Joe the Plumber Mo Expert

This video is painful to watch for a lot of reasons—see: Joy Behar's repeated use of "homosexual" as a noun, and Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher's pitiable stupidity—but I nonetheless find it awesomely captivating in its perfect encapsulation of how every argument with a conservative bigot seems to go. (Which is not to suggest there aren't fauxgressive bigots; they've just got a different style of argument.) It's like watching one of our trolls in action: First Wurzelbacher's argument breaks down factually, then he starts to spin and babble as he realizes he's outgunned, and then he just starts asserting his "right" to hold a bigoted opinion "without being chastised for it."


Behar sets him straight.

[Transcript below.]
Behar: Now, in an interview, you were asked about gay people—this, this bothered me I have to tell you. [Wurzelbacher laughs] So far, I like you, but this annoyed me.

Wurzelbacher: That's quite all right.

Behar: You said: "I personally still think it's wrong."

Wurzelbacher: Mm-hmm.

Behar: Homosexuality.

Wurzelbacher: Yes.

Behar: "People don't understand the dictionary—it's called queer."

Wurzelbacher: Mm-hmm.

Behar: "Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that." And you also said that you wouldn't want your children near homosexuals.

Wurzelbacher: Mm-hmm.

Behar: Now, you're equating pedophiles with homosexuals, and it turns out that 70% of pedophiles are heterosexual. [Note from Liss: I don't think that number is right or even particularly meaningful without any explanatory context, e.g. whether it includes hebephiles and ephebophiles, for whom victims' gender is a stronger consideration (something Behar will obliquely address shortly). Point being, I wouldn't quote that stat.]

Wurzelbacher: I'm sorry—how you define that? I mean, if a guy—

Behar: How do you define what?

Wurzelbacher: Well, you're talking about them being, uh, I mean, hold on, let's back up one second. When I was talking to that interview, I was making a point as my opinion should not necessarily be public policy—just like every politician out there thinks their opinion needs to be public policy. That was the whole interview. Now, they were asking me questions abstract as far as this goes, uhh, when it comes down to homosexuality, how can you sit there and say they're straight? I mean, they're sitting there playing with, you know, a guy sitting there playing with a seven-year-old boy, how, how is he straight?

Behar: That is a pedophile, if he's, if he's abusing a child. [Wurzelbacher snorts] It's not because he's gay or straight.

Wurzelbacher: Is he the same sex?!

Behar: No, but that's not the point.

Wurzelbacher: But that is the point to me.

Behar: No, but there are pedophiles—and this is, this is a fact—

Wurzelbacher: Mm-hmm.

Behar: —pedophiles will go for either girl or boy, whoever's available, because it's about power over children. It's not about sex.

Wurzelbacher: Well, it's the—

Behar: It's like rape, Joe. It's like rape. It's about power.

Wurzelbacher: I understand that.

Behar: You see that? It's not about homosexuality. Homosexuality happens to be an orientation that some people have. I don't think it's a choice, do you?

Wurzelbacher: Uh, from what I un—actually, yes I do believe it's a choice, and it's probably—

Behar: Why would you choose that when people like you vilify them?!

Wurzelbacher: I haven't vilified anyone.

Behar: Well, if you're saying—if you're equating pedophiles with homosexuals, you're vilifying. Sorry.

Wurzelbacher: If you follow that up on that—if you follow that up on the rest of the interview, you know, I have had friends that are homosexual, uhh, two of them died from AIDS. I'm not against it, but it's not my lifestyle.

Behar: I know that.

Wurzelbacher: Me being an American, I'm allowed to have that opinion and not be chastised for it.

Behar: Well—

Wurzelbacher: I served my country, um, and I—

Behar: So do a lot of homosexuals. If we would let them, more would.

Wurzelbacher: Well, that, that being said, I'm not, I'm not—what I'm saying, though, is I'm allowed to have my own opinion without being chastised for it. I, you know, my family's foughten for this country, I've foughten for this country—

Behar: Listen, listen Sam. Samuel—

Wurzelbacher: —therefore I deserve that right.

Behar: —you can have your opinion, and you're gonna get chastised for it. Just like I have my opinion [Wurzelbacher laughs] and I get chastised for it.

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