Yet another post about Joe, only, in this case, it not about Joe Biden, but a growing throng of people who identify with Joe the Plumber and resent attacks on him from the mainstream media and the Obama campaign for daring to ask the Messiah a question that elicited a truthful answer:
The crowd laughed and cheered. But for them, Joe the Plumber is much more than a zinger in McCain’s stump speech. In recent days, the Joe the Plumber phenomenon has taken on a deeper meaning for McCain’s audiences, for two reasons. First, he is a symbol of their belief that Barack Obama is going to raise their taxes, regardless of what Obama says about hitting up only those taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year. They know Wurzelbacher doesn’t make that much, and they know they don’t make that much. And they’re not suspicious because they believe that someday they will make $250,000, and thus face higher taxes. No, they just don’t believe Obama right now. If he’s elected, they say, he’ll eventually come looking for taxpayers who make well below a quarter-million dollars, and that will include them.
The second reason Joe the Plumber resonates with the crowds is what his experience says about the media. Everybody here seems acutely aware of the once-over Wurzelbacher received from the press after his chance encounter with Obama was reported, first on Fox News, and then mentioned by McCain at last week’s presidential debate. Wurzelbacher found himself splashed across newspapers and cable shows, many of which reported that he didn’t have a plumber’s license, that he wasn’t a member of the plumbers’ union, that he had a lien against him for $1,182 in state taxes, and that he failed to comprehend what many commentators apparently felt was the indisputable fact that Barack Obama would lower his taxes, not raise them. As the people here in Woodbridge saw it, Joe was a guy who asked Barack Obama an inconvenient question — and for his troubles suddenly found himself under investigation by the media.
In the audience Saturday, there were plenty of people who were mad about it. There was real anger at this rally, but it wasn’t, as some erroneous press reports from other McCain rallies have suggested, aimed at Obama. It was aimed at the press. And that’s where Tito Munoz came in.
Read the whole thing, especially the confrontation between Tito and a Caribbean-American woman who also identifies with Joe, and a reporter from The Nation. Their anger was clearly directed at the media and less so at Obama, but the media’s hounding of Joe may well have driven them off the fence and to McCain.
Can McCain harness this rising tide of anti-elite anger and concern about Obama’s redistributionist instincts, and ride it to the White House? I had my doubts when the "Joe story" first broke, but two weeks is an eternity in an election season.