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Cross posted at Tall Tales

While Colin Powell was issuing his endorsement of Barack Obama this morning with "eloquence and humility," John McCain tried desperately to keep the "Joe the Plumber" storyline alive by saying on Fox News Sunday:

Joe the Plumber is now speaking for me

In his Saturday radio address, McCain emphasized:

Joe Wurzelbacher is a straight-talking man himself

Straight talking, indeed. Here's what Joe had to say on national television two days earlier:

Social Security is a joke.... Social Security, never believed in it, don't like it. I hate that it's forced on me.

A thought: Perhaps Democrats should find out how that open disdain for Social Security plays in Florida ... and Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia.

Now that McCain has made Joe the centerpiece of his campaign (McCain raised Joe more than 20 times in Wednesday's debate; on the campaign trail Thursday, Friday and Saturday; in his national radio address Saturday; and on national television again this morning) -- and now that Joe has embraced his status as John McCain's last, best chance for the presidency (Joe was in heavy rotation on Fox News this weekend, appearing on Huckabee Saturday and Fox and Friends Sunday) -- perhaps Democrats should make the Greatest Generation aware that McCain is relentlessly promoting someone who thinks "Social Security is a joke."

Speaking of the Greatest Generation, the man who coined the term -- Tom Brokaw -- raised the issue of senior voters with Chuck Todd this morning after the Powell interview. Here's Todd's take:

This thing is about seniors.  The difference between Obama fighting for 270 and Obama sailing past 270 is older, white voters.  The thing keeping McCain still with a boxer's chance here is older, white voters.  Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana--these are some of the old--have some of the oldest populations in the country.  So, when these voters, if they start moving in one direction, if they move in towards Obama, which we've seen a little bit of evidence that way, that's how this thing becomes from a close electoral college battle to a landslide.

Seniors are the voters most likely to remember how FDR was attacked for being a "socialist."

And let's be clear: McCain and Palin are using Joe for one simple reason -- to accuse Obama of "socialism."

Here's McCain, on Saturday, discussing Joe's reaction to Obama's middle-class tax cut plan:

Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

And here's Palin, also on Saturday:

Now Joe said to him that sounded like socialism.

This playbook isn't just worn -- it's 75 years worn -- and has roots in Herbert Hoover's final, desperate attacks on FDR.

You remember FDR, Sen. McCain. The man who brought us Social Security? The program your "old buddy" Joe hates?

Last I heard, they remember FDR in West Virginia. Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio, too.

Heck, I seem to recall hearing that FDR is still the most popular U.S. president of the 20th century. Americans kind of liked what he did with Social Security to help millions of seniors avoid poverty and destitution during the Depression. They also supported his moves to make the tax system more progressive.

Despite Americans' continued high regard for FDR, McCain is reviving the Republicans' most vicious attacks on Roosevelt, and using an open opponent of Social Security to do so.

Shouldn't we let Floridians, West Virginians, Missourians and Ohioans decide exactly what they think of that?

Nothing deceptive.

Just McCain's words about Joe, and Joe's words about Social Security.

On TV.  Every day.  For the next week.

A thought.

***

Postscript: Joe appeared on Huckabee with supply-side commentator and Wall Street Journal editorial board member, Steven Moore. Here are some of Moore's greatest hits:

"I still think that the fundamentals are very strong on the economy."

- March 3, 2007

"OK, so who does [McCain] turn to for advice? His answer is reassuring. His foremost economic guru is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration). He’s also friendly with the godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer."

- November 26, 2005

As for Moore's economic godfather, Laffer:

"The economy has done so well. It’s the best performing economy ever on earth."

- Arthur Laffer, December 7, 2007

Moore and Laffer quotes collected in Yeah, Right: "This Economy Is Strong" and Other Tall Tales,
pages 54, 60 & 61

Online Sources: Moore 2007; Moore 2005; Laffer 2007

Originally posted to Jim Oleske on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 10:55 AM PDT.

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