Derek Hunter

Some people enter the public consciousness willingly; others accidentally. But how one gets there has little to do with how one handles it once the national spotlight begins to shine.

Some step up. Some melt like an ice sculpture on a hot summer day. Because the spotlight doesn’t turn you into something you’re not; it accentuates who you are.

Similarly, progressives argue money corrupts politics. Not so. Money may be the means through which corruption is conducted, but honest people never seem to find themselves in those situations. They never have to walk away from bribes because the bribes are never offered. They’re never offered because corruption always finds corruption, and solid character always repels it.

The character deficit – the numbing fact that too many lawmakers do find themselves at that table, repeatedly – is a big reason we’re in this mess today.

Which brings us to the topic of Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber.

Joe, who Democrats lamely attack as “not really named ‘Joe,’” (his middle name is Joseph and he’s been called Joe since he was a kid) and not really a plumber (he was a plumber in the Air Force and in the private sector for years) is running for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District.

Joe has a tough road ahead of him. The district leans strongly Democrat. It’s a combination of Marcy Kaptur’s and Dennis Kucinich’s old districts. Redistricting combined the two and set them against each other in this year’s primary. Kaptur won, and since Kucinich’s home planet still isn’t ready for his return, he’s said to be weighing a move to Washington state to run for Congress from there. He thinks Congress can’t survive without him.

The entitlement mentality Kucinich exhibits by even contemplating such a move thrives in Rep. Kaptur. She’s served in Congress since 1983 and has done little except provide reliable support for every left-wing program and spending bill she encountered.

I recently spent some time with Joe in his district and found it to be, well, exactly like Joe.

Ohio’s 9th District runs from Toledo to Cleveland, along Lake Erie, a blue-collar area full of hard-working people dearly hurting in President Obama’s economy. They vote Democrat because they’ve always voted Democrat – as did their parents. But they’re the people who have been most harmed by Democrat policies that shutter factories and manufacturing plants. They’re the people who have lost their jobs, their houses, their communities … who know all about tough times.

Joe is this district.

Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.