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“Hell no!” Hoffa roars back.
Yet, if the unions have time and cash to fete the leisure class, the idea of a working class in jeopardy becomes more difficult to buy into. Did the late James Hoffa Sr. ever have a gig so easy?
CONSIDERING THE COMPANY he was keeping at YearlyKos, it probably comes as no surprise that Hoffa was not the worst panderer on hand. “Let’s hear it for the working men and women of the Teamsters!” Bill Richardson shouted. “Let’s hear it for the new major force in the Democratic Party — the bloggers!” Must we even note the audience applauded more loudly for themselves? Yawn. “This is a natural alliance: The new Democratic Party — the internet and the bloggers — combining with the great old Democratic Party of labor unions. This will be a grand coalition.”
The “natural alliance” line was a familiar one. A woman from the NEA had used the same words while introducing columnist Harold Meyerson (“one of the most poignant critics of the Bush regime,” she assured us) and Andy Stern for a lunchtime conversation. The Service Employees International Union clearly learned the lesson of YearlyKos 2006. Last year its reps were focused on describing the tough physical conditions of service employees. This time Stern, its president, spent much of his time cramming union jargon into the mold of netroots’ philosophical proclivities and prejudices. He praised the Chinese government for its progressive unionization policies (to his credit, Meyerson called him on it), took the requisite dig at Rupert Murdoch, (jokingly) suggested a voting moratorium for white males (“the worst progressive voters around”), and, ultimately, claimed to cheers that unions are “just a way to redistribute wealth.”
Back at the BBQ, Hoffa’s repeated praise of John Edwards — who wasn’t on hand — during his introduction of Bill Richardson seemed to stick in the New Mexico governor’s craw. “Mr. Hoffa and Teamsters,” Richardson said. “Ask John Edwards if he’d do this: I will have a union member as Secretary of Labor.” Big cheers. “If you behave yourself it might be one of you here.” Even bigger cheers. “I will be a president who will push for the unionization of the American workforce and the federal government.”
Mike Gravel, on the other hand, didn’t care; he was just going to talk about abolishing the federal income tax and creating a national initiative system, whatever anyone said. Hoffa, seeming to understand where the real power was, mostly smirked at Gravel during his speech, even though when Gravel was a senator from Alaska Teamsters had few better friends than he. (Two very profitable words for the Teamsters you probably couldn’t say without Mike Gravel: Alaska Pipeline.) Sorry, old friend, it’s a new day.
“Revolution baby!” a Kossack on the press riser next to me snickered as Gravel spoke about the national initiative. Through sputtering laughter he added, “Power to the people!”
It might be better treatment than Hillary got, yet it is nevertheless a bit disheartening to watch a crowd of self-proclaimed revolutionaries, so fervent in the belief that they are bucking the system, dismiss the one person who shows up and actually does say buck the system in a fundamental/foundational way. Not vote for him, mind you. Just hear him out. I could have said something to the “Revolution, baby!” guy about the eye of the beholder and all that jazz, but, really, why bother?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?