Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe The Plumber And Keating

Ok, so yesterday I jump on this Joe the Plumber/Charles Keating connection and do a post about it. Half an hour later I come across a post on Kos that seems to kill it and dump my post. But I remain troubled through most of last night. There may or may not be a connection, but so far no one seems to have settled the matter.

It first showed up on Martin Eisenstadt's blog right after the debate. Eisenstadt works closely with the McCain campaign and here's what he wrote:

John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned “Joe the Plumber,” some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John’s debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). “You idiots - he’s related to Charles Keating… of the Keating Five scandal!” They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who’s spurned Barack Obama’s tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher’s background.

Hmm. That seems to settle it. There were numerous followups including this comment on Eisenstadt's post:

I found that Samuel “Joe” was actually living in Tucson, AZ back in the early 1990’s precisely when RM Jr. was going on trial there. After a nasty divorce (which involved his wife fleeing to a women’s shelter and obtaining medical help, the police involved, etc.) he went to Toledo. So there is a connection geographically as well to RM Jr.

It should be pointed out that both RM Jr. and Sr. were quite wealthy Republican contributors, as were their wives. Both have residential ties to both Ohio and Arizona, and also “Unknown, Alaska”.

So there's a little more. There are only 170 Wurzelbachers living in the U.S. and that seems to narrow the whole mess down. There's even a Wurzelbacher who race dogsleds or snowmobiles and lives in Wasilla if you're hunting for weirdness.

If there is a connection it is this: Joe the Plumber, Samuel J Wurzelbacher, is related (son, brother, whatever) to Robert M Wurzelbacher. Robert was Vice President of the parent corporation of Lincoln Savings & Loan, American Continental Corporation, which was controlled by Charles Keating. Charles Keating was best buds with John McCain. Charles Keating was also Robert Wurzelbacher's father in law.

During the Lincoln S&L debacle of the late 80's, also referred to as the Keating Five scandal, many folks lost a lot of money through some very illegal dealings. Keating went to jail. Wurzelbacher went to jail, for 40 months. Four U.S. senators essentially saw their political aspirations destroyed for their involvement. McCain got a pass for his involvement primarily because the Senate didn't think it had the jurisdiction to rule on McCain who, at the time was not a Senator, but a representative. Nonetheless, McCain apologized for his part and claimed it was a severe lapse in his judgement.

The Kos post said this:

Just like in the days after Sarah Palin was picked for VP, there's a lot of speculation about this "Joe the Plumber" character. I think some of the speculation has been verified- the fact that he's got a tax lien, and he's not licensed as a plumber. But I've seen a lot of speculation about his possible ties to Robert Wurzelbacher, the son-on-law of Charles Keating of the Keating 5 scandal.

Move on. Nothing is there.

Robert M. Wurzelbacher, son-in-law of Keating, was 37 years old in 1991 when federal charges were filed against Keating. It appears that he has addresses in Phoenix and Coronado, CA.

The Robert M. Wurzelbacher of Milford, OH, a heavy donor to GOP candidates, is 83 years old and retired. They're not the same person.

Digging to see if this guy is a plant or a hypocrite is a good idea. But I think it's equally important to know the link before idle speculation.

That is what killed my post yesterday. Hey, look, Joe the Plumber is not a plumber, doesn't pay his taxes, isn't undecided, and apparently from court records has a history of domestic violence. That's more than enough to torture the guy.

But if he is also tied to Keating it makes the whole thing murky, strange and stupendously stupid or nefarious (you choose) on the part of the McCain campaign. We just don't know. I doubt he could have been planted as some have suggested - too many variables to assure success. I tend to lean toward the stupid argument. McCain vets no one and this is a perfect example. If it turns out that Joe has a Keating connection the next two weeks will be dominated by this and by a rehash of the Keating scandal. That is not what McCain needs or wants. It needs to be ferretted out and I'm certain there is some MSM that is doing just that right now.

In the end it will be cleared up, but a whole lot of people are jumping to some conclusions for which there is little supporting evidence. Stay tuned cause somebody is going to end up looking very bad and regardless of who it turns out to be, it won't be good.

Martin Eisenstadt is a hoax? Welcome to teh blogging world.

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