It seems that this election has boiled down to "Joe the Plumber" vs. Bill Ayers.
OK. Fair enough I suppose.
Never mind that three months ago none of us had heard of these gentlemen, and three months from now they will both be small, forgettable footnotes to history.
Never mind that none of this has a thing to do with jobs, the economic collapse, U.S. energy policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mounting debt, crumbling infrastructure, or the health care system of this country.
Let's talk about Joe the Plumber and Bill Ayers anyway.
What do we really know about Joe the Plumber?
What do we really know about Bill Ayers?
After all, if we are going to cast our votes based on nonsense, we might as well get the nonsense right, eh?
So here are Five Facts on "Joe the Plumber" and Bill Ayers. Enjoy!
Five Facts About "Joe the Plumber"
- Joe is not a licensed plumber, has never gone to school to be a plumber, and has never completed a plumbing apprenticeship program. He is, at best, an unlicensed plumbers helper. Which is a nice way of saying he runs mechanical snakes into toilets crammed with shit because it's the very best job he could find. And no, I am not making fun of him or looking down on him; I am simply describing the job of an unlicensed plumber's helper.
- Joe the Plumber is a registered Republican (not an independent or an undecided voter as first claimed). It also appears Joe the Plumber may be related to Robert Wurzelbacher who is the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan of Keating Five scandal fame. Robert Wurzelbacher continues to be a major donor to the Republican party and lives in Ohio near where Joe the Plumber lives and works. The collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan cost U.S. taxpayers over $2 billion and permanently sullied the reputation of five U.S. Senators, including John McCain, who was interfering with federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, one of his largest campaign contributors. Whether Joe turns out to be related to Robert Wurzelbacher or not, the fact that McCain chose to name "Joe the Plumber" 23 times in Wednesday's debate suggests a campaign which does not research anything. Wurzelbacher?? That's a name McCain should be running from!
- Joe has never had any real plan to buy the plumbing company he works for. Joe has never approached a bank about buying the business, and the business may not even be for sale, as it is really only one person: Al Newell who runs Newell Plumbing and Heating. Joe is simply Al's "plumber's assistant."
- Joe the Plumber is not making more than $250,000 a year. In fact, according to his FY 2006 divorce records, he is making $40,000 a year. Newell Plumbing and Heating (the entire two-person operation) does not even make $250,000 a year. MSNBC reports that "Ohio business records show that [Newell Plumbing and Heating's] estimated total annual revenue is only $100,000. Actual taxable income would be even less than that." Bottom line: If Joe the Plumber is voting his wallet he will do much better under Barack Obama than under John McCain.
- Joe is a tax scofflaw. Records show that Joe Wurzelbacher owes the state of Ohio nearly $1,200 in personal income tax which he has either been unable or unwilling to pay. As a consequence, the state has an active lien on his property to collect back taxes.
Five Fact About Bill Ayers:
- Bill Ayers has never been convicted of anything. And though Bill Ayers admits that in his youth, more than 40 years ago, he was a member of the "Weather Underground," that organization never killed or injured an innocent person (they bombed statues and symbolic properties and always claimed credit for their actions). Three Weathermen did manage to blow themselves up while putting together a bomb in New York City in 1970, but that had nothing to do with Bill Ayers. At the time, Barack Obama was eight years old and on the other side of the world. Bottom line: Cindy McCain's beer distributorship has killed more people and done more damage to America than Bill Ayers and the entire Weather Underground ever did.
- For many decades Bill Ayers has been a well-respected educator, and is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. He has written more than 150 chapters and articles that have appeared in such journals as the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, The Nation, Kappan, and the Cambridge Journal of Education. He has authored or edited sixteen books.
. . . . His research and work has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the Annenberg Foundation, Readers Digest, and the Chicago Public Schools.
. . . .Bill Ayers served as Assistant Deputy Mayor for Education in Chicago in 1990, and he was named “Citizen of the Year” in 1994, with the award presented by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
. . . . Bill Ayers has been named the Randolph Distinguished Visiting Professor at Vassar College, Distinguished Scholar at the McKissick Museum of Education at the University of South Carolina, Visiting Scholar at Lesley College, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Nazareth College in Rochester, and has presented invited lectures or colloquia at such places as the American Educational Research Association, American Association of Curriculum and Teaching, Harvard University, Coalition of Essential Schools, University of Washington, the Detroit Institute of Art, University of Ottawa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Libraries Colloquia at Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Hawaii, Institute for Democracy and Education, Rethinking Schools, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Los Angeles Public Library, Oregon State Bar, Purdue University, American Psychological Association, AATCE, State Prison of New York, The Gates Foundation, Indiana University, Columbia University, Bank Street College, Georgia Southern University, Colgate University, National Academy of Education, I Have a Dream Foundation, University of North Carolina, Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, Rice University, New York University, Yale University, and many other colleges, universities, public events, private and public schools.
- Dr. Ayers orchestrated the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as grant writer and co-founder, a project that brought nearly $150 million to Chicago Public Schools. Walter Annenberg -- the principle first donor to the Annenberg Challenge -- was former ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Richard Nixon.
- It was on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge that Dr. Ayers met Barack Obama. Other members of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge included the President of the University of Illinois, the former president and vice chairman of Continental Illinois Bank, the President and CEO of the Field Museum, and the CEO and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
- Bill Ayers and Barack Obama have never had a social relationship. Their point of contact has been the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and occasional run-ins on the street in their neighborhood. Ayers, along with dozens of others, once had a coffee-fundraiser in the neighborhood for Barack Obama when he first ran for the state legislature. Ayer's donation to the cause was $200. He is not now, nor has he ever been, an advisor in any capacity to Barack Obama.