misnomer Joe the Plumber (in reality he was an unlicensed contractor before becoming the McCain campaign's "regular guy" spokesman), told Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio program (really, people listen to Glenn Beck?) that the actions of the McCain campaign - and McCain himself - sickened him and made him want to "get off the bus after I talked to him."
What happened after that? Wurzelbacher continued to campaign for McCain, despite the fact that he made Joe feel "dirty." Now that's sticking to your morals!
When asked why he remained on the campaign if he did not like what he saw, he gave a classic wingnut response: "The thought of Barack Obama becoming president scares me even more." Ahh, the good ole' scare tactic approach. We've seen this before (Bush saying that America loses if the Democrats win in the mid-term elections of 2006, perennially misinformed columnist Bill Kristol begging people to be scared of Obama, etc.), but clearly it did not work in this year's election (at least not enough to keep Obama out of the White House). As the adage goes - old habits die hard.
If the Republicans want any chance of salvaging their hemorrhaging party in the next 5 years, they're really going to have to make some major changes. This would include finally dismantling the "moral majority" and the religious right that has, as Kathleen Parker said three weeks ago, been "killing the Republican Party." There's nothing wrong with religion (when practiced in a responsible way i.e. not like the FLDS or the Westboro Baptist Church or radical Islam). The problem is that when you pander to a religious group, you tend to alienate a lot of the rest of the population. Some Republicans have said (McCain included) that America is a Christian nation. This is not true. The First Amendment states that there is not a national religion, and from the letters of Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s and subsequent Supreme Court cases, we have seen the codification of the separation of church and state. Like Adams alluded to (and I have quoted this quote often on this blog): we are a nation of laws, not of men. The supreme law in America (the Constitution) states that there is no national religion.
There are other changes, and Colin Powell gets into a lot of what needs to be done with the Republican Party in his interview with Fareed Zakharia that will air this Sunday. In it, Powell says that the party needs to stop polarizing the country with their talk of small-town values' supremacy and need to not just try to pander to the black, Latino, and Asian vote, but genuinely listen to them and try to understand how they can better serve them (a politician's first duty is, after all, to serve his constituents).
Powell also says that it wouldn't hurt to stop listening to nutjobs like Rush Limbaugh.
So while Joe the Plumber seems to be a symbol of the current, stagnant Republican Party, those who claim to further the right-wing agenda, such as Glenn Beck, are more than willing to give him a mouthpiece. This even after Wurzelbacher proved his lack of logic by saying - and then defending - that a vote for Barack Obama would be a vote for the death of Israel (again with the scare tactics).
It is just another example of the Republican Party (and its radio host mouthpieces) not knowing when to stop with something/someone. For example, why is David Vitter speaking for the party at all? This is a man who frequented prostitutes yet is in Washington on a pro-family platform. Vitter recently went on a diatribe against the auto bailout, calling it "ass backward." Jay Leno said last night that Vitter should know "ass backwards" because he used to pay extra for it. It's funny, because it's true! This just shows to hypocrisy of the Republican Party at times.
It's funny that Joe the Plumber claims to be shocked at how dirty politics really is after being whored out by the McCain campaign. Did he live in a fantasy world where you don't need a license to practice contracting and Barack Obama was the devil incarnate? Maybe the Republican Party is in that same fantasy world, where America is a Christian nation and Sarah Palin is qualified to be president of the country. Either way, both need to wake up. Peace.
Photos - Republican Party brand (Buy Costumes)