As you may have heard, Tea Party conservatives and right-wing bloggers are having a grand old time faking outrage over James Hoffa’s Labor Day speech, in which he said of Tea Partyers: “Let’s take these son of bitches out.”
The full context of the quote clearly shows that Hoffa was referring to his desire to see Tea Party Republicans voted out of office, not physically rubbed out by mafia goons or labor thugs or what have you. But that hasn’t stopped the conservative outrage machine from chugging along at full throttle — some conservatives are comically obvious about their unending hunt for anything that they can portray as “union thuggery” — and many critics are relying on dishonestly cropped footage that removes Hoffa’s phrase from its electoral context.
Tea Party groups are actually demanding an apology from Obama himself, and Tea Party warrior queen Michele Bachmann is raising money off of Hoffa’s speech.
So perhaps it’s worth noting that Bachmann used precisely the same “take out” phrase in calling on supporters to target her political opponents — and amusingly enough, she used the phrase at a Tea Party rally.
Here’s Bachmann, at an April 2010 Tea Party tax protest gathering:
“We’re on to this gangster government,” she declared...
She appealed directly for tea partiers to swing behind “constitutional conservatives” in congressional campaigns, just as they contributed to Scott Brown’s upset in the Massachusetts Senate race in an early test of their potency.
“I am the No. 1 target for one more extremist group to defeat this November,” she said. “We need to have your help for candidates like me. We need you to take out some of these bad guys.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Bachmann using this phrase. Bachmann’s use of this language shows that it’s a fairly common figure of speech, not a call for violence. In fact, Bachmann’s use of it shows that it’s fairly common to use the phrase in an electoral context, just as Hoffa did.
Making this whole thing even more ridiculous, Fox News’s Ed Henry has also clarified on the air — on Fox News, no less — that Hoffa was referencing “what he thinks unions are going to do to take Republicans out of office.” Henry even unleashed a barrage of Tweets trying in vain to clarify that, No, this was not a call for violence against Tea Partyers.
Of course, none of that did a thing to quiet the Tea Party outrage machine, and neither will Bachmann’s own use of the phrase.