I’m going to have to do a rare thing here, and publicly disagree (well, slightly) with my colleague Rick here about the whole Jimmy Hoffa silliness. In his piece, Rick quotes Jimmy Hoffa and Joe Biden, and concludes “Seems to be a meme. They’re encouraging thuggery in the coming year.”
First up, Joe Biden. Joe said, according to Rick, “this is a different kind of fight. This is a fight forthe heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate! That’s why they want you so bad.”
Is that encouraging thuggery? Maybe, maybe not. It’s just vague enough that the “it was only metaphorical language” excuse is plausible. Plus, well, it’s Joe Biden. Everyone knows he’s a babbling idiot, and nobody pays him any mind.
So much for the appetizer. Now for the main course.
First up, the Hoffa quote has been edited. At another site, I challenged folks to find either an unedited copy of the video or an unedited transcript, so we could all see for ourselves just what Hoffa said. And one of my semi-regular sparring partners did just that:
President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. And, President Obama we want one thing – jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what we’re going to tell him. When he sees what we’re doing here he will be inspired. But he needs help. And, you know what. Everybody here’s gotta vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.
I recognized it as likely a true transcript because it didn’t do like a lot of people did — clean up Hoffa’s lousy grammar. Most people quote him as saying “sons of bitches,” but he actually said “son of a bitches” — which would have made for a very unusual birth and a very crowded delivery room.
So, was Hoffa inciting violence? I’d say no, on two grounds.
1) Again, the “metaphorical language” defense. It’s clear that Hoffa is talking about jobs and voting, not “take out” like the Mafia. (Although I’m certain he’s quite familiar with that interpretation.) It’s violent rhetoric, but we’re kinda used to that.
B) He was talking to Teamsters and other unions here. They don’t need to be “incited” to commit violence; they need to be incited to not be violent. Telling teamsters to be violent is like telling Obama to not be arrogant or Greg Gutfeld to not be creepy — it’s their natural state.
However, we must remember that, as Rick also noted, Obama is real big on “calls for civility” whenever it gets a little heated from his political adversaries. You see, right-wingers who get a bit inflammatory are clear and present dangers; his own allies, when they get feisty, get appreciated — Obama promptly came out after Hoffa and talked about how “proud” he was of him.
It’s this double standard that needs to be called out and remarked upon, because President Obama is quite fond of playing the “above it all” card, while actually engaging in the rankest form of partisanship. He makes it pretty clear that his idea of “bipartisan” and “putting country ahead of party” means “everyone ought to agree with me.”
One must always remember that Obama is a creature of the Chicago Democratic machine. He has yet to come to grips with the notion that his political opponents might not only be sincere, but actually reject his political philosophy and have their own that they adhere to.
And Hoffa? He’s a thug, in charge of thugs. Here, he, too, is just being true to his nature. To talk about him as “inciting violence” is just plain ridiculous — with him, it’s a given.
As I said on Rick’s piece, his little outburst makes me just a little sad that they’ve already finished building the replacement for Giants Stadium.