Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher was a late addition to the speaker lineup at the How to Take Back America Conference last weekend in St. Louis, but I don’t know what the attendees would have done without him. After his short Friday night dinner speech, Wurzelbacher was given a golden wrench and a golden plunger by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). When the dinner ended, he was mobbed by fans asking for pictures with him. Because he showed up in a T-shirt and jeans — as he’s done to every conservative conference I’ve seen him at — photos with Wurzelbacher look like they were taken the day he met Barack Obama in his Ohio neighborhood.
When I got a few minutes with Wurzelbacher, I wanted to know: What ever happened to IRSVote.com, the Website where users were asked to pay $0.99 for a phone call to “vote the IRS out of business” and replace the income tax with a FairTax? While the site is still up and running, Wurzelbacher admitted that endorsing the site was probably a mistake.
“I’m learning,” he said. He started to say something about the people who hound him to endorse their products, but he thought better of it. “The basics were there for a great idea but they definitely want to do it just for money. And it was sold to me as more of a chance of doing something else. The publicity that they promised never came.”
Wurzelbacher shrugged. The idea had made sense to him, he said — people will vote for American Idol, so why not something important? But he said he’d walked away from the project, and his PajamasTV reporting job was only a three-month gig, so the high-profile projects of earlier this year were no more. He had, however, endorsed a conservative comic strip called “Microman USA,” which was on sale at the conference.
The woman right behind Wurzelbacher with the white and black Jacket is Cheryl Eager, a conservative candidate running against Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). The woman right in front is Kitty Werthmann, a South Dakota Eagle Forum leader who led a workshop on the conference on “How to Recognize Living Under Nazis & Communists.”
David Weigel will be delivering additional reports filed from the conference this weekend at the Washington Independent, the Colorado Independent’s sister site in D.C.