John McCain is not learning much from experience. In this week’s third and final Presidential debate, he repeated every mistake he made in his first two performances. Once again, he was angry, dismissive and obsessed with trivialities that no one cares about.
The strangest thing about McCain’s debate performance however was his choice to devote so much of his speaking time to “Joe the Plumber.” According to McCain, his friend Joe is an Ohio plumber seeking to purchase the business for which he works, and Joe’s plans would be jeopardized by Obama’s tax increase on incomes over $250,000. Joe the plumber happened to meet Obama a few days ago, and at that time expressed his concerns to Obama regarding the candidate’s tax plan.
Unfortunately for McCain, none of the things he alleged regarding Joe’s background are true. The man is not a licensed plumber, he has no plans to buy the business in question, and he does not make a lot of money. Oh yeah, he’s also not from Ohio and his name is not Joe, it’s Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. Sam is a registered Republican, and McCain did get one thing right: Samuel J. Wurzelbacher does not like Obama.
All of this reflects terribly on McCain. He made no fewer than 21 references to "Joe" in the debate. There was never any question that this would make Wurzelbacher an instant celebrity, thus causing all the falsehoods in McCain’s anecdotes to be revealed. The entire episode serves to remind the public of two things. First, that McCain has little if any regard for the truth, and second, that McCain’s campaign is stunningly incompetent.
Also today, some truly incredible news: The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Barack Obama for President. This is the Tribune’s first endorsement of a Democrat for President in its 161 year history.