Joe The Author & The American Dream

Actually, it's more like Joe with ghost author Thomas N. Tabback who has one work of historical fiction with a religious bent to his name but whatever. Joe's book, Joe The Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream isn't as yet available but being the one-man marketing machine that Joe is, you can pre-order it. Buy it now and you can chat with Joe on his up-coming blog, plus you'll get a one year subscription to "Joe The Blogger" Newsletter. But wait there's more, act now we'll throw in free shipping on all "Shop Joe" merchandise. Thankfully, his shelves are bare for a quick perusal of his on-line store reveals not a single item beyond the aforementioned upcoming book.

Joe, however, does have a dream and a website Secure Our Dream. Here's his message to President-elect Obama:

Congratulations to Barack Obama. The American electorate has decided that he will be our next president. As I have stated, I will honor and support my president, but there will be no free ride. When President-Elect Obama takes office in January, his term of service to the American people begins. We wish our new president blessings of wisdom and good judgment, and we pray he hearkens to our voice if ever we feel our American Dream is being threatened. It will be a loud voice, so good luck trying to ignore it.

Since we have launched this website, tens of thousands of you have expressed your desire to join this movement. I am truly humbled by your support, your kind words of encouragement and your becoming a part of something that I believe we all feel can truly change the course of this country for the better.

For those of you just visiting this website, remember that real change in America will only begin if the backbone of this country becomes personally involved in demanding more from our elected officials, and by helping one another in times of need. This is our mission. This is our fight. This is our time to secure our American Dream.

It's not clear what Joe's version of the American Dream is but I'll hazard a guess that it won't include a progressive tax scheme, broad redistributive economic policies nor heathcare for all. Joe's American Dream is all about Joe and only Joe. Charity begins and ends at home. And that's my problem with the construct of the American Dream when conservatives take up that emotive cry. The American Dream for conservatives seems more about individuals or at best the nuclear family than it does about the nation as a whole.

Historically speaking, the American Dream is a rather recent development of the American credo. The term first entered the political lexicon not even a hundred years ago when historian James Truslow Adams published a book entitled The Epic of America. Adams had originally wanted to title his history of the United States written in 1931 just after the onset of the Great Depression and a little over a year before FDR became President "The American Dream" but his publisher, Ellery Sedgwick, nixed the idea stating that "no red-blooded American would pay $3.50 for a dream." Adams, it is said, quipped that "red-blooded Americans have always been willing to gamble their last peso on a dream." The rest, as they say, is history. Those two words "American Dream" have since then been a powerful part of the American political and social psyche.

Americans are dreamers. There is little question about that. And there is no denying that the dreams of Americans have resulted in tangible benefits for all of humanity. Americans, after all, did take us to the Moon and given us many Earthly delights. But the American Dream seems a largely personal one more than a collective one. The American Dream emphasizes a traditional family values orientation, economic growth, self-reliance, a Puritan work ethic, personal wealth, material comforts and independence. Historian Matthew Lassiter notes that the post World War Two embodiment of the American Dream was "a heterosexual nuclear family with a working father and a stay-at-home mother living in an upward mobile suburban neighborhood" but that by 1970s that dream "appeared on the verge of collapse" for a variety of reasons from economic to social and therein lies the last gasp of the right to fight for an American Dream gone astray.

The problem I think with the right's vision of the American Dream is that it is based on antiquated notions of how we live and who we are. The social changes that erupted out of the 1960s took hold in the 1970s and 1980s and have not been undone by forty years of largely Republican rule. If the conservatives aimed to restore some version of Norman Rockwell's America that actually never was, they have failed. In this light, it was really illuminating seeing the Sarah Palin rallies. Those in attendance were often wistful, speaking of an America that was disappearing. In truth, that America never really existed or only existed for a select few. It is a myth but Adams was right Americans would bet their last "peso" in pursuit of a dream. Rather than settled for being comfortable as say Danes and Swedes are, they want the chance to have it all even the chances of such are slim or next to none. Thus the GOP's mantra of lower taxes and trickle down played well. But it hasn't paid off. Freidmanism is as dead as Milton Freidman. Alan Greenspan's recent mea culpa, I hope, marks the end of the economics of individualism.

My version of the American Dream isn't all about me, it's about us. It's the freedom to live my life and the pursuit of my happiness certainly but it is also about health care for all, it's about affordable education for all, it's about a sound energy policy and environmental protection for sake of generations yet to come. Let's dream but dream of all of us. If one is left behind, then the American Dream hasn't been fulfilled.

Tags: Joe the Plumber, The American Dream, The Failure of Conservatism (all tags)

Comments

18 Comments

Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream

He better send that shit out soon enough. That's my Secret Santa gift.

by vcalzone 2008-12-03 04:03PM | 0 recs
gag

what a cliched, horrible writer

by Lolis 2008-12-03 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: gag

Sorry, I can't please everyone but I do write with different styles. The first part was meant sarcastically but the point is really every time the right feels threatens they dredge up this myth of an America that never really was. It's me me me behind a facade of family values.

Thanks.

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-03 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: gag

I was talking about Joe the Plumber.

by Lolis 2008-12-03 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: gag

Oh, my misread then. I take it you're not going to pre-order the book then?

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-03 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream

I am happy to see you here Charles.

by KnoxVow 2008-12-03 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The American Dream

Thanks!

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-03 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream

Joe's American Dream is all about Joe and only Joe. Charity begins and ends at home.

You couldn't have said it better - considering that he'll be receiving a salary from his newly founded "charity". Presumably he'll be it's sole benefactor.

Oh well. So the wingnuts fund one of their own. Better a self-absorbed loser than another Bush.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-03 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream

This guy is a CHODE

by dannybauder 2008-12-03 06:15PM | 0 recs
The American Dream

What's a CHODE?

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-03 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The American Dream

It's a d**khead. Very accurate description of Joe the Shameless Media Whore if ya aks me.

by Spiffarino 2008-12-03 08:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The American Dream

The portion of human anatomy between the scrotum and anus.

by lojasmo 2008-12-04 12:50AM | 0 recs
Re: The American Dream

Technically that is a choda. This is a derivation of the word.

by vcalzone 2008-12-04 02:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream

This is of course the same asshat that thought that a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel.

I love this guy (not). He tells this heaert warming story about a guy he's fighting for (apparently unliscened, half-educated plumbers are the sentinels of our society) who lost everything in the stock market.  He chalks it all up to government corruption.  The douche.

by thoughtfully ebullient 2008-12-03 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe The Author & The American Dream
The Republican's version of the American dream evidently consists of having someone else write a book for you, have another someone else run a website for you, while you try to suck every last dollar out of your 15 minutes of fame.
He will fade into obscurity soon, I hope.
by skohayes 2008-12-04 01:53AM | 0 recs
who is using whom?

I suspect that Joe or whatever his name is, gets little of money from his book or charity. There are GOP charlatans who will make money off of him, but Joe won't get much.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-12-04 08:12AM | 0 recs
Joe: The Tragedy

The "Joe" story has some pretty good symbolism behind it.

Joe is part of what I'd call the "Amway Republican" demographic. These are average middle-class people who are good enough at what they do, but who don't have the natural talent and energy that they'd need to become genuinely rich and successful. Somehow they get it into their heads that they're meant for better things; that they're going to find the right "Get Rich Quick" scheme and get the success they deserve.

They vote Republican, because they're going to get rich Real Soon Now and they want to minimize their expected tax burden.

The only way they can ever become successful is if they hit the lottery. The irony is, Joe did hit the lottery. He stumbled into the right place at the right time, and got nationwide name recognition. He became a folk hero among his fellow Amway Republicans.

All he needed to do was go up to one of his contacts in the McCain campaign, and say. "I want to use my newfound popularity to help the party. I just need to find a good agent/manager who can set me up with a speechwriter and maybe some public-speaking lessons, and then see if we can use my name to get bookings for motivational speeches from a Republican point-of-view. You know the industry, so can you refer me to a top-quality agent who'd be interested in taking me on as a project?"

I don't know how much money he could get, but I'm pretty sure that he could earn a comfortable living without too much effort, just by making the rounds at MLM conventions and Prosperity Gospel churches. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he cracked the $250,000/year barrier and could truthfully say that Obama raised his taxes.

But looking at his website, I don't think he tried to find an agent. It looks like he's trying to break into the field by himself...relying solely on his own training and education, his own natural talent, and his own energy. Lots of luck, Joe!

by mazement 2008-12-04 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe: The Tragedy

Very well put.

by Charles Lemos 2008-12-04 12:34PM | 0 recs

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