Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tawana Joe

Twenty years ago, the sensational and racially charged Tawana Brawley rape case fell apart in spectactular fashion when investigators concluded that Brawley had invented her shocking tale and had fabricated the evidence of assault. Republicans and other right-wingers were quick to pounce, dismissing not only Brawley and her supporters, but also anyone who argued that Brawley's claims had symbolic significance even if they weren't actually true. There was nothing to learn from a phony story of a race-based crime, they insisted. The falseness of Brawley's allegations meant that regarding her as a symbol of a larger, real problem was invalid, maybe even corrupt.

What, then, can we learn from "Joe the Plumber," the McCain campaign's newly anointed symbol of all that is wrong with Barack Obama's proposed tax policies? McCain claimed that poor Joe would be discouraged by Democratic taxes from purchasing a plumbing business that would thrust him into the $250,000/year bracket. Alas, as the facts sprouted into view, we learned that actually:
  • Joe is not a licensed plumber.
  • Joe is not even close to being able to purchase the plumbing business.
  • The plumbing business does not earn $250,000/year.
  • Joe's own annual income is far, far below the $250,000 threshold, meaning that he would benefit from Obama's tax plan -- he'd get a tax cut.
  • Oh, and his name isn't really Joe (unfortunate soul).
So, say goodbye to Joe the Symbol. No cutting corners, Senator McCain. Come back when you have a real victim of the Democrats' nefarious "socialism."

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