“Do you believe in the American Dream?”

That’s what Sam “Joe” Wurzelbacher — Joe the Plumber, to his legion of fans — asked Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio. The story goes that Joe, an uncommitted voter, quizzed Obama on his tax plans, adding that, he wanted to buy the plumbing business he was working for, but… “I’m being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American dream.”

Meh. Not so much.

Turns out that Joe the Plumber… isn’t. He’s not a plumber: he has no plumbing license, never finished his plumbing courses, and hasn’t apprenticed as a plumber. His income of about $40,000 today is unlikely to put him in a position to buy that $280,000 plumbing business, and certainly today’s tight credit markets — largely the result of Republican political and regulatory malfeasance — won’t find him getting a loan any time soon. More, it seems that Joe already has a tax lien against him for about $1200 bucks.

Oh, and he’s actually a registered Republican, who voted in this spring’s primary. You betcha.

Despite the fact that in one day he talked to more folks in the press than Sarah Palin has since her VP nomination, Joe will soon be just another speed-bump under McCain’s Straight Talk Express, ’cause when pressed by CBS news, he admitted that, yeah, Obama’s tax plan would probably save him money after all.

So, Joe — now that your fifteen minutes of fame are tick-tick-ticking down, now that your bank account and your tax status and your failings as a wannabe plumber have been… well, thoroughly plumbed, and now that you’ve been tossed aside by your candidate, having served your purpose as a ready and willing stage prop in a debate — I have only one question.

Do you believe in the American Dream?

Oh! And also…

Last night, Sarah Palin said she didn’t want to talk about Wurzelbacher. “I begged our speechwriters, ‘Don’t make me say Joe the Plumber, please, in any speeches,” she said. After failing to properly vet Wurzelbacher’s situation, the McCain campaign is apparently now throwing him overboard and moving on.

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