‘Joe the Plumber’ on Dobson, ‘queers’ and GOP rebranding

Conservative movement pitchman Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, continues his rather controversial revisionist American history tour with free-wheeling remarks invoking states rights and the Biblical origins of the U.S. Constitution.

In an interview published in Christianity Today, Joe the Plumber opines on politics and GOP rebranding efforts while professing his love for Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and slurring “queers” whom he won’t let near his children.

In a hastily transcribed interview with no apparent rebuttal to his claims, Christianity Today gives Joe an open mike to present his own special brand of right wing conservativism:

Why does conservatism appeal to you as a Christian?
Conservatism is about the basic rights of individuals. God created us. As far as the government goes, the Founding Fathers based the Constitution off of Christian values. It goes hand-in-hand. As far as the Republican Party? I felt connected to it because individual freedom should not be legislated by the federal government.

In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?
At a state level, it’s up to them. I don’t want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it’s wrong. People don’t understand the dictionary—it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do—what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.

Does the Republican Party reach out to evangelicals enough?
No. None of them stand up for anything. They use God as a punch line. They use God to invoke sympathy or invoke righteousness, but they don’t stay the course. That’s why I think that all needs to be taken out of the federal level and give it back to the states. We’ve lost our American history. Every state has “In God we trust” or “With God’s help” in their constitution. God is recognized as, if you will, America’s religion.

Who do you see as the emerging leaders for the Republican Party?
There isn’t one. You got the RNC talking about repackaging principles and values to make them hip and cool to the younger generation. You can’t repackage them. They are what they are. You can’t make what they are.

I like Sarah Palin a lot, actually. I just don’t know if that’s where God’s leading her. I just know the Republican Party’s done its best to blackball her. I don’t know what her agenda is. If she ran, would I vote for her? Absolutely. John McCain was the lesser of two evils.

Who do you see as the emerging Christian leaders?
James Dobson. I love Dobson. I love John Eldridge’s Wild at Heart. The last book I read was The Five Love Languages [by Gary Chapman].

Some people have criticized the Republican Party as being the party of the rich. How can they change their image?
I don’t know if they can change their image. I really don’t. But, you also have to take into consideration that the Democrats say they are for people in poverty. They’re not. They take advantage of all the tax breaks that the IRS has put in place for them. Tax lobbying is a billion-dollar industry up in Washington. Get rid of the tax code we have. Implement a fair tax—make it a level playing ground. People in poverty keep them in power—that’s what people have to understand.

There’s much more on reading the Bible, running for office and his star-making GOP presidential candidate John McCain as the “lesser of two evils.”

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Wendy Norris

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