Joe the Former (But Not Actually) Plumber Update

So Joe the Plumber has a fancy new union job with… Chrysler:

As the Toledo Blade reports, Joe the Plumber — a.k.a. Samuel Wurzelbacher — says he was required to join the United Auto Workers, now that he works for a union shop, and claims he’s been called a “Tea Bagger” by at least one pro-union co-worker. “I’m a Republican who was cast into the limelight for having the temerity to confront Barack Obama on the question of redistributing wealth,” Joe says. “But I’m a working man, and I’m working.”

The union angle is fun, but it’s worth noting another interesting and amusing irony to this tale.

It appears plausible that Joe the Plumber may not have gotten this auto job if it weren’t for the hated bailout of the auto industry, which was first championed by George W. Bush and then became a leading symbol for years of Obama’s penchant for big-footed government intervention in the private market.

***

Sean McAlinden, who has studied the auto-bailout as the chief economist for the non-profit Center for Automotive Research, tells me it’s likely Joe’s new job is at one of two Chrysler plants currently operating in Toledo, Ohio, Joe’s home town. (I’ve emailed Joe asking for more info.)

“He wouldn’t have gotten a job in Toledo if Chrysler hadn’t been bailed out,” McAlinden tells me. “The unemployment rate in Toledo would have been at 15 percent.”

Here’s Joe in 2012 when he was running for office:

Wurzelbacher speaks more like a third way centrist than a Tea Party tribune. His agenda: tax reform, cutting regulation. “I believe we’re completely out of balance. There’s got to be a center here.” He’s opposed to green initiatives. He thinks the auto bailouts were an example of government overreach. “Most of my neighbors work at Jeep and GM, but most of them disagreed with the bailout,” he says. Neither party has been significantly aggressive on simplifying the tax code. He’d like to audit the Federal Reserve and go through the budget line by line. “They want to scare people and talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare,” he says. “Nobody talks about going through the budget line by line.”

Not that he will learn a damned thing.

61 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    chopper says:

    So do we call him ‘Sam the autoworker’ now?

  3. 3
    scuffletuffle says:

    I never knew there were cars made with plumbing in them. Glad to know Chrysler is finding skilled workers.

    #99percenter

  4. 4
    Randy P says:

    As I pointed out in the previous not-Joe the not-Plumber thread, he used the term “teabagger” to describe himself as recently as yesterday. So I think he’s about 4-5 years behind his colleagues in discovering that is not the preferred term anymore.

  5. 5
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    There must not be any more broken pipes in Toledo. I suppose he could have moved to where plumbers are more in demand.

  6. 6
    Belafon says:

    When the UAW strikes, Joe will be on Fox complaining about how the union is trying to destroy Chrysler. Then, when the UAW has to make concessions because of his actions, he’ll complain that they can’t do their job. Then, when the rest of the UAW turns against him, he’ll complain about what bullies union people are.

    If I was in charge of the UAW, I would have either not let him in, or required a hazing ritual for him to gain membership.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @Belafon: Blanket party.

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Not for nothin’, but why should I give a sh*t about this self-glorifying nothin’?

  9. 9
    NonyNony says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937:

    There must not be any more broken pipes in Toledo. I suppose he could have moved to where plumbers are more in demand.

    You would not call Sam “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher to fix your pipes anyway because he never actually was a plumber. He worked for a contractor and did some plumbing work as an assistant, but he wasn’t a plumber. ’tis why he needs the union job at Chrysler now – if he were a decently trained plumber there’s still plenty of work available in Toledo and the surrounding areas.

    Old Sam just got a chance to live out every angry Republican white guy’s fantasy – he got some time in the spotlight for harassing a Democratic politician, and he was able to make it pay for a few years! What could be better than that? Sadly, old Sam just isn’t that good at grifting, so now he needs to take up a union job to pay the bills.

    (I love how he goes into that “private vs. public” unions bullshit. He can’t just honestly say “I’ll be part of a union when it’s good for me, but fuck the teachers and other public workers if they want to unionize – I’m never gonna be a teacher, so what the fuck do I care if they get paid for what they do.” It’s why he couldn’t keep up the conservative grifting gig and and to get a real job – if he could just have said “fuck the teachers” loud enough he’d have a radio show. Or be the governor of New Jersey or something.)

  10. 10
    Anya says:

    I though Joe the Plummer was a business man who was making more than 200,000. Why does he need to become a lowly Union Thug?

  11. 11
    Brian R. says:

    Nice to know he’s going to die angry and frustrated at the entire world.

  12. 12
    Schlemizel says:

    Just wait – after his 90 days are up he will start posting about how awful the UAW is and how much better he personally and Fiat Chrysler Automotive would be without them. He is the nutters lap dog and a job won’t change him. The UAW would be smart to find a way to get Not Joe the Not Plumber shit canned as fast as possible.

  13. 13
    IowaOldLady says:

    Simplify the tax code? For a guy like him, taxes could not be simpler. The code is complex for folks who make money in far different ways than he does, and it’s because they want it that way.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Sadly enough, he’s probably a pretty good representative of the average mid-term voter

    also, too, what the hell does “audit the Federal Reserve” even mean?

  15. 15
    SatanicPanic says:

    @chopper: No, that’s his actual job so we have to call him something else.

  16. 16
    raven says:

    Devo’s Bob Casale dead of heart failure.

  17. 17
    Roger Moore says:

    @Belafon:
    I’m guessing that when he gets laid off first because he lacks seniority, he’ll claim it’s retaliation for his political views.

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    @Anya: Because Uncle Sugar ruined his plumbing business in order to give free abortions to married gay people of Mexican descent.

  19. 19
    NonyNony says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I propose “Joe the Fishmonger”. Because I like to say “fishmonger”. And he’s not a fishmonger.

    @Schlemizel:

    The UAW would be smart to find a way to get Not Joe the Not Plumber shit canned as fast as possible.

    Eh. He’d claim it was “retaliation” and he’d be right. There’s no need to feed into his martyr complex.

    Either he’s competent or he isn’t. If he isn’t, contrary to what 30+ years of Republican propaganda would have us believe, he’ll get fired. From what we’ve seen so far of Sam Wurzelbacher, I suspect he won’t be able to keep his head down and just do his damn job.

    (Of course he’ll squack loudly that he’s been fired because of backstabbing by the UAW if it happens. Because “everyone knows” that you can’t fire anyone that the union doesn’t want to be fired. QED suckers! Then another round on the grifting circuit for Sam “The Grifter” Wurzelbacher.)

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    @chopper:

    We call him “Sam the autoworker and Obama saved his job”.

  21. 21
    cleek says:

    “Nobody talks about going through the budget line by line.”

    because that’s not how the government works?

  22. 22
    Ben Cisco says:

    If he’s as good an autoworker as he was a plumber, I’d have Quality Control on speed dial if I was them…

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @NonyNony: “monger” is woefully under-used. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are our last mongers.

  24. 24

    I grew up in Toledo in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. It was most assuredly a union town then with all of the glass and auto parts manufacturing going on. When I first got into working on political campaigns in high school (Humphrey/Muskie in 1968), I was driven to neighborhoods to canvas by union workers. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone being anti-union in Toledo unless they’re blindingly ignorant as to how the industries there work. Not surprisingly, it’s been a Democratic stronghold as long as I can remember. Based on the results from the election where Joe got his ass handed to him by Marcy Kaptur even after being her district being gerrymandered within an inch of its life, it still is.

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @NonyNony: Yes, that’s right. He was a not a trained plumber and he did not have the license to do plumbing. He worked for a man who had the license. (The same way my father worked as an electrician for a contractor who had the license. But my father was trained to do electrical work and could have gotten a license had he wanted to. He became a member of IBEW, Local 3 when the shop was organized.)

  26. 26
    Mandalay says:

    Most of my neighbors work at Jeep and GM, but most of them disagreed with the bailout,

    That is really, really hard to believe.

    If you have no skin in the game I can understand that you might support or oppose the bailout. But if you actually worked at Jeep and GM, under what scenario could you possibly have disagreed with the bailout?

    Well I realize that if I GM goes under I’ll lose my house, and my car will be repossessed, and my family will have to go on welfare, but the idea of the government rescuing GM, so that I can keep my job…it just sticks in my craw!….“.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    @Schlemizel:

    after his 90 days are up

    So funny. I thought the same thing when I read it. 90 days! 3 + 1 is 4.

    I think he announced this too early. Someone wasn’t paying attention at orientation :)

  28. 28
    NonyNony says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    “monger” is woefully under-used. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are our last mongers.

    And they’re warmongers, which isn’t fun to say. Just say it out loud – “warmonger”. It just falls flat and harsh like a dull thud.

    “Fishmonger” on the other hand just glides off the tongue. “Fish-monger”. It’s a great word.

    Almost as much fun to say as “Capuchin Monkey”.

  29. 29
    Violet says:

    @Elizabelle:

    We call him “Sam the autoworker and Obama saved his job”.

    “Sam the Obama-created-job worker” or “Sam the Soshulist”

  30. 30
    dubo says:

    Every one of those “positions” described in the 2012 quote sounds EXACTLY like a Tea Party tribune.

  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @NonyNony: Louisiana Eats radio show has an interview of ‘America’s Top Cheesemonger’

    Plus, Bill Kristol is also a warmonger. In addition to McWars McCain and Graham.

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Violet: Sammy the Stimulated? Bailed Out Joe? Joe Wurzelbailedout?

  33. 33
    NonyNony says:

    @catclub:

    “Cheesemonger” is another great word.

    I think more jobs should be described in terms of what they “monger”. Bartenders are to be known as “beermongers”, restaurant staff as “foodmongers” and teachers as “knowledgemongers”.

    We’ll have to hold a fight to see whether journalists or politicians will now be known as “bullshitmongers”, though. Perhaps a chainsaw cage match?

  34. 34
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    also, too, what the hell does “audit the Federal Reserve” even mean?

    You know – check its income and expenses. Because they expect monetary authorities to run like mom-and-pop grocery stores, watching the bottom line and turning a profit.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    But if you actually worked at Jeep and GM, under what scenario could you possibly have disagreed with the bailout?

    You say, “Yeah, yeah, whatever,” when your wingnut neighbor starts ranting and raving about the bailout, and he takes that as a sign of perfect agreement rather than unwillingness to argue the issue anymore.

  36. 36
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @NonyNony:

    Eh. He’d claim it was “retaliation” and he’d be right. There’s no need to feed into his martyr complex.

    Heh – make him a delegate, on the front line of dealing with worker complaints against management.

  37. 37
    elmo says:

    @NonyNony:

    And he’s not a fishmonger

    Sure, ’twas no wonder. For nor were his mother or father before.
    /Molly Malone

    But am I the only one who is going to point out that Sam the Joe the Not Plumber is still lying? This:

    says he was required to join the United Auto Workers, now that he works for a union shop,

    is a lie. What he’s describing (being forced to join the union) is a “closed shop,” not a “union shop,” and “closed shop” agreements have been outlawed in the United States since 1947.

    He does have to pay dues – his “fair share” – because the union is required to represent him whether he’s a member or not, so it’s only fair that he has to pay his fair share of that cost. But he most emphatically and unequivocally does not have to be a union member.

  38. 38
    Roger Moore says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    also, too, what the hell does “audit the Federal Reserve” even mean?

    I think it means “look through their books, second guessing all their decisions and hoping to find stuff that can be misrepresented for political advantage”. But that’s just a guess based on their previous behavior and general lack of good faith.

  39. 39
    elmo says:

    @elmo:

    And just to continue that thought, this is why “right to work” language is so misleading. Everyone has the right to work. Nobody has to be a union member. So all states are “Right to Work” states under Federal law dating back to the Truman administration.

    But in so-called “Right to Work” states, it’s actually a Right to Freeload – get all the benefits of union representation, with no responsibility to pay for them.

  40. 40
    NonyNony says:

    @elmo:

    What he’s describing (being forced to join the union) is a “closed shop,” not a “union shop,” and “closed shop” agreements have been outlawed in the United States since 1947.

    I’m not going to immediately jump to the conclusion that old Sam is lying here. It’s been well documented that he’s an idiot who rarely if ever knows anything about what he’s talking about. So it may be that the whole “fair share” option sailed in one ear and out the other, missing the brain cells that might have retained it in passing because he’s a dope. It could also be that he’s doing the “fair share” option but, since he’s paying the union money, he considers himself a “union worker” anyway because he’s a dope. It could also be that he’s lying outright. All of these options are on the table.

  41. 41
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    He was really a nasty piece of work in the two campaigns. He’s left all that behind, but here’s an example of one of his “sincere” statements on how Obama is his “brother”:

    “Imagine being the child of a mixed-race marriage — especially in the turbulent 60’s and free-wheeling 70’s. And when you throw in that dad was a Muslim and mom an atheist — you know it could not have been easy — and they were Communists for crying out loud! At age 6, young Barry was shipped off to Indonesia and exposed to Islam for several years. His parents divorced, he returned to the U.S. and Barack was placed with his grandparents. By the time he got to college, he was experimenting with cocaine, marijuana and even thought about using heroin,” Mr. Wurzelbacher wrote, according to The Brody File.
    “After Barack Hussein Obama suddenly cast off his Muslim roots, rejected his mother’s disbelief in God, turned tail on the Islam of his early life and converted to Christianity — BLAM — he’s elected President. Anyone who believes the two things are not connected is being disingenuous at best. I don’t know how or when it happened, whether when he was partying at college or five minutes before he first decided to run for office, but it doesn’t matter — he came to Christ and he is my brother.”

    He spent the entire campaign against Kaptur saying she was “disrespecting” his military service. He also said undocumented immigrants should be shot.

    It isn’t so much that he said all this, it’s standard Tea Party fare, but he’d say it and then immediately deny it – he hadn’t intended anything like that!

    He’s really pretty horrible.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @elmo:
    I thought closed shops required union membership before you could work there, thus letting the union control employment, while union shops required you to join the union after being hired and are still allowed. That’s what Wikipedia says, at least.

  43. 43

    @Kay: Joe and Palin do say a lot about McCain’s judgment, don’t they?

  44. 44
    slippytoad says:

    This is so awesome. The only thing more awesome would be hearing Wurzelbacher’s fucking incessant bitching about the conditions of his job, and being able to tell him to CLOCK BACK IN AND GIT YER ASS TO WORK1!

    So, did Joe not make enough of a fool of himself on Fox News to garner wingnut welfare? I am grudgingly giving him a tiny kudo, only because he is the ONLY Republican I know of who has an honest job at the moment.

  45. 45
    elmo says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Nope. Scroll down in the Wikipedia entry to the section about the United States. Taft-Hartley forbids employers from requiring union membership. All employers can require is payment of the fair share.

  46. 46
    slippytoad says:

    @Anya:

    Because obviously Republicans’ glory stories are mostly made-up garbage, and they are not nearly the wonderful people they pretend to be.

  47. 47
    James E. Powell says:

    That this person was given a celebrity that has lasted so long demonstrates so much about American political culture and all of it is sad.

    The man is right about one thing, he became known to us because he stood up to that [insert racist epithet] back when weak-kneed wonders like Senator McCain were too-PC to say what needed to be said.

  48. 48
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Not just McCain. Republicans recycled the exact same Joe the Plumber-esque bullshit in 2012.

    He was “share the wealth” and they did it again with “you didn’t build that“.

    They paid people hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with those two dumb ideas, and wasted weeks on them.

    It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that Eric Cantor realized most people don’t own a business, they work for someone else. This was like a lightening bolt to him, apparently. He had to run and go tell the other House members. He didn’t know that before?

  49. 49
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m guessing that when he gets laid off first because he lacks seniority, he’ll claim it’s retaliation for his political views.

    He won’t last long enough to get laid off. He’s dumb as shit and lazy to boot, but when he get’s fired for cause, he’ll claim that it’s part of Obama’s vendetta against him. Except he won’t say vendetta because it’s a three-syllable word and only East Coast liberals use those.

  50. 50
    Kristine says:

    I always smile when I see Ford commercials with Mike Rowe. He campaigned for/appeared with Romney in 2012, yet if the R’s had had their way, I doubt he would have gotten those commercials given that Ford would have been crippled due to the loss of parts suppliers and likely followed Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy.

  51. 51
    negative 1 says:

    @elmo: I have to pay $3K for a separate schedule on our audit just so I can mail to all of our agency fee payers exactly what percentage we’re charging, and why. You are ever-so-correct that no one has to join — but why expect the media to do 5 seconds worth of research?
    The true fun is that so far no one has enough shame to deny us helping when they inevitably get jammed up on a work action, even though they bitch bloody murder about the agency fee. After all it’s usually ‘the least we can do’ after we ‘stole all that money’. Apparently the contract, salary and benefits were gifts from management.

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @elmo: ” Taft-Hartley forbids employers from requiring union membership.”

    Now there is a bill that needs to be repealed.

  53. 53
    LT says:

    Please note paret of how Joe justifies being part of a union:

    “Private unions, such as the UAW, is a choice between employees and employers.”

    Ow.

    Next Up: “When a union goes on strike, it’s a choice between employees and employers.”

  54. 54
    chopper says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    No, that’s his actual job so we have to call him something else.

    how about “Bobby the Shithead”?

  55. 55
    negative 1 says:

    @LT: Man it’s really going to burn him when someone points out that many public sector unions (including ours) have private sector members. Are we only respectable when dealing with the private sector?

  56. 56
    Glidwrith says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It’s codespeak, courtesy of Ron Paul. Basic idea was to force the Fed to open its books, then on some trumped up pretext claim how horrible they are and dissolve it. It’s part of the libertarian gold-bug-fiat-money delusion.

  57. 57
    Calouste says:

    @Kay:

    Keep in mind that a typical career path for congresscritters is law school, then a number of years as a congressional/campaign aid or a political appointee in government, then running your own campaign. Maybe they have a few years at a law office where everyone’s ambition (well, everyone that counts in their eyes, so not the paralegals or assistants) is to become a partner or owner of a law firm.

    So yeah, they don’t know, they just don’t know people like that.

  58. 58
    g says:

    @NonyNony:

    The UAW would be smart to find a way to get Not Joe the Not Plumber shit canned as fast as possible.

    They can’t, in fact they are obligated to represent him as they would any other member.

  59. 59
    g says:

    @elmo:

    What he’s describing (being forced to join the union) is a “closed shop,” not a “union shop,” and “closed shop” agreements have been outlawed in the United States since 1947.

    Exactly. This jumped out at me when I first saw this story on another site. He is either lying or so ignorant he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    According to the NLRB, the union is obligated to inform him of his right not to be a member and pay only for the cost of representation. I am sure the UAW did this – it’s the law. So he’s either a liar or stupid.

  60. 60
    LT says:

    @negative 1: I doubt he’ll understand it. That’s a pretty long sentence.

  61. 61
    Death Panel Truck says:

    I’d be surprised if the asshole knows what “temerity” even means.

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