You will find no better illustration of the hazards of simply asking a question Barack Obama doesn’t want to answer than the frenzy on the part of Obama’s campaign and his allies in the media and the Left blogs to attack Joe the Plumber. The amazing thing is, this isn’t a guy who was set up by one of the campaigns to tell a sob story that had to be checked. Obama was going door to door, he met this guy who was playing football in his yard *. Joe said he’d like to be more successful and buy his own business, and asked Obama why that meant he should have to pay higher taxes, and Obama gave his now-infamous answer that “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” John McCain responded by retelling that story in the debate to illustrate Obama’s instincts for redistribution, and both candidates ended up using Joe as an example of how their various plans would affect small businesspeople.
But fearful of the damage caused by Obama’s answer, the Obama camp and its surrogates have gone on the attack against this ordinary citizen from Toldeo:*Obama campaign flacks attacking McCain for failing to “vet” a guy who only became an issue because Obama showed up in his yard.
*Ben Smith dug up his voter registration. (More here).
The media dug up tax liens on him
*Not only did reporters go after his licensing as a plumber, but now government officials are after his business.
*Lefty blogs publishing his home address and writing up attacks on him and digging into his family tree.
*Here’s a NY Times article digging up more dirt on Joe than they’ve bothered to cobble together on Obama, and another here.
*Andrew Sullivan finds a new obsession with the plumber, reducing this man to a “hood ornament” (here, here, and here).
*Here is a roundup of the media frenzy. Remember, read all these and ask yourself when the last time was you saw a report on, say, Barack Obama’s relationship with the Chicago political machine.
(As Ace notes, the Chicago-style ton of bricks dropped on Joe should help intimidate people who might actually come forward with stories from Obama’s past he doesn’t want told)
UPDATE (also noted in comments): McCain defends ordinary Joe:
The response from Senator Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe. People are digging through his personal life and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn’t ask for Senator Obama to come to his house. He wasn’t recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Senator Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks.