"It's not that I want to punish your success. I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too. My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."Before you could say, "Politics of Personal Destruction" the race was on to find some dirt, any dirt, on the man who asked the question that Obama whiffed on. John at Power Line writes of the crusade to discredit Joe in Bring me the head of Joe the Plumber:
"As Barack Obama made the rounds in his neighborhood, Joe the Plumber elicited Obama's frankly redistributionist statement that he seeks to 'spread the wealth around' in his tax plan. Clearly this cannot stand.We haven't seen anything like this since Sarah Palin was tapped by McCain as his running mate. Sayeth The One: "Let he who is without sin ask the first question. The rest of you, shut the f*** up."
The question itself revealed a kind of offense against royalty that in French goes under the rubric of lèse majesté. Moreover, Obama's comment betrays a frame of mind that is unpopular among independent middle-class voters whose vote may still be up for grabs. Joe the Plumber embarrassed The Man Who Would Be King."
Surprise! Joe did have some things in his past he'd prefer not to have everyone know about. Who doesn't have something, be it a crazy uncle, some other nuts, a few old terrorist pals. or our own role in creating the financial crisis? Some members of the media section of the Obama campaign suggested McCain should have "vetted" Joe before talking about The Incident. However, Joe, along with the rest of us, was "vetted" back during the founding of this great country. We have the right, at least for now, to ask questions of our leaders, even questions that embarrass them.
The real issue isn't Joe or what he said, but who Obama is, what he says and what that means. The fact is that Obama's tax plan would raise tax rates dramatically on people founding and running successful small businesses. Joe doesn't own one yet, but, God bless him, he wants to and he's working hard to make it happen. That's what creates the wealth that Obama wants to redistribute to people who are, for the most part, not working as hard as Joe. And Obama calls his stealth socialism "good for everybody."
Talk about a close call. Obama caught himself just in time. His initial thought was to say, "From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs."
Obama said to Joe that he doesn't want to punish his success, and that's true. If he wanted to punish him, he'd give Joe a baby.
See also Mark Steyn's "Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the Hair-Plugger."