Wading through the thick crowd at CPAC on Friday was a broad, fish-eyed man carrying an iPad in front of his face like a shield. Asked who he was, the man responded, "Joe the Plumber. I'm Joe the Plumber." He added, "If they would allow smoking, Joe would be here."
The real Joe the Plumber, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, was home in Ohio with his three-day-old daughter, Samantha Joe. Because he couldn't attend the conference in Washington, he had one of his writers from JoeForAmerica.com beam him in via Google Hangout. (The writer would only give his name as Joe the Plumber, too.)
Wurzelbacher, sporting a gray goatee and wrapped in a scarf, said from the iPad that he'd been watching the coverage from home and was not very impressed by the speakers. "You can speak all day, but I like to see action," he said. He's been encouraged by people "getting involved," from the civic activism that "gets away from the circular firing squad of the mainstream media." (He watched some of it, though, on "Hannity.")
"Did you hear I'm giving away an AR-15?" Joe said. (He's raffling off this "magnificent weapon" on his website.) Why? "In the weeks after a mentally deranged psychopath" went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary, "the mainstream media went out of its way to paint anybody with an AR-15 as a bad person, and that's just not true."
The other goal? "To stand firm in the face of political correctness."