Few union gangsters have the exquisitely barbaric pedigree of International Brotherhood of Teamsters president James P. Hoffa.
And few labor unions can match the Teamsters, the million-plus member union of truckers and blue-collar workers, for its legendary connections to organized crime, corruption, and violence. For decades the word Teamster was essentially a synonym for gangster.
Hoffa is the son of James R. Hoffa, the relentlessly corrupt, larger-than-life Teamsters president who worked closely with figures from the crime underworld. In July 1975 the elder Hoffa disappeared mysteriously outside a suburban Detroit restaurant at which he was planning to meet with two mobsters. His body has never been found.
Historian Thaddeus Russell likened the elder Hoffa to General George S. Patton. “He exalted bravery and despised frailty, and presented himself as the toughest, strongest, and most ruthless fighter in the union,” Russell wrote. Hoffa also once proudly proclaimed his potential to be “the meanest bastard that God ever created.”
Like his foul-mouthed, publicity-loving father, the younger Hoffa doesn’t mince words.
Like most union leaders, Hoffa blames “Wall Street’s greed, stupidity and fraud” for the nation’s economic problems, ignoring the role that Big Government meddling in the economy played in inflating the mortgage market bubble. He supports Occupy Wall Street and acknowledges that Teamsters “all over the country are participating in Occupy Wall Street events.”
When introducing President Obama at a Labor Day rally this year, Hoffa launched an attack, bellowing, “We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party.”
Well-practiced in the art of Saul Alinsky-style vilification, Hoffa told the crowd, “Let’s take these son [sic] of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.” Not surprisingly, President Obama, who encourages his supporters to find opponents and “argue with them and get in their face,” never distanced himself from Hoffa’s demonization of a large chunk of the U.S. population.
After the event, Hoffa invoked the Mother of All Leftist Cliches, telling ABC News that conservatives “want to roll the clock back to about 1900.”
When Wisconsin voters gave their Republican governor Scott Walker a clear mandate to cut state spending, Hoffa lashed out. In February he called Walker’s extremely modest proposal that state workers shoulder a small percentage of the costs for their health care plans and pensions “union-busting” and “a vindictive attack” that was part of a “one-sided class war.”
Jimmy Hoffa Jr., a lawyer by training, has had a radical streak for a long time.
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