“Swing Vote” On The Economic Stimulus

The improbable plot of Swing Vote, where a small-town man somehow becomes the deciding vote in a Presidential election — causing the candidates and media to swarm him like, well, politicians for votes — may be becoming reality. While I haven’t seen the movie, my understanding is that the character of Bud, played by Kevin Costner, realizes the gravity of the situation and reaches out to the rest of the country for help with his decision.

One thinks, though, that the real version may not be so heartfelt and reflective:

When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher – more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill staffers who meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.

Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package. He’s apparently not a fan of the economic rescue package, according to members of the group.

I’m as aware as anyone of the danger of letting well-meaning technocrats “run” the country. They often weight their own beliefs too heavily, and discount the criticisms of those opposed. Whether Republican or Democrat, they walk into the echo chamber and eventually start to believe their own bullshit. It’s one of the primary ways we get bad policy.

The answer, though, is not then to turn to a plumber whose chief determining characteristic — in the mold of Sarah Palin — is that he’s an “everyman” with no real expertise. If you can’t trust the experts, neither can you trust the novices. The problem of government isn’t whether it’s an expert or a novice wielding power; it’s that the power wielded is too great to be fully understood be either.

Joe the Plumber is going to be lecturing the Republicans on economic stimulus, and they think this will help get them back into power?

Hat Tip: Economist’s Free Exchange blog, and later on my co-blogger Doug’s site.

  • Akston

    I hear they also have a baby elephant that tells fortunes with peanut shells.

    I can’t agree more with the sentiment of this post. During my experiences with the Republican Party at the state level, I came to the conclusion that most of the Republican officials I met stand for nothing. They want to be in power and they assert that they are not the other guys. That’s it. There were a few notable exceptions, but they were conspicuous in their slight numbers.

    Sadly, I see the Democrats as suffering from most of the same problem, except that they’re usually more honest and admit they’re willing to expand government power to meet their goals.

    But both parties want that power and the unintended consequences and intentional abuses of that power are the same for the Democrats and the Republicans.

    The point, as Brad so correctly states:

    …isn’t whether it’s an expert or a novice wielding power; it’s that the power wielded is too great to be fully understood be either.

    Until the Republicans get enough new blood to actually stand for something again (and mean it), they’ll just continue to seem like two-bit carnies trying to tell fortunes by asking a blindfolded plumber.