"I am Joe the Plumber"

I was passing by the tv while my roomie was watching and caught a bunch of random people saying “I am Joe the Plumber”. Anyone know what this was for? Was it some kind of political commercial, or a comedy sketch? And was it a play on the recent “I am a PC” commercials?


It’s made the news over here, can’t say I understand it properly though :slight_smile:

What you saw on TV was a political ad for McCain.

ETA: You can see the ad on John McCain’s website. Just play the video on top.

I am Joe the Plumber

I am Joe the Plumber’s father’s mother’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

The part I couldn’t figure out is if that means those are all people who make over $250k in income per year, or if they’re more like Joe’s real-life situation. I don’t understand how either one is a particularly good message for McCain.

If the “I am a PC” commercials are recent, the “I am Tiger Woods” commercials predate them.

Huh? The message is that they are people who work hard for they’re money, they want to grow professionally and keep the extra income that they earn in the future due to their hard work and diligence. They have concerns about Obama’s “spread the wealth” mentality and platform.

That’s the message that’s intended, whether you think it’s a fair assessment of Obama or not. Seems pretty clear to me but I’m following the dialog pretty closely.

Ok, but correct me if I’m wrong: the entire point of Joe the Plumber was that Obama’s plan was bad for him because he will soon make more than $250k per year, right? Are all those people in the commercial saying, in effect, “I’m in the same position as Joe the Plumber (making more than $250k), so Obama’s plan sucks for me”?

I’m not trying to argue against McCain’s point, mind you. I’m just trying to understand the logic of this specific message. I figure it’s one of these:

  1. Look at all these regular folks. They all make more than $250k per year and they’ll all get screwed by Obama. You thought only the rich made that much money, but look at these regular folks that do! *
  2. Look at all these regular folks who make less than $250k per year. These people directly benefit from Obama’s tax cuts, but they’re still against his plan on general principle because “spreading the wealth” is just fundamentally wrong and/or bad for the economy. *
  3. Look at all these regular folks. Listen to the words “Joe the Plumber” over and over. Don’t think too hard about it. Let your emotion guide you. McCain!

#1 makes sense, but doesn’t seem like it’s going to appeal to too many actual regular folks. #2 makes sense, but it’s kind of a big logical leap to expect people to make on their own, and it also requires them to act against their own short-term self interests, which seems risky. #3 is, sadly, maybe dead on.

We’re clearly out of GQ territory now, but it’s kind of an interesting question. I suppose I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they masterfully crafted a commercial that sends message 1 to the rich folks and message 2 to the poor folks without explicitly saying either one. Are there obvious interpretations I haven’t thought of?

  • full disclosure: I completely disagree with this but am trying to present it in an unbiased way

What’s strange to me is that by now we know that Joe the Plumber was incorrect: he personally would benefit from the Obama’s plan, he doesn’t have enough money to buy the business, and even if he did it doesn’t have more than $250K of income so he wouldn’t be affected by the tax increase. But, McCain still keeps repeating this story. Is he feeble or just a liar?

I think the ad is supposed to evoke an “I’m Spartacus!” kind of image.

Irony is that Spartacus, were he alive today, would probably be supporting Obama. And McCain and Palin would probably be questioning the association between Spartacus and Obama–I can hear them calling Obama “a guy who pals around with a former gladiator, who lead a revolution against the Republic.”

People that vote for personal benefit only end up electing populists like Hugo Chavez, (almost) Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and in this case we’re probably going to be stuck with a populist too (regardless of who wins, I’ll add).

What mythical stoic American archetype are you invoking who doesn’t vote for personal benefit, or at least vote for the candidate who will inconvenience them least?

Everyone votes for personal benefit. Some of those people may define “personal benefit” more widely than you would, but they aren’t voting as a purely altruistic act. The antagonist relationship here isn’t between those who vote for their personal benefit and those who vote purely for altruistic reasons. It’s between those who think “personal benefit” is more likely to accrue through Obama and those who think “personal benefit” is more likely to accrue through McCain.

And McCain is losing even on THOSE merits.