Joe the Plumber Now John Galt

Seen on the drive into work this morning:  A Lexus GX470 sporting a bumper sticker reading, “I was Joe the Plumber. Now I’m John Galt.”

I’m not sure what to make of that but it’s quite a transition.  One wonders what he was driving when he was Joe the Plumber.

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FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    One wonders what he was driving when he was Joe the Plumber.

    Maybe plowing your car into his bumper sticker at an intersection would’ve given you the opportunity to ask.

    I mean, wow: combining Rand-fan stupidity with Joe-the-Plumber stupidity is breathtaking. I wonder how they’re paying for the car.

  2. DC Loser says:

    I wonder how they’re paying for the car.

    Probably with a subprime mortgage.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    If memory serves, John Galt was an engineer, not a plumber.

  4. legion says:

    I wonder how they’re paying for the car.
    Obviously, the driver carved it him/herself out of a single block of good American steel.

  5. Scott Swank says:

    I certainly hope those weren’t socialist, public roads he was driving on.

  6. Alternate version:

    “I was an idiot. Now I’m as asshole, too.”

  7. Bithead says:

    And there you have it, dear reader… a collection of what passes as cognitive thought among the left of today.

  8. odograph says:

    Here’s one for you, Bit. It’s from Will Wilkinson, not exactly of the left:

    By the way, Atlas buffs, the point of Atlas Shrugged is not that you are John Galt. The point is that you are not John Galt. The point is that you are, at your best, Eddie Willers. You’re smart, hardworking, productive, and true. But you’re no creative genius and you take innovation — John Galt — for granted. You don’t even know who he is! And this eventually leaves you weeping on abandoned train tracks.

  9. legion says:

    Uhhh, no Bit – that’s the sound of left-wing snark at the simplistic, greed-centered ‘I got mine’ philosophical morass that is Randian Objectivism.

    Or, we just like laughing at idiots like Joe the Plumber.

  10. DC Loser says:

    I don’t laugh at Joe the Plumber. He’s enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. I’m laughing at the people who hold him up as some kind of shining example of manhood or whatever.

  11. JKB says:

    You could take it as the bumper sticker slogan of someone who had hopes of forming a business, working hard and getting ahead but now that Obama’s inner socialist is coming out, has decide to just drop out and hang loose rather than see the outcome all their extra work taken away.

    “I was Joe the Plumber, Now I’m John Galt” is pretty succinct. But like art, means so much more to the observer.

  12. Bithead says:

    Uhhh, no Bit – that’s the sound of left-wing snark at the simplistic,

    Ummm, no, guys… it ain’t selling. If the right was to come up with stuff like you did here, you’d be screaming about how immature they were acting… and you’d be right.

  13. Davebo says:

    It makes me proud of my country to see Bithead defend that Galtoids and of course, Joe the Plumber.

    Because you see, a serious guy and not some immature blog commenter…

  14. Rick Almeida says:

    You could take it as the bumper sticker slogan of someone who had hopes of forming a business, working hard and getting ahead but now that Obama’s inner socialist is coming out, has decide to just drop out and hang loose rather than see the outcome all their extra work taken away.

    One could indeed take it that way, but one would then be marked a fool.

    Explain to us again how President Obama prevented Samuel Wurzelbacher from getting his plumbing license and/or buying a business?

    After that, you can try your hand at making the argument that said “plumber” is out living off the land in Montana rather than riding the gravy train of the wingnut welfare circuit.

  15. Phil Smith says:

    I dunno, I thought legion’s snark was pretty funny.

    However “stupid” Rand fans are (and if you don’t like her politics, try her epistemology – it was breathtakingly stupid), I would just say ignore the sentiment expressed on that bumper at your own electoral peril.

  16. legion says:

    Bit, you’re still projecting. And wrong. “Immaturity” is more-or-less a basic part of the definition of “snark”. Just because _you’d_ fail to realize your attempts at humor aren’t being taken seriously by the other side doesn’t mean the leftys have the same blind spot.

    Also, “conservative comedy” is an oxymoron.

  17. odograph says:

    “socialist”

    Heh, I saw someone suggest that socialist is the new epithet, now that liberal isn’t scary anymore.

    (Of course, the fact that Bush/Paulson laid out this socialization plan doesn’t seem to register with the newest version of the new right. They say “but they weren’t Real Republicans” in a plea that fools no one – except possibly themselves.)

  18. odograph says:

    I would just say ignore the sentiment expressed on that bumper at your own electoral peril.

    Are you sure they aren’t just recycled Ron Paul demonstrators?

    “First I was Ron Paul, then I was Joe the Plumber, and now I think I’m John Galt.”

  19. odograph says:

    BTW, I am actually sympathetic to Ron Paul demonstrators, and even to the Tea Party attendees.

    Sympathetic, but I don’t think their economic knowledge is really that deep.

  20. Anderson says:

    Sympathetic, but I don’t think their economic knowledge is really that deep.

    “Gold! Gold! Gold!”

    Not deep, but simple.

  21. JKB says:

    Explain to us again how President Obama prevented Samuel Wurzelbacher from getting his plumbing license and/or buying a business?

    The President did not prevent him from getting his license or buying the business. What has happened, however, is that by announcing plans to raise taxes, to increase energy cost through cap and trade and reduce deductions, the President has caused those who might be considering starting or buying businesses to think again as the potential return of such investments is now in doubt. This can be most visibly seen by the fact that business owners, in the form of stockholders, are selling their interests and generally not putting new money at risk. Perhaps the proposed taxes and price increases will lead to great return on investments, in which case, Liberals, who believe enough to put their money on the line, are poised to make a killing when the FUD clears.

    As for Joe the Plumber specifically, it is called symbolism. He had hopes and dreams, a fateful encounter with a teleprompterless presidential candidate created other opportunities. He adapted to the change.

    Re: Bush the socialist:
    Old boss is gone. New boss is the one to be concerned with now.

  22. Bithead says:

    Bit, you’re still projecting. And wrong. “Immaturity” is more-or-less a basic part of the definition of “snark”.

    But to be a snark, it also has to have the virtue of being funny;(ANd to be funny it must have some kernal of truth at the center of it) and you guys are deadly serious… this is supposed to be some kind of knee-jerk defense?

    Please.
    Face it, this is naught but venom, in search of self-justification.

  23. MM says:

    Ummm, no, guys… it ain’t selling. If the right was to come up with stuff like you did here, you’d be screaming about how immature they were acting… and you’d be right

    You mean like Michelle Malkin and Glenn and Helen Reynolds thinking that taking a little time off work is “Going Galt”?

    And yes, legion’s snark was pretty damn funny.

  24. Steve Plunk says:

    JKB is absolutely right. The symbolism lost on all of the Joe the Plumber critics and John Galt critics is just immense. They don’t get it, they don’t get how simple bumper stickers are a symbol of growing mistrust and disgust of government policies. Sure play the games and dissect Rand’s Objectivism while the productive class gets hammered by the new Hope. The markets are evidence of our lack of hope.

    As the left continues to rip away at symbolic Joe, Rush, and now John they will miss seeing the real people who grow more disillusioned every day.

  25. Phil Smith says:

    Keep thinking it’s just the Paultards.

  26. Alex Knapp says:

    JKB is absolutely right. The symbolism lost on all of the Joe the Plumber critics and John Galt critics is just immense. They don’t get it, they don’t get how simple bumper stickers are a symbol of growing mistrust and disgust of government policies.

    So let me get this straight – for conservatives, when the President of the United States adopted a policy that he could detain anyone he wanted indefinitely, and torture them without limit, there was no “mistrust and disgust of government policies”, but bring tax rates back to where they were less than a decade ago and NOW you mistrust?

    Is there any wonder there are fewer “conservatives” every year?

  27. Bithead says:

    So let me get this straight – for conservatives, when the President of the United States adopted a policy that he could detain anyone he wanted indefinitely, and torture them without limit

    And in what fantasy world did THIS occur?

    And Alex? Perhaps part of the issue you’re missing is whom each administration’s policies target.

  28. Phil Smith says:

    So, Alex – how did ignoring that sentiment work out for the conservatives?

    But let me ask you – did you know anyone who got detained indefinitely or tortured? No? The hell you say!!

    Now – know anybody who’s worried about their job? Know any seniors who are worried about their retirement accounts? Know anybody who has gotten laid off? And here’s the real question – do you recognize that humans don’t process these fears rationally, no matter how much we wish they would? Hell, 58% of American categorically oppose torture, and the vast majority have never experienced it outside of frat hazing. Even without any actual personal experience with it, there’s no doubt it was a major factor in both 06 and 08. The economy is an issue with literally infinitely more immediacy for the voter. Even the 91% of us who still have jobs are worried.

    But here’s the funny part – Obama isn’t going to change the torture policies of the Bush administration in any other than a symbolic sense. The CIA is not subject to the Army field interrogation manual. Rendition isn’t going away. But we’re going to close Gitmo!

  29. anjin-san says:

    Ummm, no, guys… it ain’t selling

    Probably because you lack the intellectual capital required for purchase…

    btw Atlas Shrugged is still one of my top 10 books of all time.

  30. anjin-san says:

    But to be a snark, it also has to have the virtue of being funny

    This leads us to conclude you don’t read your own snarks…

  31. MM says:

    OK Steve Plunk and Phil Smith:

    If you two are to “Go John Galt”, how exactly are you irreplaceable? Why would you cutting back hours or quitting entirely have any lasting impact at all that could not be made up by someone else in your profession(s)?

    No it’s not all Ron Paul fans, but the people who are threatening to run out to Galt’s Gulch would be doing nothing more than (as we used to call it way back in 2008) retiring.

  32. Phil Smith says:

    MM: Did I say, “I’m going John Galt?” Did I endorse it as a reasonable activity? No. What I said was that this sentiment, if not reckoned with, will have electoral consequences. So far, the responses I’ve gotten are “Torture is bad” and “You’re not going to do something that you never even remotely indicated you had any intention of doing.”

  33. odograph says:

    The demographic data is exactly opposite to “going Galt.” Quitting is way down. Retirement is down. People are buckling down with the jobs they have.

    That’s because most people are more pragmatist than ideologue, and in a down economy you don’t take chances.

  34. Steve Plunk says:

    Alex, It’s time to quit the nonsense about foreign detainees and all of that. It’s a war and those are non-citizens. We had one case of a citizens being held as the legalities were worked through. Torture? Once again the hubris is so much more than reality, local cops torture more. It’s not right but again there is a gray area of what is torture to this day. Obama must agree as many of these policies are still around.

    It’s more than raising taxes, it’s where those tax revenues are going. It’s also many other policies that effectively marginalize the productive business class.

    MM, Who said I was going John Galt? Again it’s the symbolism of John Galt. I got people to employ, a family to feed, and all of the day to day responsibilities of a businessman. “Atlas Shrugged” was fiction filled with lessons and examples of what to watch out for. People like me don’t take it all literally. Don’t make us your straw men like you did with poor Joe the Plumber. Grasp the symbolism and frustration it represents.

  35. odograph says:

    Steve, the symbolism as I see it rests on a very thin understanding of our world: There is a stimulus, taxes will be raised sometime in the future … oh noes, I am John Galt!

    The fact that there is no mention of a very unique economic situation, a global downturn, one shattering assumptions about the safety of unregulated markets … makes these guys look disconnected, played, used. It’s an emotional thing, operating on a disquieting wavelength.

    I mean, can you see anything good or productive coming out of the new Randians? What would it be? Are they yet saying “cut my benefits?” or is it still “i want my benefits, cut my taxes!”

    Pfft! Galt. As if Galt demanded a gasoline tax holiday so he could drive his fat ass to the mall.

  36. Eneils Bailey says:

    I’m not sure what to make of that but it’s quite a transition. One wonders what he was driving when he was Joe the Plumber.

    You really don’t want to go there.

    One wonders what kind a person Obama was while he was a community organizer, knew Bill Ayers, associated with Tony Rezcho, and worshiped at the feet of the Holy reverend Wright.

    You have to understand…Tit is for tat. ..and my tit is bigger than your tat.

  37. Steve Plunk says:

    Odo, Isn’t this symbolism no different than a “Hope and Change” bumper sticker? I mean it all is more complicated than that as well. As complicated as it is sometimes a simple slogan or rallying idea can incite thought. The idea of John Galt will do just that without anyone actually going John Galt.

    The tax hike issue and economic stimulus issue are infuriating because both are a cover for more ambitious changes. After all “can’t let a good crisis go to waste”. We know leftists like Obama will use this as a way to advance policies contrary to what we believe and contrary to what a majority of Americans believe. That’s why they need a crisis to get it done.

    As for unregulated markets, I see government market interference as the problem, not market failure. We could argue that all day but opinions differ.

    No one would demand a gas tax holiday for any reason other than economic stimulus. It would certainly be as effective as what congress passed and the President signed.

    So the symbolism represents a real feeling of betrayal by the government. Earmarks, Pelosi’s jets, Obama’s $100 a pound steak, a treasury secretary who didn’t pay his taxes, Barney Frank housing a prostitution service one decade and ruining America’s housing in another. It all adds up in the minds of Americans and sometimes we make jokes about it (think SNL) and sometimes we use symbolic references like John Galt.

  38. sam says:

    I’d be suprised if Joe the Plumber knows who John Galt is.

  39. Eneils Bailey says:

    John Galt,
    Was he a hero or a political fanatic.
    I have talked to some of his relatives… they will get back to me… after Obama pays off their mortgage.

    With Obama at the helm, we are sliding off into the great abyss of liberal, shit-chute, economics and world irrevelance.
    The US, twenty five years from now, will look like England or France.

    God bless America, and go buy a gun….

  40. JKB says:

    Well, it’s true no one can really go John Galt these days. The bureaucrats are everywhere.

    But it appears what those making fun of “going John Galt” fear is that the cash they planned on siphoning off for their hopey changey programs is going to dry up, as well it may. Will America

    The guy making more than $250k doesn’t have to move to Galt’s Gulch, he just has to take a few extra days off and get by on $249k. He doesn’t have to shutdown his business, he just has to put off those expansion plans. She doesn’t have to lay off her employees, she can just not hire any new ones. Instead of growing a business, they can just operate a small ongoing enterprise that let’s the owners get by.

  41. anjin-san says:

    The guy making more than $250k doesn’t have to move to Galt’s Gulch,

    Spoken like a true second rater.

    My wife and I have a halfway decent chance of reaching a 250k household income in the next 4 years. If we make it, I plan to bust my butt to get to the next milestone, not stand around whining. I will leave that to the righties…