I wrote a brief midday piece about the trashing of Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher earlier today, but what has happened since is really pretty sickening. This gloating article from National Journal is pretty typical of the whirlwind that this guy has been reaping ever since his question to Barack Obama got airplay.
Obama showed his class by piling on, as this video shows. Click the link before it disappears and listen to the contempt in Obama's voice as he says "plumber."
The invaluable Ed Morrissey pretty much sums it up over at Hot Air:
Now, we have people crawling over his tax records, his voter registration, his professional licensing, and whatever else they can find in the public record. Someone has linked him to the long-deceased Charles Keating, suggesting that somehow Obama managed to pick a McCain plant out of a ropeline full of people by accident. How much longer before a certain blogger at The Atlantic demands a paternity test to see if Joe the Plumber fathered Sarah Palin’s baby — or Bristol’s, for that matter?
The guy just asked Obama a question, for goodness sakes. He surely didn't expect that Obama's answer would be as controversial as it was. He didn't ask for his situation to come up in the debate. He is just a guy who works in the plumbing business in Ohio. Whether he's a fully credentialed plumber is beside the point. What matters is that he asked the leading presidential candidate a pretty simple question. If you watch the video, you'll see that he wasn't combative. He wasn't rude, nor was he threatening to Obama in any way. He's just a face in the crowd.
The good news is that the shabby treatment he's received today will probably mean that some wealthy conservative will hook him up with a better gig than what he has now. In a way, it's about as good as winning the lotto. So in the end he'll be fine.
But the question remains -- why would so many people fall on a guy like Joe Wurzelbacher like jackals? There is something uniquely disturbing about this incident, something far more disturbing than what happened to Sarah Palin and her family after she was nominated for the Vice Presidency. Sarah Palin willingly stepped into the arena. Whether she and her family deserved the beating they took, they had reason to know it would happen. Joe the Plumber didn't ask for this. He just asked a question and now he gets to stand naked in the public square for his troubles.
I'm not sure what is worse -- that Obama doesn't seem to have any sympathy for this guy, or that so many people were so eager to rid him of this troublesome plumber. There's a real moral sickness on display here and Senator Obama would do well to address it. And if he won't, I sincerely hope the voters will address it for him on November 4.