Biden’s overlooked comment to organized labor

posted at 2:45 pm on September 7, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Jimmy Hoffa’s canine remarks about Tea Party SOBs rightly received plenty of media attention — especially after Jake Tapper’s signature drilling of Jay Carney. What is less widely known is that Gaffe-Master-in-Chief and Alleged-Tea-Party-Terrorists-Toastmaster Joe Biden also made a newsworthy remark in his keynote address at organized labor’s traditional Labor Day picnic at Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park.

“This is a different kind of fight,” Biden said. “This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only folks keeping the barbarians at the gate. That’s why they want you so bad.”

Now, who might those barbarians be? And why did no one hear of Biden’s remarks?

NewsBusters’ Tom Blumer has the answer to that last question: No one heard of the comments because hardly anyone reported them (with a few notable exceptions, including Politico and The Hill — kudos!).

Now, journalists who perceive themselves as “gatekeepers” do have to apply some standards of newsworthiness when they determine what to cover and what not to cover — and, in terms of shock value, Hoffa’s comments clearly stole the Labor Day show. But Blumer explains why Biden’s remark, in some ways, is even more troubling:

Biden’s statement is in an important aspect more problematic than the more widely (but not sufficiently widely) noted “son of a b*tches” comment made by Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in Detroit yesterday at a Labor Day event President Obama keynoted. While Hoffa was threatening and hateful, he was at least in theory speaking only for Big Labor (though Obama has essentially adopted it by not condemning it). In Cincinnati, Biden, who was elected to serve all citizens of the country, personally characterized a large plurality of those he is supposed to be serving with a word which means ”savage, primitive, uncivilized persons.”

Did Biden literally mean that opponents of organized labor are uncivilized — or did he just mean it metaphorically? Battle imagery is remarkably adaptable to politics and “barbarians at the gate” is a colorful way to say the fight is now at close quarters. And that’s true: The union battles of this year have gone beyond traditional tensions — and straight, as Biden said, to the question of whether a need for organized labor still exists.

The expression could work in the opposite direction, too: Earlier this year, in the fight that started it all, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was literally inside the governor’s mansion while protesters stormed the state Capitol. WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson thinks Biden would be OK with it if the very folks he’s calling “barbarian” did turn the quote around. ”As for Biden’t (sic) ‘barbarians’ reference, well, I don’t think he’d get too offended if you called him a barbarian right back,” Robinson wrote.

Bu we all know that’s the problem. If anyone called union leaders “barbarians,” Biden wouldn’t be OK with it; he and his “New Tone” cronies would be up in arms — er, excuse me, in a tizzy. I probably shouldn’t use an expression like “up in arms.”

Frankly, I’m sick of the sensitivity in both directions. Conservatives have pointed out the hypocrisy again and again and where’s it getting us? I’m really tempted to say, “Let’s stop taking the high road and quit apologizing when we make rude remarks. Let’s recognize that the political game is messy and not be afraid to get dirty.” But, then, we’d be no better. We really would be barbarians. So, in the end, what’s left to conservatives is the cold — but very real — consolation of a clean conscience. As frustrating as it is to watch the vice president get by with inappropriate statements — and however much genuine civility, thoughtful policy proposals and virtuous patience with impertinent peers sometimes smacks of a lack of political savvy — I’d still always rather be on the side of class. Sigh. Let’s keep taking the high road.


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“Canine remarks”…good one, Tina.

d1carter on September 7, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Another loser…

PatriotRider on September 7, 2011 at 2:51 PM

It’s not the first time “Plugs” called Republicans “barbarians” – He did so when he thanked union thugs for their actions in Wisconsin.

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/vice-president-joe-biden-calls-republicans-barbarians-for-second-time

jdawg on September 7, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Now, who might those barbarians be? And why did no one hear of Biden’s remarks?

Because a Palin didn’t say it…
…so in liberal land…it’s okay.

Baxter Greene on September 7, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Impeachment insurance for Barry. He chose wisely.

a capella on September 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

If you folks were tuned in to social media, it was widely reported…especially on Facebook.

Ain’t the interwebs grand?

HAnthonyWayne on September 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Biden’s overlooked intentionally-ignored comment to organized labor

I prefer we call it as it should have been seen.

pilamaye on September 7, 2011 at 2:55 PM

“This is a different kind of fight,” Biden said. “This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only folks keeping the barbarians at the gate. That’s why they want you so bad.”

That’s just Joe.
/Biden’s handlers

I’m really tempted to say, “Let’s stop taking the high road and quit apologizing when we make rude remarks. Let’s recognize that the political game is messy and not be afraid to get dirty.” But, then, we’d be no better.

If you’re tempted to say that, Tina, then the Left is accomplishing what they set out to do.

VibrioCocci on September 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM

If you folks were tuned in to social media, it was widely reported…especially on Facebook.

Ain’t the interwebs grand?

HAnthonyWayne on September 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Millions of Americans get their news from the supposed gatekeepers who chose to keep Biden’s statements out of the news.

Social media may have been abuzz with Biden’s statements, but the people who should have read it didn’t, and many of the ones who read it on Twitter don’t even know who Joe Biden is.

VibrioCocci on September 7, 2011 at 2:59 PM

The obvious truth is that Biden is widely regarded as a clown, and nothing he says is regarded as meaningful, truthful, or important. He is mocked, laughingly, by the GOP, and utterly ignored by the Democrats.

You didn’t read about his comments because no one cares what Joe Biden says about anything.

Jaibones on September 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Hey Uncle Joe!

Go back to the Shady Rest and play checkers with Sam Drucker.

Or better yet, play with yourself. You might stand a chance of winning that way… well, probably not.

Don’t hurt yourself.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I had not paid much attention to Crazy Joe’s comment. He did embrace the rhetoric that Carney excused the WH from regarding Jimmy Hoffa (word, I hear he doesn’t like Jimmy). Hmmmm, Joe? any comment? care to clarify?

DanMan on September 7, 2011 at 3:03 PM

“This is a different kind of fight,” Biden said. “This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only folks keeping the barbarians at the gate. That’s why they want you so bad.”
==========

Lets assume for a minute that GaffeBiden is correct,with the
so-called Barbarians at zee gate.

And,me thinks Karma is a b*tch,due to the fact that Hopey/Changeys
Union Goons were sent to CEO’s homes to Terrorize them,by bus,back
when,and so,if there are ‘Barbarians’,then they are the concerned
American taxpayers of America,and legitimate at that!!

canopfor on September 7, 2011 at 3:04 PM

The obvious truth is that Biden is widely regarded as a clown…
Jaibones on September 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Actually he’s more regarded as a clown college reject!

pilamaye on September 7, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Consider the disregard for Biden and Obama in the context of how Bush and Cheney were treated, and how Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are treated. Every word, every rumor, every appearance is enormous news for nitwit-left media and the kook Democrat voters.

Good grief, Nancy Pelosi is pissing herself because the GOP is ignoring Obama’s TERRIBLY IMPORTANT JOBS SPEECH before congress.

Yawn.

Jaibones on September 7, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Welcome home, canopfor!

You have been missed sorely, brother.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:05 PM

The rope in which they’re hanging themselves with just gets more taut daily.

capejasmine on September 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM

I’d still always rather be on the side of class. Sigh. Let’s keep taking the high road.

Theoretically all good but this cycle will not win with class and politeness. The thugs must be fought with impertinence greater than theirs. The land is at a very pivotal time and can tilt either way.

Schadenfreude on September 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Biden’s overlooked comment to organized labor

I wouldn’t be too hard on the media, Tina – haven’t we all learned, after so many decades, to overlook anything Biden says?

“Chuck, stand up, let the people see you!”
(To be fair, if Kerry-Edwards had won in 2005, Chuck would have been able to stand.)

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 3:08 PM

You are the only folks keeping the barbarians at the gate.

Shouldn’t he have said: …the only folks keeping the barbarians outside the gate… ?

And, on the issue of grammar, Hoffa gummed it up as well. He called the Tea Party “son of bitches”. Shouldn’t it have been “sons of bitches”? (excuse the vulgarity)

The left is quite inarticulate…no doubt a testament to the NEA.

Blaise on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Err….that should be “if Kerry-Edwards had won in 2004″.

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

The rope in which they’re hanging themselves with just gets more taut daily.

capejasmine on September 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM

The problem is that the same rope is around all of our necks. Their stupidity is our misfortune when they get to write law.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Their stupidity is our misfortune when they get to write law.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

In other words, it is of the utmost importance that we win, and win BIG, November next; then we’ll still have an uphill battle to get our nation back where she belongs.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Hardly anyone pays attention to what Joey says, except perhaps for Mrs Biden.

GarandFan on September 7, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Biden is one of the reasons I pray for Obama’s health.

My nightmare:
Obama is impeached, resigns or whatever.
Biden becomes President.
Hillary becomes Vice President.
Hillary is the 2012 Dem Pres. Nominee.

barnone on September 7, 2011 at 3:14 PM

The best in life to Barbarians: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the woman.

portlandon on September 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Obama/Biden are the president and VP of the Unions. The GOP has many sins to atone for, but the Dems are unfit to lead this country.

NickDeringer on September 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

My Leftist friends assured me that if I voted for McCain we would get an idiot for Vice President.

Del Dolemonte on September 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Biden is one of the reasons I pray for Obama’s health.

barnone on September 7, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Don’t forget, Uncle Joe has a brain tumor himself.

Del Dolemonte on September 7, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Waaaaaaaaaay off topic here, but some months back, it was announced America’s Most Wanted was cancelled by Fox. Well it has a new home. Just thought I’d post, if anyone was interested.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/09/07/john-walsh-to-bring-his-americas-most-wanted-to-lifetime-network/?test=faces

capejasmine on September 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM

So the Unions are going to link arms and protect the White House and Obama from the barbarians October 6th?

Skandia Recluse on September 7, 2011 at 3:20 PM

O/T:Gotta love this…
…..just like listening to liberals whine about the Bush Tax Cuts that democrats overwhelmingly vote for:

(via Instapundit)
http://thevimh.blogspot.com/2011/09/old-and-busted-end-tax-breaks-for.html

Old and Busted:
End Tax Breaks For Corporate Jet Owners
New Hotness: Extend Tax Breaks For Corporate Jet Owners

It seems like it was just yesterday that Obama was decrying “tax breaks for corporate jet owners”.


Extending the tax break for corporate jet owners:

Obama also is expected to continue for one year a tax break for businesses that allows them to deduct the full value of new equipment. The president and Congress negotiated that provision into law for 2011 last December.

…..Mr. Expiration date strikes again.

Baxter Greene on September 7, 2011 at 3:21 PM

The problem with the high road is that we do not confront the enemy there; they are somewhere else, digging in the dirt and sowing the seeds of class warfare daily. The high road doesn’t get us where we need to be; that is, meeting them head-on with truth and common sense on our side and ready to get dirty if need be.

The fight is where they start it; it is up to us to finish it properly.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

My nightmare:
Obama is impeached, resigns or whatever.
Biden becomes President.
Hillary becomes Vice President.
Hillary is the 2012 Dem Pres. Nominee.

barnone on September 7, 2011

Well, the Senate could filibuster nominating any V. P. – if they had the stones. Chester A. Arthur had no Veep when his predecessor was as*as*inated- and the Republic survived.

honsy on September 7, 2011 at 3:24 PM

“Barbarians”? Xenophobe!!

To the peoples of ancient Greece, and later, Rome, a barbarian was anyone who was not of their extraction or culture. Because most of these “strangers” regularly practiced raids upon these civilizations, the term “barbarian” gradually evolved into a perjorative term: a person who was sub-human, uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

mankai on September 7, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I’m really tempted to say, “Let’s stop taking the high road and quit apologizing when we make rude remarks.

I’ve been watching our side “take the high road” since I cast my first vote in 1976. I personally quit taking the high road after 9-11, when these lying thieving a-moral socialists came after W and basically framed him (and in turn all of us) as the anti-christ.

Being civil is one thing, calling a spade a spade is quite another. Joe Biden has cruised through life completely at our expense, bribed everyone he ever met to get ahead, and basically just sucked off of all of us.

He’s a liar and pi** poor excuse for a human being and I would say it to his face.

The time for placating these morons is over, our way of life is in jeopardy now, it’s personal.

Tim Zank on September 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Biden’s entire senatorial career was owned and operated by Big Labor (and all that entails. Wink wink.) Big Labor is the original owner of that vehicle. When he became VP all they did was transfer the tags.

curved space on September 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

And, on the issue of grammar, Hoffa gummed it up as well.
The left is quite inarticulate…no doubt a testament to the NEA.
Blaise on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

On the other hand, his old man was way ahead of Obama, what with Jimmy being a “shovel ready project” and all.

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

After awhile, this dangerous mumbling buffoon becomes invisible for the sake of not killing brain cells trying to understand his madness.

Hening on September 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

On the other hand, his old man was way ahead of Obama, what with Jimmy being a “shovel ready project” and all.

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Finally, a high road you can believe in!

~~~~~still laughing~~~~~

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

If Hoffa, Biden, and the rest are begging for a fight, I say let’s give them one that they’ll never forget.

Winning.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Biden is waxing metaphorical and in the process making clever literary allusions to the Greeks and the Romans. He’s a gifted speaker and sounds a lot like President Roosevelt did when he televised his Fireside Chats.

We’re lucky to have not only a president but a vice-president who’s articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

Most important, he’s raising the tone of civil discourse, and that’s a big f****in’ deal!

Drained Brain on September 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Every time a Republican President is elected the Democrat media states and demands that the new President represents of all the people, in other words, work for the Democrats.

It appears that Democrats aren’t under the same burden. They are free to fight against the “barbarians” that disagree with their tax & spend politics.

RJL on September 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Saw this on NB last night, too. My first thought was this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarians_at_the_gate

sockpuppetpolitic on September 7, 2011 at 3:42 PM

You are the only folks keeping the barbarians at the gate.

Shouldn’t he have said: …the only folks keeping the barbarians outside the gate… ?

Blaise on September 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I dunno, I think Biden was unintentionally correct. When I look out at the gates the only barbarians I see are union goons. Their thuggish bosses are what’s keeping them there. So, as per usual when Biden gets something correct, it wasn’t what he thought he was saying. (Although I must admit it is often difficult to tell what he thought he was saying.)

Lily on September 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

To hell with this “highroad” crap. Barbarians, to the gates!

Hucklebuck on September 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

But, then, we’d be no better.

Wrong.

We would be and still are better. Why? Because we tried to be civil. We tried to be nice. We did take the high road. We made an actual effort.

To become what you despise assumes you never really tried to be anything different in the first place.

Good people are always driven to ‘lower themselves’ to level the playing field.

Strictly speaking, you cannot win against superior numbers unless you change your tactics and – sometimes – adopt your enemies strategy.

“We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, and no farther…”

catmman on September 7, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I am a Barbarian?

Cool.

Lawrence on September 7, 2011 at 3:51 PM

I would love to put, “Barbarian-American,” as someone else on Hot Air suggested, on all my federal forms.

But I won’t, because I’m afraid of the government.

Alana on September 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM

On the other hand, his old man was way ahead of Obama, what with Jimmy being a “shovel ready project” and all.

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Finally, a high road you can believe in!

~~~~~still laughing~~~~~

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Sometimes the “Chicago Way” works, even in Detroit!

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 4:16 PM

I am a Barbarian?
Cool.
Lawrence on September 7, 2011 at 3:51 PM

“And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.”
(New Testament, Acts 28:2)

whatcat on September 7, 2011 at 4:17 PM

First: you don’t want to “keep the barbarians at the gates”. You want to drive them away, as far and as fast as possible.

Second: I’ve said it before, and I think here at Hot Air, that I seem to recall that in most barbarian/”civilization” matchups, the barbarians are normally the winners. Certainly they won over Rome. Glad to know that Joe considers the other side to be likely winners!

However given what we know about Joe, I’d be surprised if he knew any of that, and anyway, why let actual facts or history get in the way of a good rabble-rousing sound bite?

LibraryGryffon on September 7, 2011 at 4:33 PM

As one barbarian sonuvabitch, I just got to say, except for the lousy economy, and the fact that America is breaking up all around us, the recognition is wonderful, isn’t it?

coldwarrior on September 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Where did I put that battle axe? I know it’s around here somewhere.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Okay, am I a barbarian, SOB, or a hobbit? I’m getting confused. Maybe I need to have a t-shirt made with TEA Party Barbarian Hobbit SOB on it, but that’s so long. I guess I could leave off TEA Party, since that’s apparently redundant . Can a woman be an SOB, btw? Should I just be a Barbarian Hobbit?

pannw on September 7, 2011 at 5:44 PM

pannw on September 7, 2011 at 5:44 PM

You forgot Terrorist! And Zombie! Someone on Twitter earlier today commented that they couldn’t decide which to be for halloween, to which one response was furry feet, zombie makeup, and an AK47 to pull all the threads together. Though I suppose you could add Conan style “barbarian” clothes to the mix. Not sure how to work tea party into it though….

LibraryGryffon on September 7, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Maybe he meant “Barbarella” was at the gate. Or “Barbarino.” Or “Babar.” He probably does not know what “barbarians” means.

exhelodrvr on September 7, 2011 at 6:41 PM

pannw and LibraryGryffon:

“a barbarian, an SOB, a hobbit, a terrorist, a zombie, and a racist.”

It’s just like the Fellowship of the Ring!!

exhelodrvr on September 7, 2011 at 6:43 PM

Barbarian-Hobbit-Terorist-Zombie-Racist
Reporting for duty!

At some point, even the loony-naval gazers have to admit that their slime-balls only exist in the lowest levels of Minecraft.

There ya go! I managed to bring Minecraft into a Hot Air thread.
C’mon Notch…pay up!
LOL!!!

shorebird on September 8, 2011 at 2:20 AM

The best in life to Barbarians: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the woman.

portlandon on September 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

They only had one? Damn, she must have been tired…or a Jersey Girl!

Extrafishy on September 8, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Where did I put that battle axe? I know it’s around here somewhere.

hillbillyjim on September 7, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Mine was in bed asleep when I left for work this morning.

SKYFOX on September 8, 2011 at 8:04 AM