‘Joe the Plumber’ urges flush out of Dems in Congress

Hopes to clean house, oust Perlmutter, Markey

By Ernest Luning
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

LAKEWOOD — America’s most famous plumber passed through the state this week to urge voters to flush three congressional Democrats from office. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who goes by the nickname Joe the Plumber, made stops in Grand Junction, Lakewood and Fort Collins as part of the ‘November is Coming’ bus tour meant to rally voters against vulnerable liberal lawmakers in advance of the fall elections.

Joe the Plumber holds an American flag alongside the “November is Coming” bus after delivering a speech to conservative voters Aug. 30 at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
Former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong, left, and his wife, Ellen, greet Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, at a rally Aug. 30 at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. Armstrong is president of the university.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
A supporter of Republican candidate Ryan Frazier holds a sign mocking Frazier’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, at a rally for voters Aug. 30 at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“The best two jobs in the world right now are being a weatherman and a politician — no results and you still get paid,” Wurzelbacher told a crowd of about 150 conservatives gathered Monday afternoon on the lawn at Colorado Christian University. The plain-spoken celebrity urged voters to educate themselves about the issues and hold politicians accountable.

Wurzelbacher, who rocketed to fame during the 2008 presidential campaign when a TV crew recorded him asking presidential candidate Barack Obama a question about taxes, sounded skeptical about any politicians.

“If you want to blame a politician, you might as well blame a fox for eating the chickens in a chicken coop. That’s what a fox does,” he said. A moment later, Wurzelbacher added: “Politicians are going to screw you, end of story.”

The handful of politicians in the crowd, including former U.S. Sen. and current Colorado Christian University president Bill Armstrong, former Colorado Senate President John Andrews, and statehouse candidate Mark Barrington, all Republicans, didn’t seem to mind Wurzelbacher’s assessment of their profession.

Though the main speaker didn’t mention any of the Colorado politicians targeted by the bus tour, which is sponsored by the conservative organization Americans for Prosperity, volunteers for Republican Ryan Frazier circulated in the crowd signing up supporters.

The local speakers who introduced Wurzelbacher — and activists in the crowd carrying signs and wearing T-shirts — made it clear the rally was meant to unseat U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. A stop earlier that day in Grand Junction rallied opposition to U.S. Rep. John Salazar, and one the following morning took aim at U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey. All three are Democrats.

As Wurzelbacher spoke, petition-gatherers urged attendees to attach their signatures to a document asking Perlmutter “to oppose big government programs or any other freedom-killing policies” and warned, “we will remember in November.” Voters could also text themselves onto the petition, an option urged upon the dozens of college students gathered for the rally.

Jeff Crank, who ran for Congress twice and now heads the Colorado chapter of Americans for Prosperity, introduced the speakers.

“Coloradans need to know about Perlmutter’s and Markey’s support for failed economic stimulus plans and a hostile government takeover of our health care system,” he said in a statement issued before the event. “Now it’s time for their constituents to get their say and make a difference by letting Perlmutter and Markey know they have had enough of these out-of-control policies.”

Asked to comment on the bus tour’s stop in Perlmutter’s district, a spokeswoman for the congressman lumped Wurzelbacher together with the Republican and Libertarian candidates running to unseat him.

“The policies that Joe the Plumber, Ryan Frazier and Buck Bailey are pushing have clogged America’s economy, and them trying to force the rank smelling policy of unfunded tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires at the expense of hard working middle-class families will only make things worse,” said Perlmutter campaign spokeswoman Leslie Oliver. Blasting “policies that allow for outsourcing our jobs overseas and rewarding the wealthiest 1 percent,” she added that “Joe the Plumber, Ryan Frazier and Buck Bailey need to take these failed policies of the past and give them a good flush.”

She wasn’t the only one leaning on plumbing analogies.

Continuing his criticism of the government, Wurzelbacher posed a question: “If you pay a plumber to come to your house and fix your toilet and it don’t get fixed, are you going to make them come back to do the job? Are you going to pay them more money? The federal government does.”

The bus tour continued into the Midwest with stops scheduled in Kansas and Wisconsin.

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com