Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain Drops Patraeus Obsession to Focus on Joe the Plumber

Senator John McCain went into tonight's third and final presidential debate with a new game plan. He would be meaner, more bitter, more petulant, and more prone to fake outrage. This plan, he hoped, would be enough to revive his fading campaign. But in case it wasn't, he had a secret weapon—a weapon named Joe.

The debate confused the aliens from a distant solar system who, three weeks ago, figured out how to decode our Satellite TV and translate English. After studying the first two presidential face-offs, they'd concluded that General David Petraeus was one of the most influential figures on the planet.

Based on the pale, wrinkled organism's constant references, they inferred that the American people held the good General in an affection usually reserved for the likes of Jesus Christ, William Shakespeare, Albert Einstein or Harrison Ford. "Obama insulted General Petraeus by opposing the surge—which is much worse than supporting a disastrous war that cost us the lives of brave young men and helped put the country in financial ruin. General Petraeus thinks that Obama's an inexperienced sissy," said McCain's extraterrestrial translators.

Yet there was no mention of Petraeus in the final debate. Instead, McCain spent most of his time addressing one single person, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher. At this point, the alien leader said, "Fuck it. Let's get caught up on 'Lost'."

In a recent campaign event in Toledo, Ohio, Joe the Plumber asked Senator Barack Obama why the small business that he hypothetically might buy and that hypothetically might make slightly more than $250,000 a year would see a minor tax increase under his plan. As seen on video, The Big O articulately explained to Joe the Plumber that only his hypothetical income above $250,000 would hypothetically be taxed at a higher rate. He also used the phrase "spread the wealth around," which is code for either "turn the country into a Communist dictatorship" or "leave the middle-class with enough money to afford services like plumbing. Joe the Plumber replied that he worked hard, and shouldn't be punished for his hard work. He works hard.

The Big O thought that those five minutes were the end of his conversation with this McCain supporter posing as an undecided voter, but it turned out he had about 90 more. McCain had big plans for this man whom Obama would tax an extra $0 to $900 a year (not counting other deductions built into The Big O's plan), depending on where he fell in his possible income range of $250-280K a year.

McCain has a knack for leaching onto something and harping on it so insistently as to become a parody of himself. He did it with Petraeus, the Chicago Planetarium's projector and anything else remotely resembling an earmark. Now it was Joe's turn. McCain awkwardly attempted to turn Joe the Plumber into an average Joe with an above-average income, an everyman whom Obama wants to tax to death. McCain began nearly every response with phrases like "My old buddy Joe—Joe the Plumber—is out there…" before launching into rambles on healthcare, taxes, or whatever else came up.

It was inevitable that Joe the Plumber would be the hot target of the media's post-debate coverage, and Joe turned out to be a ready and willing interviewee. On CBS, he revealed that, while he may be an everyman who doesn't get the fancy GOP talking-point memos, he can pick things up quick. "Sure, I've heard nothing but Barack-this and Obama-that for the past 200 years of this god-forsaken, everlasting election cycle," he seemed to say, "but I just don't know enough about him. He's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! McCain on the other hand—I know where he stands. He stands against quality educational facilities like planetariums. He stands for expensive wars, under-qualified running mates and any strategy that might boost his sinking poll numbers. But perhaps most importantly, he stands with the good General Petraeus."
Crossposted at Daily Kos.

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