October 17, 2008

I don't normally do "fisking," but in this case I'll make an exception

larryrohter.jpgThe New York Times lives up to its glorious reputation today with a hard-hitting investigative piece by Larry Rohter (pictured) on Joe "Enemy of the State" Wurzelbacher:

One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest house outside Toledo, Ohio, and thinking about how to buy the plumbing business where he works. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block last weekend to complain about taxes, he set himself on a path to becoming America’s newest media celebrity — and as such suddenly found himself facing celebrity-level scrutiny.

Yep, that's why he's being covered in the NYT: Because he complained about taxes. I'm pretty sure he's the first person in American history to do so, but keep in mind that fact-checking isn't really my cup of tea.

Joe's question is what's newsworthy. Their interest in the story has very little to do with Obama's answer.

As it turns out, Joe the Plumber, as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday’s final presidential debate, may work in the plumbing business, but he is not a licensed plumber.

Did you get that, America? And he dares to call himself a plumber! Of course, it's unclear at this point whether he actually needs a license to do the sort of work he does in Ohio. Or what it has to do with, well, anything. But still. Hey, isn't this how they caught the Unabomber?

By the way, let's set the record straight: He didn't become known as Joe the Plumber because McCain brought him up in the debate. He became known as Joe the Plumber because Obama couldn't remember his last name after McCain had just said it. (Yeah, McCain mispronounced it, but at least he made the attempt. It's kind of an unusual name.)

His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes back taxes, too, public records show. The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.

"Tax analysts." Do they have names? Credentials? Ahhh, who cares!

Also note that at this point in the story, the NYT has done a more thorough job investigating Joe Wurzelbacher than they've done with William Ayers.

None of that is likely to matter to those who see Mr. Wurzelbacher as a symbol of the entrepreneurial spirit they hope to foster with tax cuts, but even Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was shocked by all the attention.

"None of that," meaning the opinions of these anonymous tax analysts who say Joe has nothing to worry about. Anonymous tax analysts have feelings too, you dirty right-wingers.

And Joe may or may not be a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit. Sure, he says he wants to start his own business in the field he's spent years making a career in, but what does that really prove? The NYT wouldn't want to express an opinion on it one way or another.

Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity in Holland, Ohio, a single father who, as he said on national television, worked all day and came home to fix dinner and help his son, 13, with his homework.

But he became the hero of conservatives and Republicans when he stopped Mr. Obama, who was campaigning on his street, and asked whether he believed in the American dream. Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was concerned about having to pay higher taxes as an owner of a small business.

He stopped Obama in the street? Holy racism, he tried to mug Obama!

No, actually, Obama approached him. The One was gracing The Many with his presence by going around door to door in Joe's neighborhood. Because Obama is A Man Of The People (Who Do Not Displease Him With Their Effrontery). Joe was in his yard playing football with his kid, and Obama saw a photo op. Whoops. So get it straight: Joe was visited by the Messiah, not the other way around.

"I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year," he told Mr. Obama. "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"

That encounter wound up on YouTube and led to appearances on the Fox News Channel, interviews with conservative bloggers and a New York Post editorial, all of whom seized on a small part of Mr. Obama’s long reply. "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," Mr. Obama had said.

See, they didn't quote the whole thing! They just focused on the "spread the wealth" part, and the "I want to take your money and give it to people who are less successful than you because otherwise it's not fair" part. As if it's somehow relevant that Obama revealed to the whole world that he's a socialist. Who cares that he looked one of his inferiors in the eye and told the peasant he doesn't deserve the money he earns?

No, those Faux Noise creeps took Obama out of context. Namely: He's a boring socialist.

There's more -- almost 1,000 words in all, because it's just that big of a story -- but you get the idea. Cut to the big finish:

In his interview with Ms. Couric, Mr. Wurzelbacher, who voted Republican in Ohio's March primary

Say, how did Couric vote in the New York primary?

said that his encounter with Mr. Obama had been prompted by his desire "to ask one of these guys a question, and really corner them and get them to answer a question for once instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance."

He added, "He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr."

Get the picture, America? That's right: Joe the Plumber just called Obama a Jew.

Best NYT story since Jayson Blair left to pursue other opportunities. Clear some shelf space for your Pulitzer, Larry.

P.S. It might be presumptuous, but I hereby propose we change "fisking" to "Rohter-rooting."

P.P.S. The whole "He's not a licensed plumber!" non sequitur is really fantastic. So, if you happen to be standing in front of Obama when he publicly reveals his socialism, what does the media do? Demands to see your papers. That's just delicious, is what that is.

P.P.P.S. Thanks to Mr. Steyn for the mention.

Joe Wurzelbacher, American Hero!

Posted by Jim Treacher at October 17, 2008 05:06 AM