JOE THE WAR CORRESPONDENT…. Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher (“Joe the Plumber”) hasn’t had too much to do since the election, and it’s not as if he’s been missed. He popped up about a month ago to bash John McCain.
Now, it appears the unlicensed plumber/campaign prop, looking for a 16th minute of fame, has a new gig lined up.
Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter’s notebook.
The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.
Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR’-zuhl-bah-kur) says he’ll spend 10 days covering the fighting.
Wurzelbacher isn’t a journalist, has no background in reporting, and has no background in foreign policy. His most substantive thought on the Middle East was his stated belief on the campaign trail that Barack Obama would mean “death to Israel,” lunacy that even Fox News was uncomfortable with.
And yet, PJTV.com, a project of Pajamas Media, thinks Wurzelbacher is a great choice to be a correspondent to cover a war in Israel.
Explaining what he hopes to accomplish, Wurzelbacher said, “I get to go over there and let their “Average Joes” share their story, what they think, how they feel — especially with, you know, world opinion. Maybe get a real story out there.” Asked if he’s concerned about his personal safety, he added, “Being a Christian, I’m pretty well protected by God.”
Now, it’s easy to mock Pajamas Media for this unusually stupid stunt, and it’s equally easy to lampoon Wurzelbacher for playing “war correspondent,” but it’s worth tying this back to a dynamic we talked about last week. The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb complained that the right lacked an “equivalent outlet” to offer TPM-like reporting, and to revive the Republican Party, conservatives will need “the kind of online infrastructure the Democrats now have in place.”
Pajamas Media hiring Wurzelbacher to cover a war in Israel helps prove the point I was trying to make — the right has the capacity, but can’t get their act together to do real work. As Matt Yglesias put it, “The issue … isn’t that the right doesn’t have an outlet equivalent to TPM or other progressive sites. There are tons and tons of conservative media outlets, most of them with a web presence…. What the right lacks are people with the skill to do the job.”
Someday, conservatives will probably understand this, but not until after Wurzelbacher finishes his hopelessly ridiculous gig.