“Joe the Plumber” for President …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on October 16, 2008

The first, near full half-hour of this last Presidential debate found McCain strong – and winning by whatever low, anti-intellectual standard we’ve set during the course of this general campaign. Winning by effectively coordinating and focusing his punch lines.  We all know that these debates are hardly “ad libbed” – they are pretty much choreographed.  Talking point mantras are repeated endlessly by both candidates.  They know what their scripts are.  It’s a matter of who can control their script, who can convey it the best.  Who can spin it stronger.  In the beginning, McCain spun it the best with the introduction of “Joe the Plumber.”

And, since media coverage of this campaign is built on catch phrases of the day, this is what struck the chord. Spare us, please, the electoral marketing pitches.  The funny names to describe voters in a high stakes election.

But, then it went into questions about the tone of the campaign, and McCain simply went flat and angry.  He was like a whiny, real-life caricature of Mr. Wilson flailing his arms about at Dennis the Menace.  His messaging went way off course, caught up in the moment of the attack.  Smoking the crack pipe of conservative machine insistence on “attack, attack,” McCain got lost in a patchwork of incoherent accusations about Ayers, ACORN and other stuff regular peeps aren’t really worried about these days.

The problem here is that McCain is steady trying to impress his conservative base, particularly at a time when he’s going to need independents, moderates and some Democrats to win.  Doing so means reveling in a rhetorical mosaic of cultural and racially-singed code words like “Joe the Plumber” – which means: “hey – angry White dude out there.  Yeah – you!  Vote for me – you tired of people like ‘that one’ taking everything over? Then vote for me.”

Was there any “gamechanger” tonight (the buzzword of the election)?  We don’t think so.  Obama, who could’ve easily landed some serious punches, continued to play it safe with well-managed reponses.  He still looked in control, occassionally laughing in what we felt was a burst of incredulity at how McCain made it that far.


2 Responses

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  1. CA said, on October 16, 2008 at 8:59 am

    The Top 50 Swing Voters: #27 – Joe The Plumber

    #50 – Hockey Moms – Demographic Power Play
    #47 – People with STDs – Burning for Change
    #40 – Anonymous Sperm Donors – Swimming Against The Tide
    #36 – Master Debaters – Everybody’s Doing It
    #29 – Nudists – Sticking To The Issues

  2. Angry White Dude said, on October 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Hey, there are a lot of us angry white dudes out here! We’re very concerned what direction that both Obama and McCain will take us. Very scary times ahead.

    Angry White Dude

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