Hoffa’s Offense, Real and Imagined

by Jonah Goldberg

I’m a bit off the reservation on this whole controversy. On the one hand, I do not think that Hoffa was deliberately committing the crime (yes, crime) of willfully inciting murder. However, given the absolutely ludicrous standard created by the Democratic party and its media enablers after the Giffords shooting, what Hoffa said was absolutely beyond the pale. But, again, that’s only because of the idiotic, sanctimonious, and plain stupid standard created by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Paul Krugman, et al. You can’t bleat about Republican “eliminationist rhetoric” and a “climate of hate” and then say there’s nothing wrong with what Hoffa said, never mind find it outrageous that anybody is complaining about it.   This is  point I made with some pique not long ago here in the Corner, in what became the most viral post of my online career.

I think it would be a shame for conservatives to adopt the same asinine standard established by the folks at Media Matters simply because it embarrasses the Democratic party. The issue here is not that Hoffa incited violence, but that Obama and all of his supporters and enablers are astoundingly hypocritical. If you could have ever believed that Sarah Palin’s Facebook map incited murder, you are forever disqualified from lecturing others from over-reading political rhetoric.

We can reject the standard while at the same time calling out the hypocrisy.

That said, I don’t want to let Hoffa completely off the hook. The man strikes me as a goon, from an organization — and family — famously and justly associated with goonishness (goonery?). When I listen to all of these liberals defending Hoffa and actually feigning indignation at the mere suggestion that Hoffa was speaking irresponsibly, I have to laugh. As the Trent Lott fiasco showed, southern Republicans — fairly or unfairly — have to be more careful about how they talk then others. Well, here’s Jimmy Hoffa — Jimmy Hoffa! — talking like a goon and they’re shocked, shocked that anyone would misconstrue what he has to say as anything but an appeal to Jeffersonian democracy. Please. Any organization that finds it necessary to tell their rank and file members:

We [the Teamsters local] will not threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees doing business with COMPANY, or on any security guard, supervisor, or manager of COMPANY or neutral employers doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees.

is an organization that has earned its reputation for goonishness.