If you're like me, you've probably been wondering, "What does 'Joe the Plumber' think of Pennsylvania's political landscape? Because after all, as an Ohio-dwelling non-licensed plumber, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher must know as much as about state politics as he does, say, the role of the media in a combat zone."
Well, my friends, wonder no longer: Joe the Plumber recently dropped in to share his thoughts on the person we should elect as our next governor. And surprise, surprise: It's Republican Sam Rohrer, a Harrisburg politician running well to the right of GOP frontrunner Tom Corbett.
Even if you don't give a damn about the gubernatorial race, PA Public Radio Scott Detrow's blog post about Wurzelbacher's recent visit is a hoot. What does Wurzelbacher think about John McCain, whose 2008 presidential campaign launched Joe into national celebrity?
"I don't owe him shit," he told Detrow. "He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it."
This is arguably true. Most of us just make idiots out of ourselves before a small circle of friends, family, or -- in the worst-case scenario -- blog readers. By contrast, McCain made it possible for Wurzelbacher to embarrass himself on a national stage.
Funnily enough, though, Wurzelbacher doesn't seem to want to stop.
According to Detrow, for example, Wurzelbacher told a gathering of Pennsylvania teabaggers that "John McCain is no public servant" -- he was, instead, a "career politician."
Hmmm. Let's see. McCain was born in 1936, and was first elected to Congress in 1982. He spent much of his first four-and-a-half decades in the military, and much of that time in a POW camp -- no doubt canvassing for campaign contributions.
As for Rohrer? Well, he hasn't been in politics as long as McCain, true. But that's because he's nearly 20 years younger. Born in 1955, he was first elected to the State legislature in 1992. So that means that he got into politics in his mid-30s -- nearly a full decade before McCain did. And much like McCain, he's been sucking on the public teat ever since.
I don't feel much need to defend McCain, who appears to be getting progressively crazier as he tries to fend off a teabagging challenger in his own Senate reelection bid. But even so, it's sad to see the right-wing deny that a POW had engaged in public service.
Oh, and since we're talking about biographies, it's worth noting that Rohrer attended Bob Fucking Jones University. He graduated from there in 1977 -- at a time when Bob Jones prohibited students of different races from dating. (Before that, the school didn't allow black students at all.) As the United States Supreme Court later summarized the school's policy in the mid-1970s:
Since May 29, 1975, the University has permitted unmarried Negroes to enroll; but a disciplinary rule prohibits interracial dating and marriage. That rule reads
There is to be no interracial dating.
2. Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled.
3. Students who date outside of their own race will be expelled.
4. Students who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University's dating rules and regulations will be expelled.
So why does Joe the Plumber support Rohrer? In the words of Scott Detrow, "They share many of the same values -- the Second Amendment, states' independence, 'integrity, honesty.'"
What's funny is that Joe insists he carefully vets these candidates. Really? Because it turns out that Rohrer's signature issue is abolishing the property tax as a means of school funding. How would Rohrer replace that revenue stream? "[B]y broadening the state sales tax to include more goods and services, such as nonprescription drugs and the fees that a home plumber charges."
But I'm sure Joe the Plumber was aware of that. Being a plumber and all.
Joe did urge fellow conservatives not to get too close to the Obama-isn't-a-U.S.-citizen crowd. "The birthers, the truthers -- if people are trying to bunch them [with tea partiers], that would kill us," he reportedly warned his audience. But cozying up to a gubernatorial candidate whose alma mater is a poster-child for post-Jim Crow racial bigotry? No PR hazards there!
I just hope Republicans listen carefully to what Joe has to say. If he can help them in 2010 as much as he did in 2008, he'll be doing the state a great service.