Joe the Plumber has been a particularly soft punching bag for progressives who want to mock the contemporary conservative movement and its pop culture aspirations. Aside from the various holes in the “story” that made him a media celebrity and McCain-Palin campaign fixture, the guy has always skirted SNL parody territory via his Nixon-Agnewish epitomization of a “silent majority” being encouraged to get loud-and-proud about cultural (if not racial) bigotry and economic selfishness.
So it’s interesting that Patrick Ruffini of Next Right, whose Republican “rebuilding” project has generally eschewed anything that would discomfit the “conservative base,” has done a number on Joe as a party symbol:
If you want to get a sense of how unserious and ungrounded most Americans think the Republican Party is, look no further than how conservatives elevate Joe the Plumber as a spokesman. The movement has become so gimmick-driven that Wurzelbacher will be a conservative hero long after people have forgotten what his legitimate policy beef with Obama was.
It would be nice if Ruffini would give the same treatment to Rick Santelli, who has become sort of an upper-class counterpart to Joe the Plumber in attacking the supposed poor-and-minority looters who are benefitting from Barack Obama’s legislative agenda. I’m afraid that Ruffini considers Santelli, unlike Joe, as “serious.” If so, dumping Joe misses the point, and won’t help Republicans recover from stupidity at all.