Joe the Plumber Defiant in Ohio

I’m sure others have posted about this, but I thought it was a stroke of genius that one Joseph the Plumber stood John McCain up in Defiance, Ohio.  Joe the Plumber who isn’t really a plumber at all may be the big winner in the 2008 election.  He has made the most of his 15 minutes of fame and there’s apparently no stopping him.  He’s even hired a PR firm to manage his affairs.  How about this for an October surprise:  Joe the Plumber replaces Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate.   Brilliant.

McCain a Hoot at Alfred E. Smith Fundraiser

John McCain lost all three debates, but won the latest prize for best after dinner humor at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, an annual charity roast put on by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York.  The event raised an estimated 4 million to benefit needy children.  As guest speakers, McCain and Obama had the crowd rolling in laughter as they poked fun at themselves, each other, the media and the Clintons.  If I’m being honest, and I am, McCain had the superior script.  He was actually funny, very funny and he’s not known for telling a good joke.  I wonder who wrote this material?  As for Obama, well, comedy may not be his calling, but he had some good lines too.

Here are some of the highlights from McCain’s address:

  • McCain fired his senior advisers (actually that might not be a bad idea) and hired Joe the Plumber to take over his campaign.
  • Joe the Plumber signed a contract to work on all 7 of McCain’s homes.
  • In a room full of Democrats, he welcomed his only supporter, Hillary Clinton.
  • ACORN was helping to serve the underserved: “second graders, the deceased, Disney characters…”
  • In introducing Barak Obama, he said, “you are about to witness the funniest performance in history.”

Obama had some good lines too:

  • He reassured us he was not born in a manger;
  • But disclosed he was born on Krypton and sent here to save the planet.
  • If his father had known he would some day run for president, he would have given him a different middle name.
  • Barak is Swahili for “that one.”

Scroll down on Larry King with Bill Maher for the Candidates’ Remarks

Obama Completes Sweep in 3rd Debate

Bill Bennett, former secretary and partisan CNN contributor said the Hofstra debate was by far the best of the three.  I disagree.  I do agree with Bennett that McCain was on the offensive most of the night, but don’t think it was his best debate.  His performance was uneven.  He didn’t appear very presidential on TV.  He looked angry and annoyed most of the night.  His aggressive, condescending tone couldn’t have won over many .  Obama remained composed throughout, smiling as opposed to grimacing when McCain landed a low blow.  Overall, Obama played excellent defense keeping McCain off the scoreboard.

They started off with statements about the economy.  McCain mentioned his plan to fix the housing mess.  Obama discussed his tax cuts for the middle class and sent a word of caution on McCain’s relief plan for homeowners:  “it could be a giveaway to banks if we pay full price for the mortgages that are now worth a lot less”.

McCain brought up Joe the Plumber.  Poor Joe can’t buy his business because of Obama’s tax plan.  I say if Joe buys that business and rakes in more than 300,000 a year, he can afford to pay higher taxes – he should be in a higher tax bracket; it’s only fair.  McCain talks about spreading the wealth – taking Joes’s money and spreading it out.  Come on.  It’s not like Obama has plans to nationalize Joe’s plumbing company, or require Joe to do pro-bono plumbing, although that would be a good idea.  Give Joe some tax credits to provide discounted plumbing for a non-profit organization.

There were some frustrating moments.  Bill Schieffer mentioned the negative tone of the campaigns and brought up Bill Ayers to which McCain responded that “we need to know the full extent of that relationship”.  Obama then explained that relationship saying that Ayers engaged in despicable acts when Obama was a child and that he (Obama) has since “roundly” denounced those acts.  They served together on a diverse “Republican leaning” school reform board founded by Reagan UK ambassador, Walter Annenberg. The board membership included two University Presidents.  Obama said that Bill Ayers has not been a part of his campaign and “will not advise me in the White House”.  After Obama’s disclosure, McCain again said “…the details need to be known (about the relationship)…”  Wake up John, he just told you.   McCain’s ACORN allegation did not stick.  First, ACORN is a respectable organization and there should be no shame in association.  The doings of a handful of rogue voter registration workers should not disgrace the entire organization.  Second, Obama’s staff did not hire ACORN to do any voter registration.  They hired an organization to canvass for Obama and this organization subcontracted out some of the work to ACORN to canvass for Obama, not to register voters.  That Obama is somehow responsible for doctored voter registration cards is ludicrous.

McCain and Obama continue to disappoint me on education.  Both are for Charter Schools that create a free market approach to education.  Education is not a business.  McCain supports vouchers, which the government issues to families who wish to send their kids to a private school.  I say let the private schools issue scholarships.  The government should not be in the business of subsidizing a private school education.  Rather, the government should be investing heavily in the neediest schools.  Vouchers and Charters simply drain resources away from public schools.  And sadly the kids and their teachers will be blamed for high dropout rates and low test scores. Instead of no child left behind, the law should be renamed all children left behind.

When Bob Schieffer asked if Palin is qualified to be president, why didn’t Obama just say no?  He had to go on about how capable she is and how she’s energized the base.   And McCain’s endorsement of Palin was even less enthusiastic talking about her as if she were going to be first lady, not the VP.  “…she’s a role model….a reformer through and through…and I’m proud of her”.

McCain continues to promote the building of 45 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years, which sounds reasonable until the costs are factored – 6 to 8 billion each and up to 6 years to build just one, and don’t forget the delays and cost overruns.  With McCain’s spending freeze, how can we expand nuclear and invest in renewable energy projects.  I wonder if Joe the Plumber has any expertise in nuclear; maybe he could do the job on the cheap with his new company.

Obama:  A for a solid defense and and a clear closing statement.

McCain:  C for an offense that scored few points.

For more details, read the 3rd Debate Transcript

Who do you think won the debate?