Last night on Jay Leno’s show, Hillary Clinton said:
[T]ry to find, you know, a plumber, a carpenter ‑‑ we have so devalued and disrespected the work that a lot of people don’t go into it, and these are not only good jobs, these are really important jobs, and the more we look at how we’re going to have to retool the economy and move towards clean renewable energy, we’re going need a lot of people who are installing solar panels and putting up the wind turbines and doing the work that’s going to make us energy independent. Those will be good jobs that can’t be outsourced. So we’ve got to talk about it and then act on it.
I’m not sure that installing solar panels and the like is the key to maintaining full employment in a global economy, but the tribute to plumbers and carpenters isn’t a bad campaign pitch.
However, Lyndon Johnson said it much better years ago:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted one will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
UPDATE: Actually, the quote belongs to John Gardner. I believe LBJ repeated it when he named Gardner to be Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (as the Department was called then). My memory isn’t what it once was, but I have a clear recollection of laughing out loud as I heard Johnson drawl his way through the punch line of Gardner’s quote.
JOHN adds: To fully appreciate the joke, you have to hear Paul tell it in a pseudo-LBJ drawl.