Glenn talks to Joe the Plumber


Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream

GLENN: 888-727-BECK, 888-727-BECK. Joe the plumber is on the phone. Joe, some of us have written three New York Times best selling times. Who do you think you are, just picking up a pen and writing some sort of drivel?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Mmm...

GLENN: Joe, you obviously have seen the New York Times review, haven't you?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Yeah, I saw that. I kind of laughed about it.

GLENN: Have you ever seen -- you should wear that as a -- I'd have T-shirts made with that review on it. Have you ever, have you ever read anything so full of hatred?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Unfortunately, yes. I have received a couple of letters and I've had some composed. I've seen a couple of letters out there. What amazed me is I haven't done anything of late. So why stir everything back up again. I understand the book and everything. Just, that wasn't news. I mean, just more or less this guy's opinion and he just wants to stir the pot, you know. I was a reporter (if I was a reporter in New York Times, I think I'd actually go for something a little bit more hard hitting myself.

GLENN: Well, I have to tell you it makes me want to go out and buy your book just to piss the New York Times off. What a bunch of snobs. First of all, who's the publisher? Who published your book?

JOE THE PLUMBER: PearlGate Publishing, a small company out of Austin, Texas.

GLENN: Oh, well, what do they know then. They don't know literature.

JOE THE PLUMBER: No, but they do know struggle and strife, you know, a small company trying to get into the publishing business. That's a pretty hard road to --

GLENN: They're not too big to fail. You know what I'm saying? This won't be a company that we'll have to bail out. I mean, nor would we, nor should we when so many great companies like the New York Times need to be bailed out.

Joe, tell me about the book.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Oh, essentially it goes through the 2008 election, you know, what transpired a little bit as far as me. It gives you an inside look. You know, I like to think I'm a little bit more educated than some out there in politics just because it's interesting to me that, you know, Washington talks about knowing your government and, you know, and actually keeping it in check and so I've always been interested in it, and getting the inside look, though, I honestly felt even more dirty after I had been on the campaign trail and seen some things that take place. It was scary, man.

GLENN: Like what?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, I spoke to John McCain pretty in-depth and, you know, I'll tease you here. A lot of liberals are going to love that passage. Right now I'm painted as the right-wing conservative nut, but I'm just an American wanting, you know, what every other American wants and that's, you know, honesty from our elected officials which, you know, has not happened in a very long time. So it's just a straight talk about John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, some other people I met along the way.

GLENN: Well, okay. Let's take them one by one. Tell me about John McCain, something that I don't know.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, something you don't know, actually it's probably stuff that you've already guessed and has already been painted in the different media spotlights. Just, well, you know, the bailouts. When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen, yet he voted for it. At the same time he's talking about how he's going to make somebody famous if they even think about putting pork in the bill? We all know how much pork was in the $700 billion bailout package. And why did he vote for it? And I asked him pretty direct questions and some of the answers you guys are going to receive, you know, they appalled me, absolutely. You know, I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.

GLENN: Really?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: Why didn't you get off the bus?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Honestly because the thought of Barack Obama becoming President scares me even more.

GLENN: Okay. Now, let me just -- 

JOE THE PLUMBER: I almost -- 

GLENN: Let me play devil's advocate here and let me play the New York Times, except I'll be fair. Isn't that part of the problem, Joe, that people will sell out their values because they will say, "No, well, I just don't want that; so I'll take this, I'll settle for this." Isn't that the problem with our system of government right now is we've settled for so long, we keep getting something that we don't want and it just gets worse and worse and worse.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, and that's exactly right. I mean, you know, hopefully I wasn't too big a proponent of that, this -- what do you call it -- tripping post, if you will. There isn't somebody. Neither campaign put out a -- no, I'm not going to speak for the Democrats but I mean, the Republicans didn't put out a candidate for us to really vote for. It's the lesser of two evils. When you get to that level, you've compromised your principles, you've compromised your values so often and you owe your soul to whatever special interest group or lobbyist has padded your campaign finances and everything else that you no longer are your own man. So you can no longer stand on your own feet because they've been cut out from underneath you years ago.

GLENN: What did you think of Sarah Palin?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Sarah Palin's absolutely the real deal. You know, I only got to spend a short amount of time with her but, you know, it was been asked if I felt any presence when I was with John McCain or Barack Obama. You know, with Sarah Palin, I don't want to say I felt a presence but she definitely had energy and she definitely went to work for American people, and it disgusts me on how often they try to bash her just for her sincerity. It's just, you know, she really wants to work for America and I mean, I wish people would listen to her and let them, and let her work for us. You know, she wants to serve us. She's not looking for power.

GLENN: Don't you think that people would listen to her but between the people in Washington that won't let go of power and the people in the media that also don't want to let go of power, they need to destroy her because she'll destroy their power structure.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Oh, their way of life, absolutely. I mean, she would curtail that. She would bring in, you know, common sense answers to -- you know, you were just talking about how you need to be a genius to run a system that, well, when you can't run it. I mean, you need to break it down, really scale it back and start over a little bit. Maybe back where our founding fathers are at. I mean, you know, for example, you know, Hillary Clinton, the whole deal with her as far as becoming Secretary of State. You know, it's kind of against -- well, it's not kind of. It's against the Constitution right now where it stands. But they're talking about getting around it. You know, seems like every time they want to do something, if something's in the way, they will get around it. What are we teaching our children? What are we teaching people, just even ourselves? You know, if something's in the way, we're going to get around it? It's there for a reason and I mean very good reasons. Our country's been the greatest country in the world for a very long time, yet these people think they're good enough or smart enough and they will get around it so that way they can serve? They don't want to serve. They just want that power is all it comes down to, Glenn.

GLENN: Well, I think you are right on the money. I will tell you this in talking to one of my guys who's deep in the Constitution, he's saying that she can't have two offices. That's the problem. She can't occupy the two offices and then two different branches, but it's kind of iffy on that. It's not really clear. And if she gets rid of her office, then it should be fine. But she couldn't be a senator and Secretary of State. That's the real problem there.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: You would still have a problem with that?

JOE THE PLUMBER: No, I wouldn't. You know, I have no problem with her being -- well, I don't want to say that. I mean, you know, will ultimately she become Secretary of State? I don't question that. It's just the fact that I believe I was watching Hannity and Colmes. You know, they had one of their guys on there saying that they will get around it and it will be okay. That's the problem I have is the fact that, you know, if the Constitution gets in the way, they will have a lawyer or judge get around it. Kind of like God in their country. Gosh, it's hard following them, we'll get around it. We'll just take this part of the Bible out because it's hard. They are always looking to get around something, you know? Life is not easy, and to be a good person you've got to work hard at it. And people just want to kind of get around it and, you know, it's just not -- that's not the moral fiber that this country was built on.

GLENN: Joe, you're just a regular guy. You just, you know, feel what you feel. You are hanging out with normal people, unlike our politicians. You listen to this program, if I'm not mistaken, right?

JOE THE PLUMBER: You are absolutely correct.

GLENN: Okay. What do you think is coming our way if things don't change in Washington? What do you think's -- where are we headed?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, I mean, you know, I'm not comparing anybody. You know, I don't want you to stir up a hornet's nest here but, you know, when Adolf Hitler had come to power, one of the first things he did was take guns away. You know, we're a country that doesn't really listen to history. Let me go that route. And so we seem to, our country repeating the mistakes that other countries have already made and they are bogged down in now and, you know, some of the things that our current elected President Obama is suggesting really goes down a socialist road and that's just -- 

GLENN: So but I want to ask you, because I see where we're headed. I mean, they are talking about nationalizing the car industry now.

JOE THE PLUMBER: Oh, Lord.

GLENN: I mean, you want that crappy car, what was it, the Zil or whatever it was that they made over in Russia, that's where we're headed. But what I want to ask you more is what do you feel from the average person? How is the average -- is the average American going to take a socialized state, a huge nationalized state or are they going to want to reset the Constitution?

JOE THE PLUMBER: Well, you know, it really depends on the other 2/3 of Americans that didn't vote, Glenn. They are so disenfranchised with the political system currently, they don't feel they have a voice or that their vote even counts. So they stay home on election day. It really depends on them people, if they are going to actually get off their duff and become educated and get involved. As of right now, yeah, everyone who has their hand out. So you know, I see a lot of people out there who would much rather let the state take care of them and screw everybody else. "I want to look out for me." It's no longer "I want to look out for my country, I want to look out for my neighbor," I want to look out for me and only me. Very selfish.

GLENN: Very quick, last question. Are you going to run for office?

JOE THE PLUMBER: I'm going to do my national watchdog group. Hopefully I have more of an impact in that process than congress. Congress would be one voice amongst many and that's going into the snake's den, so to speak. That would be real hard, Glenn. I'm not real sure about that.

GLENN: Strengthening your local community is the way to go. Joe the plumber, thank you very much. The name of the book is Fighting for the American Dream.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.