That's not in my job description…
That's how the president should've responded to angry right wing and Tea Party Americans calling on him to ask for Jimmy Hoffa, leader of The Teamsters Union, to either quit, or for the president to condemn his remarks when Mr. Hoffa told a group of union members at a labor day rally to "take these [SOBs] out and give America back..."
Firstly, it was very apparent that Mr. Hoffa was speaking about taking the Tea Party politicians out of their elected positions via the union members' vote. As of late, the unions have become more and more fed up with the president and the Democratic Party; many threaten to not turn out to vote at all. Mr. Hoffa was impressing upon them their responsibility to hold those they are angry with accountable by voting them out, especially the Tea Party, who polls show has declining support in America and who Americans hold responsible for weighing heavily in the decision by Republicans to threaten America's sovereignty over the debt ceiling crisis/debacle. [Vote now: Who won the debt ceiling standoff?]
And can you blame them? The union members? Mr. Hoffa?
Tea Party members and candidates alike have been trying to erase unions from the American landscape—from Gov. Scott Walker to the Koch Brothers to two GOP presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, who both speak of stripping America of its unions, clearly trying to appease the Tea Party base. [Check out political cartoons about the Tea Party.]
So forgive me if I laugh in a world where I hear eight-year-olds drop "F-bombs" on a daily basis; I mean, we even have an abbreviation we use in the viral world that has become acceptable it seems even in business (WTF); so forgive me if I laugh when the head of the teamsters at a private function calls a movement—a movement that has made it its agenda to take away union members' pensions, reduce their salaries and healthcare benefits, and strip them of their rights to collectively bargain—a bunch of SOBs. That, in my opinion, was tame. [See photos of the Wisconsin protests.]
And don't you find it ironic that the Tea Party and those on the right, the very group trying to unseat this president, cry out to him for some kind of justice because their feelings have been hurt?! I know, I know, they cite the president's speech after the Tucson shootings when he appealed for a more civil tone. But if you recall, he appealed for a more civil tone in U.S. politics by U.S. politicians, and the last time I checked, Mr. Hoffa was not an elected official whose salary is being paid by the U.S. taxpayer.
I also find it not only ironic but hypocritical that the Tea Party asks the president to condemn remarks from anyone, when they themselves have depicted the president as a terrorist, gangster, etc.—on a billboard in Colorado that said to vote for Obama a DemocRAT, or as Hitler on a billboard in Iowa. From the Tea Party and others on the right, the president has been called a socialist, accused of not being born in this country, accused of taking away peoples' freedoms by providing others with healthcare, questioned on his religion—wrongly described as Muslim when he is a Christian—and portrayed as a rabid chimpanzee in a cartoon by Sean Delonas, insulting not only the president, but African Americans nationwide as blacks had been negatively depicted as monkeys for centuries. And let's not forget Mark Halperin of Time magazine, who called the president a d*ck on national television; oh yes, he apologized, but it was liberals at MSNBC that asked him to do so, not the right wing or the Tea Party.
So I'm sorry to those of you on the right and in the Tea Party, but you'll have to fight your own battles. My violin is going to stay in its case because I'm not going to play a song of pity for your plight. Mr. Hoffa was clear: he wants his union members to vote your de-unionizing members out. And the president is clear when the White House remains silent on this issue. Mr. Hoffa has a First Amendment right to say what he wants—he was not inciting violence or a riot with his words—and the president is not going to ask for anyone in the private sector to step down or condemn their words; politicians are another matter. [Read: AFL-CIO Threatens Obama's Re-Election Over Jobs ]
Lastly, President Bush may have been the decider, but President Obama is not going to be America's apologist when others don't like what one man or movement has said. It's not in his job description
- Read Washington Whispers: Teamsters Joins AFL-CIO to Blast Obama as Timid
- See a collection of politcal cartoons on the Tea Party.
- Vote: Were the Wisconsin Recall Elections a Failure for Union Groups?