Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher rises from illegal plumber to famous polical commentator

Zachary Schwartz ('10)

Recently, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, known by Americans as “Joe the plumber,” has been riding a wave of moderate notability. His conflict with Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election ensured that he would have a place in old man McCain’s heart, and as such, Palin and McCain mentioned him at least a hojillion billion times per speech. Eventually, they began applying the “[name] the [blue collar job]” moniker to other–possibly fictional–people. Of course, once McCain lost the election, everyone finally came to their senses, as Americans did some reading up on “Joe”. It turns out he wasn’t even a licensed plumber! He owed taxes! He was then working to promote digital cable boxes, of all things! His name wasn’t even Joe! He appropriately fell into obscurity, receiving mention only from that one kid at your lunch table who fancies himself as clever as John Stewart.

But when he’s not fixing your toilet, trying to sell you cable, or acting as a not-so-subtle metaphor for the middle-class American, what’s there for Joe to do? If you answered “covering the conflict in the Gaza strip”, you must have cheated. Yes, that’s correct. Joe the plumber–plumber being the operative word–has been sent over to the gaza strip as a war correspondent. This seems like a concept for a sitcom, or at the very least a reality show, but somebody sent a man who fixes toilets for a living to play the part of a journalist. There is nothing clever to say about this. Somebody somewhere actually thought this was a good idea. And they weren’t worried that extremists would KILL HIM. Did I mention that he’s reporting the situation in Israel? Someone send his family some flowers.

I guess this is what happens when you elevate a completely ordinary American to celebrity levels. The man clearly has little to no skill and the personality of a cinder block.  And yet, the man received media attention, was asked to give election commentary, wrote and published a novel and is now reporting on a foreign war. Unbelievable. Does anyone even remember that this is the same guy who, when asked if a “vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel,” said yes?! At least he’s reporting for a conservative website, considering that nobody reads those. I suppose the logical next step is sending Sarah Palin to Iraq as a diplomat.

There is a silver lining to this cloud. He’s only there for 10 days, and when this story is published, there will be even less time left. I suppose the less time he spends there, the better. I just hope he knows to watch out for any footwear thrown in his general direction. Those things hurt.