Courtesy of the folks at Keystone Progress comes this priceless exchange with "Joe the Plumber," who as you may have heard, visited Pittsburgh earlier this week to hold forth on the Employee Free Choice Act:
Q: "What's the difference between the current National Labor Relations Act and the Employee Free Choice Act?"
A: "I know a little about a lot of things. I don't know a lot about everything ... I didn't say I was an expert, man."
Q: "So how can you come here and tell people how they should vote?"
The whole point of Joe the Plumber, as I understand it, is that he's supposed to symbolize the average American. What he's come to symbolize, though, is the Republican Party's contempt for average Americans ... and its contempt not just for facts, but for the belief that facts even matter.
I mean, really? You bring this guy to Pennsylvania to hold Arlen Specter's feet to the fire about EFCA ... and Joe literally does not know the first thing about it? Seriously? That's what you've got?
This guy is like a parody of the whole contemporary Republican approach to politics. Its contempt for people who know what the hell they are talking about ("elites," as the GOP calls them). Its belief that you can put any moose-hunting moron up for election, and expect people to make her a vice-president because they "identify" with her.
There used to be a time when the saying "anybody can be President" was a good thing. Implicit in it was the idea that if you worked hard and took the time to learn about how the world works, you could accomplish anything in this country. But obviously once you make Joe the Plumber into a political pundit, the phrase "anybody can be President" takes on a different meaning.
It means you can be president even if you DON'T work that hard, if you DON'T take the time to learn more than "a little about a lot of things." Anybody can be President in the same sense that anybody can be a winner in the Publisher's Clearing House. You could just be sitting on your couch, there's a knock on your door, and BAM! You're a political expert, whisked off to lucrative speaking engagements around the country!
Whatever else Joe demonstrates, his continued celebrity shows that conservatives regard politics as if it were the subject of a reality TV show. That's why they so richly deserved to lose last year's election -- and to go on losing. The only real question is why reporters -- who surely know better -- continue to flatter this guy with front-page news coverage.