When Samuel Wurzelbacher hit the news as “Joe the Plumber,” his story played well. Presidential candidate Barack Obama had been going door to door, with cameras, in an elaborate meet-and-greet binge. When he got to Wurzelbacher’s door, he got an earful. And John McCain got one of his few opportunities to really do some damage to the Obama juggernaut.
Now, the election is over, and new causes will be celebrated and reviled. But Joe’s right to speak his mind remains a live issue, one that we should all worry about.
Yes, there’s more to this story than you may have heard.
Here’s the rest of the story: Soon after his newfound notoriety, the real Joe, Mr. Wurzelbacher, found himself under investigation by the local police.
It’s an old, ignoble tradition throughout much of the world: A person speaks up, out come the billy clubs.
Fortunately, the investigation into his private records was nipped in the bud. The records clerk who actually made the inquiry has found herself under investigation. She’s even been charged with “gross misconduct” for allegedly making an improper, politically-based inquiry.
We’ll see if the investigation goes further than just this one clerk. The higher-up who approved the probe, Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, has defended her move. Will her maximum contributions to Mr. Obama’s campaign be judged irrelevant?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.