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October 16, 2008 / compassioninpolitics

Fact Answers the Joe the Plumber Myth : Debate 2008 Coverage

Obama Wins the “Joe the Plumber” Debate + The Foreign Policy Implications of McCain’s Mis-truths:

I’ve tried to approach each presidential debate with an eye to fairness and objectivity and I hope this one was no exception. The main narrative discussed during this, the final debate of the 2008 season presidential election season was the infamous “Joe the Plumber” meme, but this issue was dealt with during the Nashville debate. Apparently, McCain and his campaign forgot:

McCain misstated his own health care plan, saying he’d give a $5,000 tax credit to “every American” His plan actually would provide only $2,500 per individual, or $5,000 for couples and families. He also misstated Obama’s health care plan, claiming it would levy fines on “small businesses” that fail to provide health insurance. Actually, Obama’s plan exempts “small businesses.”


When Obama explained the issue, McCain looked incredibly befuddled and surprised. Instead of rolling with the punches and adjusting his argument, McCain simply acted like Obama didn’t say anything. Its as if he didn’t know what else to do but repeat bold face lies that didn’t work in Nashville. At the very least this demonstrates the extreme desperation of the McCain campaign.

Frankly, I find Mc Cain’s line of argument to be untrue and insulting to the intelligence of the American people. Newsflash Mr. McCain repeating lies doesn’t make something truth. Is this the type of political negotiation tactics he expects to use both domestically and with respected foreign leaders? Frankly, this is the type of response we expect from 2nd graders who are confronted with the truth, not our national leaders. Are these the strategies the Republican party has inherited from Mr. Rove?

What’s so terribly sad about these shenanigans is this “Joe the Plumber” should have been the zinger that never was (according to the Nashville debate +, or the zinger that was never repeated, but the mainstream media seems to have taken up this dubious narrative as a mini-win for Mc Cain. (Seriously?) Luckily sounder minds have proclaimed Obama the victor in this evening’s presidential debate.

McCain is More Tax and Spend:
Also, on the taxing issue, Obama won with clarity of numbers, rather than word association games of McCain. While McCain relieves taxes on big companies, Obama’s economic plan decrease taxes on middle class consumers like you and me. Obama cited that his plan would improve the tax situation of 95% of Americans and only those in the upper class who make more than $250,000 per year would incur any extra tax burden. Why McCain continues this line of reasoning, despite direct and categorical refutation is beyond. Apparently, McCain believes that companies, the rich, and Wall Street should decide how to spend money, instead of middle class folks like you and me.

Obama: A Presidential Man of Leadership:
Obama continually demonstrated a better knowledge for the pulse of the nation, a calmer demeanor (which means he wouldn’t unneccessarily unload on foreign dignitaries or Congress people), and a better understanding of nuance and ultimately truth.

On McCain’s Campaign Games:
Obama effectively refuted the dubious associations the McCain campaign has pinned its focus and hopes on, as polls have dramatically tilted toward Obama. Obama directly told the American people who he looked to as advisors on economic and foreign policy issues, in sharp contrast to the dubious attempts at guilt by association by the McCain campaign. As Roger Simon in the Politico points out:

The biggest impact of the three presidential debates for Obama was not anything said or not said. It was impressionistic: Obama simply did not appear to be the scary “other” that McCain needs him to be. “When people suggest that I pal around with terrorists, then we are not talking about issues,” Obama said smoothly.

McCain’s Debate Wins the Battle, Loses the War:
Overall, the only issue McCain possibly “won” was on the Columbian Free Trade agreement. Alternatively, the Peruvian Free Trade Agreement which Obama cited as a much better alternative.

Update: Check out the comprehensive debate coverage at the Nashville Post. Kleinhelder did a nice job of

compiling posts.

Update Two: confirmed [some of] my line of reasoning above:

McCain said “Joe the plumber” faced “much higher taxes” under Obama’s tax plan and would pay a fine under Obama’s health care plan if he failed to provide coverage for his workers. But Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher would pay higher taxes only if the business he says he wants to buy puts his income over $200,000 a year, and his small business would be exempt from Obama’s requirement to provide coverage for workers.

Update Oct. 16: ABC News reported the morning after the debate that Wurzelbacher admitted to a reporter that he won’t actually make enough from his new plumbing business to pay Obama’s higher tax rates. ABC said his admission “would seem to indicate that he would be eligible for an Obama tax cut.”

(photocredit: dietrich)


Leave a Comment
  1. Greg Gilbert / Oct 16 2008 2:30 pm

    Has anyone looked into the facts of “Joe the Plumber’s” assertions regarding the business he intends to buy? How much is he paying, where is he getting the money, how many employees are there, what is the gross income of the company. There are so many ways for small businesses to limit their exposure to taxation that the central story sounds fishy to me.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Oct 17 2008 1:38 am

    Greg to answer your question the Washington Post online reports:

    >>Not all the attention has been welcomed. Wurzelbacher, 34, told the Associated Press that he was not a licensed plumber.

    >>Joe the Plumber is not exactly a plumber, he’s “not even close” to making the kind of money that would result in higher taxes from Democrat Barack Obama’s proposals and has such an aversion to taxes that a lien was filed against him by the state of Ohio.


  1. The Hofstra Debate: The Reaction : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

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