Video: Olbermann: Joe the Failed campaign gimmick

By Keith Olbermann Anchor, 'Countdown'
msnbc.com
updated 10/23/2008 9:11:15 PM ET 2008-10-24T01:11:15
CAMPAIGN COMMENT

Sen. John McCain announced today of the start of his "Joe the Plumber Tour."

Senator, whaddya mean start?

Every day since the last debate, eight long days ago, when you mentioned this guy more often than Jackie Mason mentions his tour dates, every day has been your "Joe the Plumber" tour.

Senator--

I know you have found in this man something to be enthusiastic about, but you do realize you are merely re-enacting the years-old Republican strategy about strategy.

Find something irrelevant, inappropriate, or ineffective; hammer it and hammer it and hammer it until people promise to vote for you if only you'd stop; and when it doesn't work, do more of it, and yell it even louder!

A noun, and verb, and Joe the Plumber! Senator, it doesn't work. Early in the week, Suffolk University completed polling on the impact of this latest McCain strategy.

To be fair, this was before those new ads, the ones in which eight or ten different people claim they are the Joe the Plumber, in some sort of creepy cross between the movies "Spartacus" and "V for Vendetta."

Nevertheless, the results in the battleground state of Ohio, of week one of America held Hostage by Joe the Plumber? Almost nothing. Sixty-eight percent of Ohio respondents recognized the name. Confidentially, I understand three percent were mumbling it to themselves like Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman."

Sixty-eight percent of Ohio respondents recognized the name. Of that group 0.6 percent said this story made it more likely that they'd vote for McCain; 0.4 percent said this story made it more likely that they'd vote for Obama. Eighty-five percent said it would have no impact on them whatsoever. Same thing in Missouri. Eighty percent recognition there. Eight percent of the 80 percent more likely to vote for McCain. Three percent of the 80 percent more likely to vote for Obama. Eighty-six percent, unaffected.

So John McCain is, if he's lucky, getting this net effect: About one voter out of every one hundred may be leaning a little bit more towards him. And remember, this campaign stunt essentially blotted out the great fireball in the sky that was supposed to be William The Blow-Things-Up-Guy.

It's eclipsed Sarah the Reformer, and John the Maverick.

With the campaign's last big-time free television event, the debate, now an almost distant memory, JTP is the campaign.

Senator, Joe the Plumber is going into the toilet and taking you with him.

So, naturally, you have taken the next step — umbrage over Joe the Plumber.

That he approached Obama, lied to Obama's face about a business that wasn't worth what he said it was, that he wasn't about to buy like he said he was, has gotten lost in this barrage of nonsense, Senator.

That you made him some kind of phony every-man symbol for economic savaging of the middle class which Obama wouldn't effect but you in fact would, has gotten wallpapered over, Senator.

You're mad that people have made fun of him, when he didn't ask to be famous. You made him famous! You're mad that people questioned his story, when he didn't ask for people to question his story. You made a story out of his question! You're mad that people have criticized him, when he didn't ask to be criticized.  Senator—these are not attacks on Joe the Plumber!

They're attacks on John the Liar! Not to mention Sarah the Shopaholic and Phil the Economy-Killer; G. Gordon the Domestic Terrorist; Steve the Schmidt-Head; Charlie the Banker; The other Joe the Fact-Checker; Rick the Lobbyist; Randy the Lobbyist; Wayne the Lobbyist; William the Saddam Lobbyist; Vinnie the Chin and, of course, Bob the Builder.

Sen. McCain, I'm pretty sure Sen. Obama is right. He can probably survive two more weeks of personal attacks, but America probably can't survive four more years of government by the Republican Party. However, even more urgent, more pressing. He isn't working for you, and he's driving the rest of us to consider going back to the days of out-houses and wooden aqueducts.

On behalf of a tortured nation, with blood streaming from its collective ears.

Enough with Joe the Plumber already!

—Keith the Anchor

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