15 October 2008

Prelude: Meet "Joe the Plumber"

The unseen subject of the third McCain-Obama debate was a man who had a question for Senator Obama during a recent stop on the campaign trail. This remarkable encounter was recorded by ABC and posted on You Tube. It actually amazes me that Obama would devote five whole minutes out of what must be a punishing schedule to try to explain himself to this man -- and I don't mean that to belittle the plumber. I think Obama was trying to talk straight to him, but could have been straighter if he dared mention that, as a man of potentially greater wealth, Joe might have acquire greater responsibility to the society that benefited him. Joe himself seems to buy into the argument that taxes "punish success" or otherwise undermine the American Dream, but he also looks somewhat astonished, maybe even impressed, that Obama is making a special effort to explain his tax policy without pandering or apologizing. Granted, the cameras are rolling, but aren't they always when Obama appears? Whatever the plumber took away from the encounter, Obama is more impressive here than he has been in the debates with Senator McCain.

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