Commentary Magazine


Patio Man Meets Joe The Plumber

David Brooks describes Patio Man — the average middle class suburbanite and concludes:

Patio Man wants change. But this is no time for more risk or more debt. Debt in the future is no solution to the debt racked up in the past. This is a back-to-basics moment, a return to safety and the fundamentals.

Well, perhaps Patio Man should have a conversation with Joe the Plumber. (By the way, will this cast of characters disappear after the election or do we have to make room for an never-ending stream of iconographic figures?) Joe has figured out that Obama intends to spread the wealth — meaning suck up a whole lot more money from the private sector and mush it around. And because one can’t possibly collect enough to mush it sufficiently, we will have to borrow and borrow more money. Debt? My word, we haven’t seen anything yet!

Then there are “safety and fundamentals.” Let’s put aside Joe the Blabbermouth VP  and the prospect of international challenges for a moment. Obama wants to give habeas corpus rights to terrorists, meet with Ahmadinejad and chat with Hugo Chavez. He seemed fine with abandoning any verification requirements for North Korea. Feeling safe? Me neither.

On the domestic scene, he signed on with Bill Ayers’ revolutionary dogma as the governing philosophy for school “reform.” He also kvelled over Ayers’ take on juvenile justice. Given the choice between stodgy old institutions like the secret ballot and pleasing his Big Labor supporters, he chooses the latter. He’s to the Left of Barney Frank on taxes. He declares he wants to change the world. What’s the theme here? It’s not “safety and fundamentals.”

It’s hard to fathom how Patio Man would perceive Obama as the right man for him. But maybe Patio Man is impressed with Obama’s grasp of Reinhold Niebuhr. In that case, he’s the perfect candidate.