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Joe the Economist

In this time of economic crisis, Republican Congressional staffers need information about economics and advice about economic policy. So who better to turn to then an unlicensed plumber who became famous for misunderstanding Obama’s tax policy?

Fresh off his stint as a war correspondent in Gaza, Joe the Plumber is now doing political strategy with Republicans.

When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill staffers who meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.

Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package. He’s apparently not a fan of the economic rescue package, according to members of the group.

Let me just say first of all, that while I’m not a fan of Joe Wulzelbacher, nor do I understand his persistent fame, I have to say that I do admire his ability to stretch his 15 minutes. That said, the fact that he appears to be seriously addressing congressional staffers on economic issues is a bid–sad. Surely the Republican Party has actual economic advisors they can turn to, with education, expertise and everything.

Or would that be too elitist for them these days?

(link via Steve Benen)

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About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    Elitist!

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  2. Pug says:

    Or would that be too elitist for them these days?

    They don’t need none of them pointy-headed economists with their fancy degrees.

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  3. Boyd says:

    …who became famous for misunderstanding Obama’s tax policy?

    Yes, when you point out the bad side of a policy, then you’re obviously misunderstanding it. Because nothing bad could come out of an Obama policy, could it?

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  4. Alex Knapp says:

    Boyd,

    Under Obama’s campaign tax proposals, Joe would have paid less in taxes than he did at the time, even in the business owning scenario he sketched out.

    But yeah, Obama policies can have bad sides. Frankly, I think that cutting taxes right now is stupid, unless you’re going for something broad-based and across the board, such as a payroll tax holiday.

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  5. Jim Henley says:

    So life is totally imitating Being There with this guy.

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  6. […] Alex Knapp@OTB addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.poliblogger.com%2F%3Fp%3D15012’; addthis_title = […]

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  7. Mr. Grouchypants says:

    Wurzelbacher didn’t become famous for misunderstanding Obama’s tax policy. He became famous because Obama mentioned spreading the wealth around in his response. Without that slip up, Wurzelbacher would have likely remained in obscurity.

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  8. Jay C. says:

    So, is this railing against his continued fame an expression of frustration for the majority of right-wing folks who are more intellectual and intelligent than he and yet are unable to be present when the Congresscritters hold court? A few blogs recently (Big Hollywood, and I think Anchoress) have written about the decline in intellectual quality in the blogosphere all together.

    There’s too much info, only 24 hours in a day, and what little time people leave towards discussing politics is so short that so many have to resort to bumper sticker arguments.

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  9. Dantheman says:

    Jim Henley,

    “So life is totally imitating Being There with this guy.”

    I think Joe the Plumber is the anti-Chauncey Gardener. Chauncey said lots of things which were true but had little apparent relevance to what was being discussed, and everyone added their own biases to interpret them in a way which made him seem profound. Joe says lots of things with readily apparent meaning as to the topics he is discussing which are both mundane and wrong.

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  10. Davebo says:

    That said, the fact that he appears to be seriously addressing congressional staffers on economic issues is a bid—sad. Surely the Republican Party has actual economic advisors they can turn to, with education, expertise and everything.

    Isn’t it obvious that they could care less about solutions to the crisis and are concentrating their energy on the optics rather than the problem?

    It’s sad, but totally predictable.

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  11. Steve Plunk says:

    Is Joe the only speaker to address the staffers? Of course not, that’s why this is nothing more than getting a working man’s perspective. He’s not replacing economists or other experts but just adding to the input. What is this JDS? Joe Derangement Syndrome?

    Joe’s fame came from having the balls to ask a question of Obama. We know the press was failing to ask any hard questions so seeing the average Joe step up was refreshing.

    And since when was asking a question considered “misunderstanding”. If he didn’t understand it then asking a question would be the proper thing to do. Or should us little people sit in silent ignorance?

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  12. Franklin says:

    Joe’s fame indeed came from asking a question. His infamy came from being a complete liar like his buddy Palin. If you want these two to be the heroes of your party, so be it. But personally I am not impressed with them.

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  13. Derrick says:

    What is this JDS? Joe Derangement Syndrome?

    Don’t worry I’m will be working on my JDS with a therapist, since it has obviously become all-consuming, as soon as I deal with my Elmo Derangement Syndrome that has given me a bad case of hives. Damn red puppet.

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  14. Steve Verdon says:

    That said, the fact that he appears to be seriously addressing congressional staffers on economic issues is a bid—sad. Surely the Republican Party has actual economic advisors they can turn to, with education, expertise and everything.

    I think it is fair to say that part of the Republican Party’s problem is that right now the people in charge of the party are anti-academia. After all that is where liberals live, right? So you can’t trust the professors…which is where you tend to find most economics experts. And even the one’s not in academia went through academia.

    I recall once watching Rush Limbaugh when he had his television show. He was going on and on about how the Fed and Alan Greenspan were concerned about the extremely low unemployment rate. That it was “bad” with the implication being it was actually a good thing and that Greenspan was a dolt. Nevermind that really low unemployment can be a precursor to higher inflation…which if Greenspan did nothing about and we ended up with higher inflation Limbaugh would probably be on his little hobby horse about that rocking back and forth at a furious pace as he blathered on about the idiocy of Greenspan. Never mind that these nerdy economists actually have a concept for this NAIRU.

    Bottomline, the current people in charge of the Republican Party are anti-intellectual. Probably stems from the Religious Right/Social Conservatives. Look at their views on evolutionary theory. Totally anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-evidence. Pretty sad really. A party that appears to basing a large part of its platform on ignorance.

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  15. Jay C. says:

    Steve, I don’t have numbers to back u my conjecture but I think ithe anti-intellectualism involved with Repubs has more to do with academic dominance by the Left. Hard to trust an academic spouting off Austrian economics on the off chance that he may say something outrageous about Jews, or, yes, abortion or some other cultural issue. BTW something I don’t quite like is the lumping of SoCons versus TheoCons. Two very different worldviews and goals, man.

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  16. Steven Donegal says:

    It’s probably safer to have Joe talk to the staffers than Larry Kudlow or Kevin Hassett. His ideas can’t be nearly as idiotic as theirs.

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  17. PD Shaw says:

    I think Steve Verdon is being a little hard on the Republicans. For one thing, public opinion polls show fairly consistent support of some form of creationism, so there is little incentive or need to get that issue right.

    I think there is a longer thread of populism in the Republican party that values practical experience over academic. It was in the Eisenhower/Stevenson campaign, and it was in Nixon’s cynical use of credentials to diffuse liberal criticism of his SCOTUS picks.

    We saw it last year when Republicans faced with the TARP bill went back to their communities and asked local lenders if lending was freezing up.

    And given that Obama is a technocrat, whose vulnerabilities are within the populist segment of his party and the country, I expect more populism from the Republicans. It’s the part of the plate that Obama is showing.

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  18. Steve Verdon says:

    Steve, I don’t have numbers to back u my conjecture but I think ithe anti-intellectualism involved with Repubs has more to do with academic dominance by the Left. Hard to trust an academic spouting off Austrian economics on the off chance that he may say something outrageous about Jews, or, yes, abortion or some other cultural issue. BTW something I don’t quite like is the lumping of SoCons versus TheoCons. Two very different worldviews and goals, man.

    Uhhhmmm what?

    Austrians and Republicans don’t mix well. Think paleo-con when you think Austrian (for the most part). Most opposed Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most despised Bush’s expansion of the State.

    However there are economists out there who might make a better fit with Republicans. For example the University of Minnesota.

    And yes, my point was precisely that the Republicans see academia as a haven for liberals and hence you can’t trust an academic becuase they are all liberals.

    PD,

    I think Steve Verdon is being a little hard on the Republicans. For one thing, public opinion polls show fairly consistent support of some form of creationism, so there is little incentive or need to get that issue right.

    I fail to see how this rebuts my point. If anything it underscores it. The Republicans see these poll results, note that most people go with the ingnorant/anti-intellectual view and so they adopt it as part of their party platform. Either that, or they are ignorant/anti-intellectual outright. Either way you have a party supporting an ignorant/anti-intellectual viewpoint.

    Now we see them trotting out Joe W. here to talk on economics and the current economic problems. Color me a big skeptical of his ability to grasp the actual problems here. But who knows, a broken clock is right at least twice a day so maybe he will get it right.

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  19. Floyd says:

    Let’s face it… All one really needs to be an Economist, is a diploma and an opinion.
    Each of us is at least half way there!
    If ANY Engineer,Doctor, or even Mechanic were wrong as often as the average economist,he would be soon out of work.
    Psychologists,economists,astrologists,and other fortune tellers are respected only by those desperate beyond credibility for their services.

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  20. Jim Henley says:

    Wurzelbacher didn’t become famous for misunderstanding Obama’s tax policy. He became famous because Obama mentioned spreading the wealth around in his response. Without that slip up, Wurzelbacher would have likely remained in obscurity.

    So Obama’s reference to “spreading the wealth around” was a “slip up?” That must mean you think he would have won the election by more if he hadn’t said it. What’s your estimate? 55% instead of 53%? 60%? How much did this “slip up” cost him?

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  21. Mr. Grouchypants says:

    It was a slip up because it struck many people as advocating some form of socialism and opened him up to criticism from Republicans on that front. And I have no idea how many votes it might have cost him, just as I don’t know how many votes his remark about visiting 57 states cost him. But they were both still slip ups.

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  22. mrbill says:

    Ok, just a note. Most plumbers do NOT have a “plumbers license”. They all work under the business owners license. He is the only one that has to get a license from most cities.

    There are apprentices and journeymen and Masters.

    Now, back to discussion, but wanted to put this “plastic turkey” to sleep.

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  23. Jim Henley says:

    It was a slip up because it struck many people as advocating some form of socialism and opened him up to criticism from Republicans on that front.

    Please understand I mean this in the nicest possible way: So? Also “many” is a funny-bunny word here.

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  24. Mr. Grouchypants says:

    So socialism isn’t that popular a political position in this country. When a politician says something that sounds socialist, that’s not generally a good thing.

    If the exchange was harmless for Obama, why were people so eager to dig up dirt on Wurzelbacher? Or was it just standard procedure for government officials to pull records on everyone Obama met along a rope line?

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  25. Jim Henley says:

    So socialism isn’t that popular a political position in this country. When a politician says something that sounds socialist, that’s not generally a good thing.

    “Socialism” is a very vague term, that different people use in different ways. In the sense you appear to be using it, it means just about any welfare-state policy, including social security, medicare, unemployment insurance, the progressive income tax and so on. This is common in libertarian and movement-conservative circles. Hey, fair enough! I have been that guy.

    Problem is, that kind of “socialism” is wildly popular in the United States, which is why six Republican presidents starting with Eisenhower have left the structure of the American welfare state substantially intact. And indeed, why Bush II’s downfall began in 2005 when he tried to set partial privatization of social security in motion.

    So, no. “Socialism” as political scientists use the term – government ownership of the means of production – is not popular. “Socialism” as conservatives and libertarians use the term is so popular as to be politically unassailable.

    If the exchange was harmless for Obama, why were people so eager to dig up dirt on Wurzelbacher?

    This is one of those rhetorical questions that are more interesting as real questions, actually. I think we have to start by recognizing that “people” is a divisible noun here.

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  26. steve s says:

    Joe the War Correspondent Economics Advisor doesn’t surprise me at all. I live in a county in N. Fla that would probably vote for a Palin/Joe the Plumber ticket 70-30. If you stapled some bibles to a dog you could probably get it elected to the school board here. I’m quite familiar with anti-intellectualism among Americans.

    Greetings From Idiot America

    Creationism. Intelligent Design. Faith-based this. Trust-your-gut that. There’s never been a better time to espouse, profit from, and believe in utter, unadulterated crap. And the crap is rising so high, it’s getting dangerous.

    Excellent piece here.

    It’s a few years old. Americans have turned away from the idiocy somewhat, and thrown the republicans out, but they’re still a big force.

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  27. steve s says:

    Dammit. I just went to register PalinWurzelbacher2012.com and found that someone beat me to it months ago.

    Registrant:
    Robert Freedman
    3824 NW 60th Street
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-1460
    United States

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: PALINWURZELBACHER2012.COM
    Created on: 30-Oct-08
    Expires on: 30-Oct-09
    Last Updated on: 30-Oct-08

    Still, here’s hoping it happens.

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  28. Floyd says:

    steve s
    Perhaps if you can’t be polite, you might try to be original.

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