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bkcunningham's avatar

Do you think Hoffa's speech calling the Tea Party members "Sons of Bitches" and saying let's take "them out" to union members was wrong?

Asked by bkcunningham (18456points) September 5th, 2011

Just prior to introducing President Obama at a rally in Detroit today, teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa told a group of union members, “We’ve got to keep an eye on the battle that we face—a war on workers. And you see it everywhere. It is the Tea Party,” he said. “And there’s only one way to beat and win that war—the one thing about working people is, we like a good fight….President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march,” Hoffa said. “But everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out.”

In light of the Democrats’ plea for an end to hate speech and asking others to stop the rhetoric after the shooting of US Senate Gabrielle Giffords and the death of six others in Arizona in January, do you think Hoffa was wrong saying these things which Obama endorsed?

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34 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

Yeah! Although I’m generally on the side of unions and labor, by calling for violence (or at least associating with people who call for violence), the Democrats are reducing themselves to the level of the Republicans.

filmfann's avatar

@HungryGuy It can’t be said better than that! Well done!

flutherother's avatar

The speech was hardly a call to violence. ‘Let’s take these sons of bitches out’ is maybe a bit strong but it was meant in a political sense.

Blackberry's avatar

Not the best way to speak as a leader, but he got the point across lol.

rebbel's avatar

I don’t know the guy to be honest, I thought I recognized the name and thought that he was offed by the mob (supposedly) and was never found…, but I guess (am sure) that this is another one and I haven’t heard the speech, but from reading your description: can’t he have meant it metaphoricaly?
Fight as in vote and trying to persuade others that their opinion is the right one (in their eyes)?
Take them out as in make sure we win the elections?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@rebbel It’s the son of the guy who disappeared.

HungryGuy's avatar

@rebbel – Maybe I’m not too familiar with American style politics, or maybe the quote was taken out of context, but ”...let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out…” sure sounds like a call to violence to me…

rebbel's avatar

@Aethelflaed Oops. Thanks for the info!
@HungryGuy It sounds like it how I read it, anyway but it could be that he puts it a bit strong for effect?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@HungryGuy You can watch the video here. (And actually watch the video, because the quotes are a bit out of context). What he does say is “everyone here has got a vote… let’s take these sons-of-bitches out”. So, it does sound like he’s talking more about voting them out than killing them.

janbb's avatar

Yes – I think the context was in getting out to vote. The language was strong but the Teamsters Union has never been known for gentility.

josie's avatar

Certain constituents always get a free ride regarding what they say. Others have to watch their tongue. There is definite double standard. I do not think it is right, but it is what it is. Same thing happens on Fluther.

HungryGuy's avatar

@josie – Ayyyyyup :-p

dreamwolf's avatar

No way, I don’t think its out of line. I admire passionate people, both from the stance I stand for or the opposing side. Union members lively hoods are being disrupted by Tea Party. I think that anyone that is trying to take out another entity is asking for a fight, that is obvious, how hard it will be, sometimes isn’t.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Even the irascible Mr. Hoffa is entitled to free speech.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t think he actually meant “kill the bastards”, but I also don’t approve of his language. I don’t think it’s any better than Palin’s crosshairs, and if someone took it literally, I think he’d be just as much at fault as TEA Partiers were in the Gifford’s shooting. Plus, his name alone does evoke a more violent form of “taking someone out” than voting, so I do think he was really walking that line. It’s actually more the phrasing about workers looking for a fight that really does it in for me, and makes it just a bit harder to cheer for that side (even though I’m for workers, labor, unions, etc).

CWOTUS's avatar

“Son-of-a-bitches” was totally wrong. It’s “sons-of-bitches”.

HungryGuy's avatar

@CWOTUS – Goot point, that! LoL :-p

mazingerz88's avatar

He would feel right having beer with Sarah Palin. Sons of bitches, reload, that sort of thing.

CWOTUS's avatar

I would love to know how many Teamsters voted for “those sons-of-bitches” the first time around, and can’t wait to do it again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He’s a red neck!

TexasDude's avatar

Politics are so fucking stupid.

Jaxk's avatar

We’re talking about Jimmy Hoffa. If anyone knows what “Take Them Out” means, it’s Hoffa.

gailcalled's avatar

And do remember to label him Jimmy Hoffa Jr.

augustlan's avatar

While I completely understand the context (VOTE), I’m not a fan of him saying “take these sons-of-bitches out.” It’s unnecessarily crude and does have violent connotations. I’d much rather ‘my side’ use better tactics than those we’ve criticized the ‘other side’ for.

bkcunningham's avatar

Thank you @augustlan. That is what I wanted to say.

laureth's avatar

I agree with @CWOTUS and @augustlan, but I also think it’s funny that the Right feels that the Left is just as violent as they are when it comes to this sort of thing, and then calls them nanny-state pansy peaceniks when the Left calls for things like gun control. Which way is it?

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is hard to group everyone with a clever little slogan or mindset, @laureth. I know many people with many different thoughts on our Constitutional right to bear arms. I don’t know anyone personally who would stand up in front of a crowd and use that kind of language when introducing someone – let alone when introducing a world leader – nor do I personally know anyone who has ever used the phrase “nanny-state pansy peaceniks” when describing anyone. ; )

woodcutter's avatar

There are still people who really think the Giffords tragedy was the republican’s fault?

TexasDude's avatar

@bkcunningham I’ve used “hand wringing nanny-stater” before and I’m a libertarian. Does that count?

Bow before my delicious vitriol and despair.

DominicX's avatar

He can say whatever he wants.

ETpro's avatar

I think the poolitical rhetoric is overheated today, but I do not than Hoffa started that trend. THe GOP ios pushing a union busting agenda in 39 states and on the national change now They want to eliminate all collective bargaining and take us back to the days before the West Virginia Coal Wars In the face of that, and constant demonization of labor by the GOP, no, Hoffa was not even responding in kind.

bkcunningham's avatar

What does the GOP have to do with Hoffa saying comments referring to the TEA Party?

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham The so called Tea Party now runs the GOP. Anyone who doesn’t kowtow to their extreme right-wing positins is purged from the party in the primary process.

I personally think the Tea Party started with a lot of information poor voters who just realized soething had gone terribly wrong with government here and who were mad as Hell about it. But the Koch Brothers, The Walton family, and a handful of other incredibly greedy billionaires soon subverted the movement into a vehicle to achieve their corporatist/fascist goals.

If the GOP has nothing to do with the Tea Party, why is it the GOP complaining about Hoffa’s statements and asking for an apology?

laureth's avatar

Also, this is interesting. In order to further rile up the Right’s base, FOX news edited that part about “voting” out of the clip they showed, making Hoffa’s comment look even more violent than it was in context. That actually concerns me somewhat more than anything in the undoctored clip. There are plenty of implications, but at the very least, I wouldn’t say it’s fair and balanced.

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