I have this vague memory of a time long ago –last January, in fact– when the President of the United States spoke at a memorial for the victims of the Tucson massacre and called for a calming of heated rhetoric and for a “new tone” in our political debates.
Silly me. That was then, this is now.
This last Labor Day, President Obama spoke in Detroit to an audience of union workers. Leading up to his speech, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., (1) spoke to the crowd and gave us an example of that new tone in action:
Um… yeah. In case you missed that due to all the marbles in this thug’s mouth, here’s the key moment via RCP:
“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Jimmy Hoffa said to a heavily union crowd.
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” Hoffa added.
About the only thing missing were the brown shirts and steel helmets. (And yes, I deliberately “went there.”)
Not to worry, though. Right after Hoffa’s speech, the President called him out and gave him exactly what-for:
That’s telling him! (What, you were expecting him to criticize a union boss?)
Let’s go back to that awful day in Tucson when Representative Giffords and several other people were gunned down by a delusional nut. Almost immediately, the baying hounds of the Democratic Party, their media allies, and the Left blogosphere jumped all over Sarah Palin for her supposedly violent rhetoric and an obscure campaign graphic for the 2010 election that used crosshairs to symbolize Democrats targeted for defeat. Though hunting and military imagery has been common in American politics for centuries, these sanctimonious yahoos acted as if Palin had herself whispered in the shooter’s ear, giving him orders. Hence Obama’s “above it all” call for a new tone.
Now, imagine if Sarah Palin, in Iowa and New Hampshire for rallies this weekend, had said what Hoffa said, calling fellow citizens SOBs and talking of war. How would the Democrats react? Or what would be the reaction in the media (2) if she or any Republican or conservative leader had said how proud she was of someone who cursed their political opponents and used indisputably violent rhetoric?
You and I both know they be all over this like ants at a picnic. (3)
Now, I’m not saying Hoffa was encouraging actual violence or that unions themselves are violent (Maybe. Kinda.) or that Obama ever would endorse violence (Well…), but, you see… To call it “rank, cynical hypocrisy” would be to state the obvious.
Meet the new tone, same as the old tone.
(1) “Hoffa.” “Teamsters.” Now those are words any politician should want associated with his name. Yeesh. Well, maybe in Chicago…
(2) In case you’re wondering, most of the mainstream media have been silent on this story.
(3) For what it’s worth, so would most of the Right. But I doubt we’d have to, since our side doesn’t ally with legbreakers.
UPDATE: via Michelle Malkin, no wonder Jimmy Hoffa likes President Obama so much. “You scratch my back, and I’ll bust some heads for you.”
UPDATE 2: Sarah Palin answered Hoffa on her Facebook page today. No cursing, no calls to violence, just some honest talk going over the heads of the union bosses and straight to the membership. The key paragraphs:
To see where this leads, look at what’s happening to the working class in our industrialized cities. These cities are going to hell in a hand basket thanks to corruption, crony capitalism, and the union bosses’ greed. The union bosses derive their power from your union dues and their promise to deliver your votes to whichever politician they’re in bed with. They get their power from you, and yet their actions ultimately hurt you. They’re chasing American industry offshore by making outrageous, economically illogical demands that they know will never work. And now that they’ve chased jobs out of union states, they’re trying to chase them out of right-to-work states like South Carolina, so eventually the jobs will leave America altogether. But these union bosses will still figure out a way to keep their gig, and so will their politically aligned corporate friends. As long as these big corporations have a good crony capitalist in the White House, they can rely on DC to bail them out until the whole system goes bankrupt, which, I am afraid, is not very far off. When big government, big business, and big union bosses collude together, they get government to maximize their own interests against those of the rest of the country.
So, now these union bosses are desperately trying to cast the grassroots Tea Party Movement as being “against the workingman.” How outrageously wrong this unapologetic Jim Hoffa is, for the people’s movement is the real movement for working class men and women. It’s rooted in real solidarity, and not special interests and corporate kickbacks. It represents the needed reform that will empower workers and job creators. We stand with the little guy against the corruption and influence peddling of those who collude to grease the wheels of government power.
This collusion is at the heart of Obama’s economic vision for America. In practice it is socialism for the very rich and the very poor, but a brutal form of capitalism for the rest of us. It is socialism for the very poor who are reduced to a degrading perpetual dependence on a near-bankrupt centralized government to provide their every need, while at the same time robbing them of that which brings fulfillment and success – the life-affirming pride that comes from taking responsibility for your own destiny and building a better life through self-initiative and work ethic. And Obama’s vision is socialism via crony capitalism for the very rich who continue to get bailouts, debt-ridden “stimulus” funds, and special favors that allow them to waive off or help draft the burdensome regulations that act as a boot on the neck to small business owners who don’t have the same friends in high places. And where does this collusion leave working class Americans and the small business owners who create 70% of the jobs in this country? Out in the cold. It’s you and your children who are left paying for the cronyism of Obama and our permanent political class in DC.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)