“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

That quote, erroneously and ironically attributed to Mark Twain, is reflected in a false accusation of racism spread recently regarding Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a/k/a “Joe the Plumber.”

Wurzelbacher is hardly the household name he was back in the 2008 campaign, when he asked Obama some difficult questions and complained about government regulation during an Obama campaign stop.

For the unforgiveable sin of saying something negative about Obama, Wurzelbacher immediately came under attack on a scale seen by few, including having government employees illegally search Ohio records trying to dig up dirt on him.

While Wurzelbacher ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012, he hardly is a central political figure.  But the urge to get him and demonize him lives on in the left blogosphere and media.

Wurzelbacher recently cross-posted a column written by Kevin Jackson at The Black Sphere.

Kevin Jackson The Black Sphere

The original Jackson column was titled America Needs a White Republican President, a provocative title but espousing a fairly conventional theory — that fear of being accused of racism has stifled the ability to have an open dialogue regarding Obama’s many faults.  And in the case of the Black community, Jackson argued, free rein has been give to black race card players.  The column ends (large lettering in original):

Blacksphere America Needs a White Republican President

Nobody wants to discuss it, because racism by black Liberals has been  sanctioned by the Left, even encouraged. Black racists get a pass, as black  race-baiters are unchallenged on the most idiotic ideas and statements.

MSNBC’s Touré said that using the word “angry”  to describe Obama is racist. Juan Williams of Fox News said that mentioning the  Constitution is racist, and the list goes on.

But it gets worse. These Lefty racists do a far bigger disservice to blacks  and America in general, as they rationalize Obama’s (and the Left’s) inability  to create opportunity. When their policies wreak havoc, they pose insane  arguments. They say that Republicans are trying to starve people by reducing the  welfare rolls that Liberals have happily increased by 16M Americans.

Race-baiting, poverty-pimp Al Sharpton argued recently to keep 3M known deadbeats  on welfare.

Black racists don’t complain when black people are marginalized and insulted  with policies that dumb down black America, like the lessening of academic standards. They are  fine telling black youths that those youths are less smart than all other ethnic  groups. Certainly no future ramifications from that policy, said nobody  ever.

These same racists allow for black children to be cheated in education and  ultimately, opportunity, as their enablers—guilty white Liberal racists—turn a  blind eye.

I long for the days of a white president, because under white presidents, at  least black people had pride. Liberals have stolen pride from blacks, and they  have no intention of giving it back.

At least if we had a white president,  black people might have a shot of regaining a modicum of respect.

Whether you agree with Jackson or not, it certainly was not a racist column. The literary device of claiming to want a white president was an expression of frustration with race card players, not an expression of anti-Black sentiment.  Any fair-minded person reading Jackson’s column would see that.

When Wurzelbacher cross-posted the column, he did it the way many people do (and how we do it at Legal Insurrection), post an excerpt and prominently link over to the original.  Wurzelbacher could have been more explicit that it was written by someone else, but it didn’t take much to figure it out when looking at the cross-post.

JoeForAmerica America Needs a White Republican President

After quoting the opening paragraphs from Jackson’s column, Wurzelbacher made clear the source of the writing:

JoeForAmerica read the rest as blacksphere

Just another cross-post, albeit with a provocative title.

The post quickly got attention in the left-blogosphere.  The appropriately named Crooks and Liars did a post about it on October 11, not mentioning the true source of the article.

But the Wurzelbacher cross-post didn’t go viral until a post about it by Taegan Goddard at Political Wire, which completely ignored the true author of the article, and cryptically stated that it was “posted” “a new post” by on Wurzelbacher’s website with a limited quote:

Remember Joe the Plumber

Joe Wurzelbacher, the everyman used by John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign, has a new post on his website, “America needs a white Republican president.”

“Admit it. You want a white Republican president again. Now before you start feeling like you’re a racist, understand you are not. Wanting a white Republican president doesn’t make you racist, it just makes you American.”

A number of people, including me, called Goddard’s attention to the fact that it was a post written by Jackson:

Goddard then doubled-down:

Goddard’s post and its implicit if not explicit theme that Wurzelbacher had written a racist post was picked up by Huffington Post with an explicit hat tip to Goddard.

HuffPo ht Political Wire re Joe the Plumber

The meme went viral and was cited as an example of Tea Party racism, among many other places, in the post by Roger Simon at Politico about Ted Cruz and John Boehner drowning to save the country.

HuffPo, however, had the good sense to issue a Correction to the original post, with the proper context after it realized that the meme was wrong:

HuffPo correction Joe The Plumber

Goddard has not updated or corrected his post, however, as far as I can tell.  (This is not the first time I have had that issue with him.)  I emailed Goddard for comment, but he didn’t respond.

Wurzelbacher, for his part, has been left to wondering how it is that he has been called a racist for quoting one black person’s criticism of another black person:

Joe The Plumber Facebook Oct 13 9 a.m.

Wurzelbacher noted the irony:

So an African-American writer pens a blog on how it used to be okay to criticize the president without fear of being called a racist. Naturally, the Huffington Post calls me a racist for posting it.

This is a model of how it takes so little for a false accusation of racism to travel half-way around the world, or in the case of the Tea Party, all the way around the world before the truth comes out.

Of course, by the time the truth comes out, the world has moved on, and the lie remains.

I don’t care whether you like “Joe the Plumber” or not.  He didn’t deserve to have a cross-post taken out of context and inaccurately described in order to gin up an accusation of racism.

There but for fortune could go you or I.


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