GOP disaster: First Specter and now Joe the Plumber?

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    Perhaps Joe the Plumber was trying to get Meghan McCain to leave the Republican party way back in November. It looks like she's not going anywhere, but Joe the Plumber rocked the political world on Thursday by announcing his departure.
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Specter. Who cares?

Small potato (e) s. This is much larger than that.

Think if Bob Dole left the Republican party after losing his presidential bid in 1996. Or if John Kerry jumped ship and abandoned the Democrats in 2004.

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That's the magnitude of today's announcement. A member of the actual Republican 2008 presidential ticket is giving up. Quitting. Leaving. Skipping town.

Historic

No, not John McCain or Sarah Palin. You'll recall that last year marked the first time in history that a third person was added to a presidential ticket.

He joined the team late to the game but quickly served in many capacities. Perhaps most notably was when he auditioned for Secretary of State weeks before election day.

Sure, his performance led a commentator on the conservative FOX News network to visibly shudder and say aloud that he was "frightened" with his guest's remarks.

But that's the type of machisimo and gusto that made Joe the Plumber, well ... uh, Joe the Plumber.

Famous

Plumber, perhaps the most well-known quasi-plumber turned author turned war correspondent turned economic advisor turned political reporter turned public speaker, announced today that he -- like Specter -- was throwing in the towel.

Who got this exclusive? Credit TIME magazine.  And there's worry that traditional journalism is dead?

Michael Grunwald reports that Plumber (we know he has another last name but Plumber is easier to spell) is "so outraged by GOP overspending, he's quitting the party — and he's the bull's-eye of its target audience."

"But he also said he wouldn't support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid — which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits," Grunwald adds.

You can see why the GOP enlisted him to be an economic advisor a couple months ago.

Famous quotes

Grunwald's a good reporter. But not that good. He didn't get any quotes from Plumber. And Plumber's full of 'em.

Like when discussing the importance of the press, he opined, "I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting."

Or on the discussion of the freedom of speech, he said he longed for the good old days. "Back in the day, really, when people would talk about our military in a poor way, somebody would shoot ‘em. And there’d be nothing said about that," he said.

And we're not even going to start on what he said a couple days ago...

Survive

Can the Republican party survive? This is a tough one. Perhaps the biggest challenge yet.

If the old saying is true that it's always darkest before the dawn, then it must be midnight (or whenever it's really dark).

Our advice? Embrace Gloria Gaynor.
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