Joe the Plumber in Phoenix Last Sunday at a Tea Party Event

Some particularly telling excerpts:

“I am not politically castrated — new word for political correctness, by the way. I am not politically castrated. Put a fence in, start shooting. End of story.” (the plumber’s fix for illegal immigration)

“Line up every damn last terrorist, I’ll torture them my damn self. And I’m not just talking.”

“The Tea Party I kinda look at as being a Church…. the main purpose is God.”

“You gotta have the respect of your family and friends, the rest of the world can go to hell”

“Iran… I don’t know why we aren’t bombing them right now.”

“I’m not out here as a lunatic fringe”

“I read history books”




Bjorn Karlman

12 thoughts on “Joe the Plumber in Phoenix Last Sunday at a Tea Party Event”

  1. It really doesn’t sound that bad when you listen to the speech as a whole. He makes a lot of good points, though his views are at times not very well articulated.

    Joe the Plumber is not an intellectual or a trained speaker. He is a regular guy who had an encounter with Barak Obama during the campaign that was telling in that it revealed the socialist beliefs of a candidate who modeled himself as a centrist. That encounter said more about Obama than Joe, but in order to distract from the issue of Obama’s beliefs the media immediately began focusing on the character of Joe of the Plumber.

    Joe the Plumber participating in the Tea Party movement makes sense, since it is a grass roots movement of a lot of regular concerned citizens. However, his views don’t represent anyone but his own, which he would probably be the first to tell you. He doesn’t speak for the movement, no one person does. If you want well thought-out, coherent arguments from the intellectuals and leaders of the Right there are places you can go for that. The Tea Parties are not that place, they are just a bunch of average people who are standing up for their liberties, they know enough about what is going to have strong opinions, but not necessarily enough to vocalize their ideas in a fully coherent way.

    For instance, you sited: “Iran… I don’t know why we aren’t bombing them right now.” This obviously comes from a concern about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, which becomes more a reality every day, and a frustration that we are not doing enough to prevent it. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to fully grasp the complexities of the issue and why it may not be the right time to use military force (although if Iran continues to pursue its course towards violence and destruction how can America just sit by, even if nothing short of military force will deter them from it?).

    It may be a politically liability for the Tea Parties to allow people with some of these half-formed views to have a voice, but I think it’s a positive thing that average citizens are getting so involved.

  2. Micah,

    I understand where you are coming from, although I believe that you miss a certain historical perspective on nuclear weapons and the only country who committed a war crime by using these on civilian population.

    As far as Iran goes, I’m sure we already forgotten about this incident in Iranian history:'état

    If I would be Iranian president, I would certainly seek some kind of political leverage so countries like US would not dare to pull throw their weight around. It’s just a matter of fairness. If US would like to disarm the world, then it should lead the way, instead of spending billions in military research coming up with new and exciting ways to kill people.

    I really think that Joe has a narrow understanding of this world’s economic order and the fairness of it all. Of course, there may not be anything wrong with printing money in order to create immense economic booms at the expense of cheap overseas labor force. After all, the digits (which turn out to be some cents per hour) really worth their value in minds of uneducated.

    So, I wonder why anyone would want to come to work (not to stay) in the US in order to have some fair wage paid for their work. I guess we simply can outlaw economic freedom and fairness by restricting basic human right of moving about unrestricted… but I guess we don’t have any rights outside of which are given to us by the State?

    Bombing countries, shooting aliens, torturing people as means of confession. Where does God fit into all of this?

  3. I think we should be bombing Iran as well. It is more humane and much quicker than sanctions. Bombing would definitely hurt and kill less people than sanctions…if history is to be any guide of this situation.

    It is easy to make fun of Joe the Plummer, but to be honest, how many people (politicians included) can get up in front of large crowds, discuss something they aren’t an expert on, and sound anything close to articulate? It also helps when you disagree with someone. Someone you agree with will always sound smarter than someone of equal intelligence/articulation when compared with a person you disagree with.

    Also, I know you didn’t accuse all conservatives of being dumb, but some liberals do. It seems to be an ongoing theme with many liberals, which I do not really get. College grads are more likely to vote Republican, and the richer you are, the more likely to vote Republican. Not that it means it’s the genius party either, but hardly the retard party. There are millions of Joe the Plummers in both parties.

    Also, at least Joe the Plummer doesn’t believe in ‘Obama money’. lol

  4. Bombing Iran? How is this discussed so casually? The more we bomb, the easier it becomes to substitute Iran with, well, anybody: bombing ___________.

  5. Micah, of course he is going to pepper his babble with patriotic asides but from the quotes I listed I really think this guy is a huge liability to the Tea Party and to America. He is downright disturbing and people like him will have to take responsibility when the lunatic fringe he references takes action on some of his wild suggestions.

  6. David, I take the first sentence was a rhetorical device and not your true feelings on the subject? At least as far as what should actually be done?

  7. No I really do believe that. Well maybe not LITERALLY right now, but when we decide to act, I thinking bombs are better than sanctions. Sanctions will effect everyone in the country…including innocents. Bombing specific military sites will only hurt those sites and the people around those sites.

    I don’t remember if we discussed this before, but it has worked.

    Sanctions on Iraq killed millions. This bombing did nothing but stop Saddam from getting nukes.

  8. I think I see Joe the Plumbers larger point being that personal responsibility and industry are a good thing, illegal immigration should stop, America should not be apologetic, terrorists deserve no mercy, and he is not crazy. These themes will get sympathy and some of them should. What is troubling is his violent vocabulary and bravado… they are going to incite those that can’t see through some of his rhetorical tricks to violence…

  9. I understand the logic but can’t agree. Bombings carry a message that the US bombs better than it negotiates. We have a history of this and that is why much of the world hates the US. Tough diplomacy should always be the solution. It can work. It shut down the IRA 10 years ago.

  10. Exactly – that kind of logic will only deepen the animosity towards the US and will result in further attacks on the US and its citizens around the world. Bad idea. Diplomacy done well reaps rewards. Simply citing examples of when force has resulted in enemy defeat is shortsighted.

  11. Well whether or not we can negotiate with Iran will remain to be seen. I am not saying we should stop negotiations and just bomb. However, if Obama is able to place sanctions on Iran (which it sounds like he wants us to do) it would be far more humane to bomb. I frankly don’t care if people in other countries are too stupid to understand that bombing a handful of sites will do less harm than placing sanctions on an entire country. Of course, my stance against sanctions depends on how long they would need to be in place and assumes they would be effective.

    I hate all sorts of countries around the world, but I am realistic enough to know that they have to base their policies on what is best for them and not what some jackass know-nothing in another country thinks.

    Sweden pissed off other countries in WWII for instance. However, Sweden was doing what it thought was best for itself. There are probably literally hundreds of policies to hate various countries, but at the end of the day, we have to do what we have to do.

    I also have to say that I don’t think that the US bombing Iran will create more terrorism. If you believe it will, then you must believe it was Clinton’s various policies that brought on 9/11 right?

    If you believe that, it is fine. I can respect the consistency. However, Islam has always hated the West. I think we would be at war with them pretty much no matter what we would have done…short of converting…but even then, we would probably still be at war with them.

  12. To be clear. I am an American apologist, but an isolationist at my core. So even though I defend foreign interventions from time to time, I really want nothing more for America to just sit back and watch the world destroy itself…like the good old days. I really don’t think we should have involved ourselves in either world war. Well…we didn’t have much of a choice in the second world war, but if we hadn’t been collaborating with the allies, they would have never attacked us.

    The political reality is that almost everyone wants foreign intervention, but only where they think it is important. It was amazing to see all the people who were against the war in Iraq be in favor of intervening in Darfur. Sudan is right next to Saudi Arabia. Talk about a quagmire.

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