Cartoon for October 25, 2008

As you’ve no doubt heard, “Joe the Plumber” turns out to be yet another Republican fraud–not a plumber, not named Joe, doesn’t even pay taxes. I’ve long been fascinated by poor conservatives who don’t want rich people to be taxed in case they someday become rich themselves–even though their politics will prevent them from ever becoming rich themselves.

18 Responses to “Cartoon for October 25, 2008”

  1. devil Says:

    panel 5 = LOL

  2. k Says:

    one could argue that their principles prevent them from acting in their own self-interest

  3. Aggie Dude Says:

    Excellent, and I agree that panel five is hilarious. Ted, you should combine this with a commentary on the divisiveness of racial politics in America. What is unspoken in panel 5 is that he’s not thinking about ‘some loser’ like himself, he’s thinking of someone who isn’t like him -different cultural background, different gender, different skin color.

    Republicans were able to create a set of imaginary communities for poor white morons to take pride and comfort in. . .even nationality is a fabrication:

    “we’re Americans so we’re better, even though those other people live longer, are happier, and have universal healthcare.”

    This is why I argued with some other posts in previous months about there essentially being no difference between racism and nationalism. Nation becomes race ultimately, because the fabrication is constructed in a similar manner.

    If he identified with the loser in frame 5, he might make a connection, but he doesn’t identify with the loser, even though the loser is himself.

    This is classic Marx: Alienation from work, alienation from community, and ultimately alienation from oneself. In fact I may save this cartoon to use in my theory classes.

    The more I think about Obama’s tax plan structure, the more I can’t understand why anyone could be opposed to it. Even enlightened rich people are for it, which is remarkable to me that the GOP has, in fact, begun to run the wealthy out of their party.

    That takes talent.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    His middle name is Joe, and while he is not yet a licensed plumber, he does not need to be to work for someone else. He has stated that he is studying to attain his license so he can purchase the business.

  5. Anonymous Says:


    Maybe “Joe” took John Rawl’s “Veil of Ignorance” too literally (or it demonstrates a big problem in Rawl’s argument).

  6. Anonymous Says:

    He’s still a tax scofflaw. And he’d still do BETTER under Obama’s tax plan than McCain’s as he has been forced to admit.

  7. Seth Warren Says:

    Anonymous 10/25/08 3:16 PM gets a gold star. One does not need a plumbing license in Ohio to work for a plumbing company.

    What I find fascinating yet disturbing is the great lengths the media went to in giving Joe the third degree. I was starting to wonder if he was one of the candidates the way he was being raked across the coals.

    It just goes to show that the media has picked Obama to be our next President, just like they picked Bush, just like they pushed for war in Iraq…

    I see a pattern and I don’t like it.

  8. devil Says:

    ha! i just saw bolling’s comic for today, and it’s on the same theme as yours, and HIS panel 5 = LOL too!! damn, that’s killer! rall and bolling, two great minds proving the clichĂ© true!

  9. Maldoror Says:

    Well, I am a libertarian so I question why anybody ought to be taxed. But watching Joe the Plumber, I think he is the clasic example of the hypocresy from the right using libertarian speech. In an interview, “Joe” complained about the goverment taking off his hypothetic won money, yet he exalted the war on iraq which is paid with what? Ah, yes, tax payer money. But you see, for this hypocrite to take the money of the rich to redistribute it to the poor in the form of goverment programs is evil, but taking the money from everybody – rich and poor- to finance a criminal war based on lies is not only ok, but is somthing to be proud.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I just can’t bring myself to advocate equal pay for everyone regardless of how hard they work (or lack thereof). I think people who work harder should get paid more and those who do not should get paid less. If you are lazy, don’t apply yourself in school, have kids you can’t afford…why should someone who is doing better than you PRECISELY because he did the opposite of what you did…bail you out?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I am a plumber. I have a master’s license in Texas. If Ohio is like Texas, Joe must either have at least a journeyman’s license or be under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber any time he is performing plumbing work. The Ohio State Plumbing Board has been clear — Joe is supposed to have a license. The license would give some assurance that Joe has a high school diploma (which would mean he could read instructions, code books, warning labels, and do basic math), is not a criminal, and at one time knew enough plumbing code to pass a test. He would also be subject to yearly continuing education. I see the conservative defense of this goof as further evidence that they have no respect for working class trades and professions. Along those lines, how about McCain’s suggestion in the last debate that Iraq vets be allowed to teach without having proper certification? To me, McCain was demonstrating his contempt for the profession of teaching.

  12. Aggie Dude Says:

    Anon 1:28, I fear you are making the same logical error that “Joe the Plumber” made, that John McCain AND the media all repeated ad nauseum:

    “we make more money because we work harder.”

    It is a fundamentally incorrect statement to assume that people who work harder make more money. The jobs I have had in my life that required the most effort and time, and left me the most exhausted, were PRECISELY the jobs that paid the least. Many low paying jobs are tiring, mind numbing, physically strenuous and often times more dangerous. Office jobs that involve wearing nice clothes that you wouldn’t want to get dirty tend to be much higher paying.

    This is not an argument against higher pay for jobs that take more skill, talent, or education.

    This is an argument against the idea that low income people simply don’t work hard. Some of the least fortunate people I know work themselves to exhaustion just to make ends meet (or at least come close to making ends meet), and it is a fundamentally ignorant, and deliberately insulting, notion that these people simply don’t work hard enough.

    I wish people would stop acting like this is a reasonable argument to make. It’s not. It’s a pathetic, self-righteous and condescending argument made by people who disregard the immense advantages they started out with.

    People who have literally worked their way from the bottom to the top almost never make this claim, because they know that they worked harder for less.

    The media roasted Joe the plumber for making a stupid argument, and they were right to do so. The problem is that they aren’t brutal enough of conservative politicians because they’ve bought into the fear that they’ll be seen as liberally bias. . .or they actually have a conservative bias that keeps them from taking those politicians to task for their stupidity.

    Case in point: “trickle down” economics has been debunked since Herbert Spencer, yet it’s presented as a reasonable argument in public discourse. It’s not reasonable, it’s asinine.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Identification with the rich has real benefits. People vote against their economic interest because the evil of racism works in their direction many times.

    Just because it is evil doesn’t mean it doesn’t produce. Not what might be good for someone but enough to make it attractive to bigots. Then one day you realize you have been had …

  14. nietzchuck Says:

    Thank you, anon 5:14, I’m glad someone else caught that. I managed to make it through the entire tragic display up until Troops to Teachers came up… -sigh- McThuseleh actually believes that it isn’t fair that soldiers fresh from the killing field should have to be certified to teach just like everybody else. ?!

    I honestly can’t wrap my mind around this concept. For once, I just don’t know where to start. It’s a non-sequitur statement.

  15. Anonymous Says:


    The GOP’s appeal may be better understood through Calvin than Marx.

    The thought process goes something like this. The GOP favors policies that help successful businessmen, therefore I can demonstrate that I am a successful businessman by favoring the GOP.

    The setup of the argument begs the question and the punchline is a pure non-sequitur. The genius of it derives from the evangelical wing of the party. It is reminiscent of the Calvinist notion that only God knows who is saved, but we can all act like we’re saved by being conspicuously moral.

  16. Aggie Dude Says:

    Anon 8:44 AM. Good point, I don’t think it conflicts. Both Calvin and Marx may well apply to this situation: I would argue that the Calvin factor can only exist because people are alienated from their own interests and have yet to achieve a consciousness of them. The areas where Marx was most wrong was in not giving enough credence to the internalization of self-oppressing ideologies.

    “If only I worked harder I wouldn’t be poor” But yes, I agree it is also ritualized in the performance of being economically successful. Predestination was always a circular argument, as is the argument that wealthy people are wealthy because they work harder.

    I’m disappointed that nobody challenged my harsh critique of that.

  17. Ken Toomer Says:

    Ok, if you want to make the argument that “he who works hardest deserves the greatest riches”, then fine. Let’s start everyone from the same place. Let every child have the same level of education: same quality of schools, same abundance of materials, same curriculum, everything equal from K-12. Then we’ll see who the most talented truly are.

    Of course, to make it truly fair, you have to give everyone the same level of healthcare, and make sure that the minimum wage is high enough so that parents don’t have to work 3 jobs and can be home to help their kids with homework. Start that as a base, let it develop for 20 years, and see where we are.

    How many of you out there, who have a university degree, had parents who either: A) Also have a university degree, or B) Worked their butts off to make sure YOU got a university degree. This isn’t rocket science; those of us, regardless of race, or economic background, who were fortunate enough to have parents who emphasized education, are more than likely middle to upper-middle class today. Those of us who were not as lucky to be born to such parents, have found it a much rougher go in this country.

    We can’t start everyone from zero, though. Know why? Because no one really cares about anyone else. As long as I can get MY kid to college, what do I care if you can’t? That’s all well and good now, but in order for our nation as a whole to thrive, we really need to be finding talented individuals from ALL corners of the country, regardless of who their parents are. And one of the ways to do that, is to give eveyone the same opportunity to thrive.

    You might say “That’s not fair. I worked hard for what I’ve got, and my kid deserves to have a better chance.” Well, what’s ultimately not fair is that there are kids who were not lucky enough to have such parents, and are doomed from day one – why make kids suffer when you can’t choose who your parents are?

  18. Aggie Dude Says:

    It’s not a toomer wrote ..”why make kids suffer when you can’t choose who your parents are?”

    That’s precisely the argument progressives and socialists make. It works in countries that have shunned their race-baiting decades ago, while the United States still convulses over “welfare queens” and gold plated caddies. That “it won’t happen” doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.

    Once you establish that it’s a correct assessment that not everyone starts from the same place, and that not everyone can really achieve in a society that has distributed wealth surprisingly consistently since its inception (poor-middle class-wealthy) as percentages of the society, then the only conclusion is that anyone who argues in defense of letting “those others” fend for themselves has to concede they’re just a greedy, self serving pig.

    McCain is still jumping all over Barack Obama for his speeches on wealth inequality in America, as though Obama’s position is somehow obviously the object of ridicule.

    My sadness rests in knowing that no defeat would be decisive enough to induce reflection on the part of conservatives.

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