Book Your Tickets to Toledo, Mainstream Media

Book Your Tickets to Toledo, Mainstream Media

Book Your Tickets to Toledo, Mainstream Media

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 26 2011 12:11 PM

Book Your Tickets to Toledo, Mainstream Media

When Joe Wurzelbacher first hinted at a 2012 congressional run, I offered a word of caution: He would not win. He resides in the 9th district of Ohio, which a Republican gerrymander has turned into a deep shade of electric blue -- it's 17 points more Democratic than the rest of America, according to Cook. Joe Wurzelbacher is extraordinarily unlikely to become a member of Congress.

So the media must be ignoring his official announcement. Right? Right?

Screen shot 2011-10-26 at 12.01.25 PM

See that? Nearly 1000 articles and stories in Google News about Joe the Plumber running for Congress. Not about Josh Mandel, the scarily upwardly-mobile state treasurer who has a decent shot of defeating Sherrod Brown. Not about the possibilty of a voter reform referendum that could make the November 2012 ballot; not even about the union and health care mandate initiatives on the ballot in six days. Nope. We are being dazzled once again by a guy who was a plumber for a while, and said some things, and then became a paid speaker at Tea Party events, in order to say the same things for a living.

Consider this a warning. There is a reasonable possibility of a 2012 campaign between Dennis Kucinich, the Democrat, and Joe Wurzelbacher, the Republican. There may be a good Esquire piece in this, if Charles Pierce wants to spend a couple of days on it. But it will not be a bellwether race, or a statement about What Politics Is Like in 2012. It'll be a campaign between celebrities. It will allow various PACs to fundraise off a big, buzzy race, then spend the money elsewhere. Watch Ohio-9 not for the saga of Joe the Congressman; watch how people exploit it.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.