The guy who says that gun control laws led to the Holocaust is a no-brainer for this award, right? Well, that’s what Joe the Plumber said in a campaign speech. Yes, that’s right, this guy is actually running for an elected office, the Ninth District U.S. House seat in Ohio. Apparently climate change has also had an effect on the space-time continuum since fifteen minutes sure does seem to be lasting a lot longer these days. For those that don’t remember Joe the Plummer, he’s the guy who asked President Obama, then running for office in 2008, a question about his small business tax policies, were he to be elected.
When Obama gave his answer, that essentially was a version of “sharing the wealth makes everybody happy,” McCain/Palin seized on it and made Joe The Plumber a household name. He became the poster boy for the Republican Party’s supposedly much more pro-business attitude than the Democrats. And now he’s running to be a member of the House of Representatives. That’s fine. I mean, hey, parlay your modicum fame into a political career, Joe. You wouldn’t be the first or the last to do it. I have no problem with someone moving into politics if they have a passion for it.
What I do have a problem with though is the hyperbolic way in which Joe is showing his boner for guns. Since he’s running as a Republican in the midwest, it would be impossible for Joe to not come in favor of less restrictive gun laws. After all, the paranoia that Conservatives have towards their Second Amendment rights taken away has gotten so out of hand that Darrel Issa (the guy who convened a special Congressional panel on women’s reproductive issues and didn’t invite an actual female to participate), just led a successful witch hunt against Attorney General Eric Holder. Issa and his fellow Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have been tying the “Fast & Furious” ATF operation to a supposed plot by the Obama camp to sneakily convince Americans to be in favor of tighter gun laws by allowing Mexican drug carters to illegally purchase assault rifles and other guns. This conspiracy theory was started by a Right-Wing blogger, and has snowballed into what it is now, an Attorney General in danger of being held in Contempt by Congress.
So we get it, Republicans, you love your guns. However, in the case of Joe the Plumber, is an example of campaign rhetoric so appallingly hyperbolic and fear monger-y it makes my blood boil. Sometimes it is possible to draw historical comparisons to Nazi Germany and not come off like an idiot. There are legitimate times that you can evoke the name of Hitler and have it resonate; but those times are never when discussing U.S. domestic gun control laws. That, however, is exactly what Mr. The Plumber did.
In a new campaign ad that debuted this week, Joe said this:
“In 1939 Germany established gun control; from 1939 to 1945 6 million Jews, 7 million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.”
As if that wasn’t enough, just before that, he tied gun control laws in Turkey to another genocidal tragedy around the turn of the last century:
“In 1911 Turkey established gun control; from 1915 to 1917 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.”
It takes balls the size of some really big balls to just outright claim that had Armenians in Turkey and Jews in Europe simply had guns, they’d have been able to defend themselves and genocide would have been prevented. It’s like whoever is running his campaign watched too many sketch comedy shows, because let me tell you, as someone who used to write a fair amount of sketch comedy, this is the kind of thing I’d write for a campaign to do in their ads to show what a bunch of arrogant pricks gun nuts are; and that’s precisely what happened in this ad.
Just think about that for a moment. Joe The Plumber is telling Holocaust survivors and their families, “Sorry guys, but if you’d just had some guns, you’d have been able to stop the Holocaust, and maybe even World War II from ever happening.” It shows such a complete ignorance to history that it’s astounding. But this is what happens when you have a political party that within its ranks has a set of members that don’t just refuse to embrace academia, learning and intellectualism; they despise it. So of course this political novice on the Right is going to make idiotic claims like this. Of course he’s going to open himself up to look like a complete and total buffoon. That’s okay for Republicans right now, as long as they get their extremist message out there. How can Republicans deny their party is under siege from the Tea Party now? There is no way that 20 years ago this ad would have run in a race for a U.S. Senate seat. Maybe for some local judge appointment, but not in a bid to be a member of Congress.
So Congratulations, Joe The Plumber, for pandering to the gun lobby while simultaneously cheapening the Holocaust and insulting its survivors and their families, you receive this Bottom of the Barrel Award, you massive, massive asshole.