Arguably, the only successful speech he's given in his presidency was his speech calling for more civility in our political discourse after the shooting in Arizona. Of course, since calling for civility is an easy pitch to hit out of the park. Convincing people on policy choices is much more difficult. Appealing to the better angels of our nature is easier than convincing people that his health care reform was a good idea.
But that speech was just as empty rhetoric as his campaign speeches calling for hope and change. He meant civility when talking about Democrats. Talking about his political opponents - not so much. This was clear from his lack of reaction when he appeared at the Labor Day event when Teamster Union leader said of the folks coming out to Tea Parties that Democrats should "take those son of bitches out." After Hoffa went on with his martial call to action to "win that war," he appealed directly to the President sitting there listening.
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march…Everybody here’s got a vote…Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he concluded.President Obama just got up after the speeches and paid tribute to all the leaders present saying he was proud of Jimmy Hoffa. He neglected the opportunity to renew his call for civility. The White House had no comment later on when asked about his calls for changing the tone in Washington. When it comes to accepting the call to action from a necessary interest group, civility is just not so important.
That's fine. But let's not have any more hypocrisy from the left jumping on whatever metaphor a Republican uses. I don't think that James Hoffa meant anything more than a spirited call to action. If he calls Tea Partiers, "sons of bitches," that's his right. It's distasteful and illustrative, but his using any more refined insults wouldn't disguise what he really thinks. I'm not complaining about his language, but the hypocrisy of the President smilingly accepting that language while still posing as the leader of the civility chorus. Spare us the hypocrisies and let's carry on with that battle that Hoffa was talking about.
Meanwhile, Don Surber has some thoughts about that union army.
I am curious as to whom they plan to take America back from. Themselves? The unions and the Democratic Party won it all in 2008 and afterward they confiscated GM and divvied up much of $500 billion (the spending part of the stimulus) among themselves in the cynical pursuit of the almighty buck.The President told the unions yesterday that they've done so much to "build and protect the middle class." Obama went on to say, "Unions have always been about shared prosperity." Not so, they're about getting as much as they can for their workers, not the middle class in general. As Henry Payne writes,
This is willful nonsense.When the U.S. Post Office is bankrupt because we can't pay the union-negotiated pensions and workers can't be let go to cut back on unnecessary expenses, tell us about how the unions are about shared prosperity. They're about their prosperity and everyone else's shared sacrifice.
The loud union protests in the past year from Wisconsin to Michigan have been about resisting sharing — whether pay cuts or co-pays for health plans. These are the kinds of sacrifices that taxpayers have been making for years in the private sector — even as unions greedily helped themselves to prosperity at the same taxpayers’ expense.