Joe the Plumber has endorsed a Tennessee Republican for Congress, but he flat out ripped the Republican Party, the Democratic Party and all others of their ilk Friday night.
Joe, the political icon from the 2008 presidential race who famously asked Barack Obama about his tax plans and got the “spread the wealth” answer, has decided to support Lou Ann Zelenik in the 6th District congressional race to replace Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon.
The Plumber — Joseph Wurzelbacher from Holland, Ohio — has been on a whilrwind three-day tour of the 6th District, and he closed Day 2 on Friday at the Courthouse Square in Murfreesboro.
He’s campaigning with Zelenik, but Joe doesn’t even hand out endorsements like folks usually do. He has received requests from about 150 candidates, he said, but he has chosen only seven throughout the country. Zelenik is one of them.
Wurzelbacher does a lot of homework on an endorsement. He interviews candidates, checks out their background and spends maybe 36-48 hours considering if he should support them, he said. He talks to a lot of tea party organizations, where he’s plugged in well. And then, when he endorses, he doesn’t even tell people to vote for that candidate. He tells them whom he’s endorsing and says to go do your own homework to see how he came to his conclusion.
“Don’t copy off my homework,” he said.
Wurzelbacher and Zelenik met at a Smart Girls Politics event months ago and they began to see that they thought alike. When asked what he liked most about Zelenik, Joe answered with one word.
“Integrity,” he said.
But he elaborated.
“We need to send someone up there (to Washington) with integrity and honesty. She brings a sense of practicality to the office.”
The Plumber’s endorsement might actually sway some votes in the 6th District, which has strong tea party flavor and features some formidable candidates, including state Sen. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, and Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville. At one time, he had said nice things about another candidate in the race, Dave Evans — and still does — but that was not a formal endorsement. Joe goes with Lou Ann.
Being a Republican does not impress Joe the Plumber.
“My job is to serve my country, not serve parties,” he said. “Unfortunately, parties have forgotten about that. The Republican Party, the Democrat Party, they rarely say they will make America better. The party will always say let’s make the Republican Party better. That ain’t going to help us.
“The Republican Party collected $11.4 million in March. Do you know how much of that you guys are going to see? Not a dime. Know how much the community is going to see? Not a dime.”
Joe said he was tired of a lack of personal responsibility.
Joe on crime: “I don’t care if you were beaten as a child, if you turn 18 and kill somebody you should get the death penalty.”
Joe on torture: “They talk about how immoral it is to torture terrorists. I’ll torture every last damn one of those terrorists if it’s going to save an American life.”
Joe on other issues: “I can’t stand abortion. I can’t stand same-sex marriage. I’ve got five guns, and that ain’t near enough. I’ve got a Dodge 4×4 truck I drove all the way down here from Toledo, Ohio, and I made one hell of a carbon footprint. I plan on leaving another carbon footprint when I go back. I’m tired of the green being shoved down my throat.”
You could tell Zelenik has heard Joe’s speech before because when he got to a point when he wanted to talk about political correctness, Zelenik, several feet away, turned and put her head in her hands.
“Political correctness is political castration,” Joe said. “People are afraid to speak their mind.”
Before he spoke to the folks gathered at the courthouse, Joe was asked if he had 30 seconds alone with Obama today what he would he say to the president.
“I usually leave Barack Obama alone, because most of my anger is focused on Congress and the American people for letting this happen,” he said.
“As far as 30 seconds alone, honestly, there’s not a lot I’d say to him. He’s got his own thing he’s trying to do. I don’t believe in it. I don’t support it. I know he’s not going to listen to me, so I wouldn’t want to waste the oxygen.”