It’s amazing the kinds of things that can share a single news cycle sometimes.

On the one hand, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher is discovering that he was no better prepared than Sarah (“Bible Spice“/”starbursty winks“/”ethical violations“) Palin to be plastered all over the media as a symbol of “ordinary Americans,” and it’s really not much fun. Turns out he doesn’t have a plumbing license. And he doesn’t make anywhere near $250k/year. And he owes back taxes. And he’s a distant relative of Charles Keating. In light of all this, the McCain campaign (after kicking him into the spotlight in the first place) has developed instant amnesia about poor Joe… and even though he not only opposes the very concept of graduated income taxes but even thinks Social Security is “a joke,” he’s now realizing that he was “used by the Republican Party as a pawn to make their point.”

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Meanwhile…

In that media niche that actually concerns itself with matters of substance, it turns out that Joe also was registered to vote under a misspelled name. Which makes him exactly the kind of Ohio voter the GOP was trying to purge, until (as the Washington Post reports) the Supreme Court put the kibosh on that today.

Continuing in a substantive vein, the Post also endorsed Barack Obama today, in a piece that summarizes his qualities accurately and concisely:

There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president. …

Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good. …

Mr. Obama’s temperament is unlike anything we’ve seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.

There’s endless debate about whether endorsements carry any weight with the voting public, of course, but this one is notable nevertheles for how succinctly it reflects public sentiment at this historical moment.

Along which lines, suspense is still mounting over whether the Chicago Tribune will break with 150 years of loyalty to Republican presidential candidates and endorse Obama. That would definitely make news.

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