Friday, February 28, 2014

So That's What Happened to Joe

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Good news, everyone! Joe the Plumber has finally landed on his feet and got himself a real job.
You may remember Joe the Plumber, the lovable lunkhead from Toledo, Ohio, who made a big splash in the 2008 presidential race. Turns out, he wasn’t actually a plumber, but he got in candidate Obama’s face, and that was enough to make him an overnight darling among the rubes and the ignoramii, who saw a reflection of themselves in his bullet-headed belligerence and his imperviousness to actual facts.
For instance, despite multiple experts asserting that Obama’s tax proposals would either have no effect on or would actually benefit people like him, JtP continued to insist his taxes would go up under Obama.
John McCain mentioned Joe so many times and hosted him at so many campaign appearances that one began to wonder if he was going to ditch his running mate and put Joe on the ticket.
In the aftermath of the McCain debacle, Joe kicked around the wingnut grifter circuit for a while, picking up one high-profile gig after another. The online right-wing consortium Pajamas Media put Joe back in the headlines when they sent him as a war correspondent to cover the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which was at the time boiling over in Gaza.
While there, Joe contributed some deathless gems of war journalism, such as saying, on camera, “I have thousands of questions, but I can’t think of the right one.”
Perhaps the high point of his career came in 2011, when he ran as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives against Democrat Marcy Kaptur. The low point came shortly after, when Kaptur stomped him like a loan shark collecting from a bad debtor.
After that, we heard from Ol’ Joe only sporadically, like the time he appeared in support of Arizona State Senate candidate Lori Klein and suggested that the solution for illegal immigration was “put a damn fence on the border, go into Mexico and start shooting.”
It looked like he was headed for that limbo from which no man returns until and unless he surfaces on “Dancing With The Stars” (if he’s lucky) or as a commenter or one of those “World’s Dumbest” shows on TruTV (if he’s not).
Then, from this week’s Toledo Blade newspaper, came the happy news that Joe had found employment — with Chrysler. He’d even joined the United Auto Workers union.
Wait, what? Joe the Not-Really-a-Plumber, that tireless crusader against Barack Obama and his “socialist” policies, the man who told us in no uncertain terms that “our Founding Fathers knew that socialism doesn’t work” (think about that one for a moment) is working for the company that was bailed out by the government, a move widely denounced as “socialism” by the right?
The man who appeared at an anti-union rally in Wisconsin in 2011 shouting, “Unions don’t deserve anything, you don’t deserve anything, you work for it yourself!” is now carrying a union card?
Once again, we have received incontrovertible proof, as science fiction writer Spider Robinson once said, that God is an iron. (“If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron.”)
I trust I’m not the only one chuckling at the fact that, as economist Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research told The Washington Post, “[Joe] wouldn’t have gotten a job in Toledo if Chrysler hadn’t been bailed out. … The unemployment rate in Toledo would have been at 15 percent.”
But fear not. Joe still holds fast to the only principle the Republican Party has left, summed up in the acronym IOKIYAR (“It’s OK If You’re A Republican”). Asked about his union membership after his vehemently anti-union stance, Joe explained himself by saying he doesn’t have a problem with private unions, like the one he’s in.
“Private unions, such as the UAW,” he wrote on his Facebook page, “is [sic] a choice between employees and employers. If that is what they want, then who am I to say you can’t have it?”
Unions for me and not for thee. Directly benefiting from government intervention in the economy while railing against it. Yep, he’s still a Republican, all right.
Government intervention can work. It can save jobs. Unions help workers. Joe and his ilk may never admit it, but they sure take advantage of it whenever they can.