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Republicans like Joe the Plumber will need to act fast to capitalize on their 15 minutes
If the polls are correct and Barack Obama is elected our next president, the supporting players in a losing Republican effort will need to act fast or risk fading into obscurity.
History shows that oblivion usually waits for losers who are not at the top of the ticket, and sometimes even for those who are.
Vice-presidential candidates tend to soon vanish from the radar, unless some distinguishing characteristic or news event burnish them into the collective consciousness.
Most people of a certain age remember that Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's VP pick in 1984, but only because she was the first woman from either party to earn a spot on a national ticket.
But can anyone remember Kansas Senator Bob Dole's VP pick when he lost to President Clinton in 1996? Or the man who went down to defeat with Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988?
Thought not. Lloyd Bentsen's name has faded everywhere but outside his home state of Texas, even though he delivered the memorable line, "Senator, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine... Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," to eventual VP Dan Quayle during their debate.
Dole's running mate was Jack Kemp. Enough said. Even Dukakis is remembered most for the video of him riding a tank while wearing a goofy helmet.
Something tells me that Sarah Palin may find a way to stay in the news, given her youth and polarizing political views. She will also still be the governor of Alaska if the veep thing doesn't work out.
We have to look a further down the republican org chart to find the person most at risk of quickly fading into history unless he takes quick action.
I'm thinking of the man you may know as Joe the Plumber, even though he doesn't have a plumbing license and his full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher.
Republican nominee Sen. John McCain made Joe a household name by representing him in the third presidential debate as one of the many middle-class voters afraid of Obama's tax proposals. Joe was just another working class guy when he asked Obama about how those proposals might affect the plumbing business he was hoping to buy.
But then he started turning up at McCain campaign events, and lots of microphones and cameras were put in front of his face, and his image as an everyday American began to morph into that of small-time celebrity.
To cash in, Joe will need to act fast. A book deal would help. Or possibly a radio talk show or regular podcast gig for Fox or another right-leaning media outlet.
Of course, if Joe is worried more about money than fame, he can take a cue from some of the largest U.S. corporations and do his best to get his plumbing business recognized as a bank holding company.
If he can get his hands on even a small fraction of the $700 billion the government is doling out, it would help salve Joe's possible slide back into obscurity.
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