Thursday, October 16, 2008

A new American hero

It seems everyone has now heard of a plumber from Toledo, Ohio by the name of Joe Wurzelbacher. He has been cast as a hero of American politics just because he became the ordinary guy after debating economics with Barack Obama when meeting him on the campaign trail. His name was first invoked by John McCain, and from then on he was drawn into last nights' debate continually despite not being present and in the end both McCain and Obama seemed to be fighting to appeal directly to him for his vote often talking directly to Joe via the camera. Politicos strung together the mentions and it is staggering just how many times his name was invoked.
According to a Ragan article, Joe the Plumber has become a feature of over 1,000 Google news items and tweets from both the floor of the debate and from PRs and journalists across the US, some suggesting he was to be offered a seat in the next President's cabinet. Of course these things are fairly facetious but there is a symbolic role that Joe the Plumber is playing that is not lost on commentators.

While Joe will not be in government he is being used as a representative of the floating voter in the swing state. He is worried about the economy and is unsure which candidate will work hardest and do the best job in protecting Joe's business, his home, his family during the recession. Obama telling Joe that small businesses like his would be exempt from paying Health Insurance for employees may be attractive, it certainly seemed to catch McCain off guard, but now Joe is, as the New York Times suggests, a "proxy for all of the country's working people", what is his verdict.

The new star of American politics was instantly interviewed and his words posted to YouTube. For him it was McCain that won the debate and his vote, Obama was a bit too socialist and perhaps parochial with "everything starting at home". But will this be important? If Joe continues to be used as a cipher there is the chance that this unscripted yet articulate small businessman could be perceived as the authentic voice of middle America and so Obama needs to consider how he can win him over between now and Nov 4th.


Anonymous said...

jumping on the joe the plumber bandwagon eh and suggesting some uneducated fat bald git is going to decide the election

Shawn said...

Check out "Hey Joe the Plumber, If You End Up Paying More Taxes You're An Idiot"

Shawn said...

I believe you are wrong. Many people here don't give a damn about Joe the Plumber nor do they believe he has any chance of being used as a representative of the working/middle class in swing or any other states.
Poeple, many people, are fed up with the GOP, with McPalin's attacks and incitement of bigotry and hatred, with McCain's support of those attacks in the debate lasat night, and with the overall mess the GOP played a key role in getting us into.
Sure, the polls will likely sway a little bit back toward McCain, but Americans are pretty much decided. Obama is the best solution we have to fix Cheney, Bush, & Co.'s mess.
McCain is un-presidential, has been a part of the problem and put campaign first in the Palin pick, not "Country First".

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