Vice President Joe Biden railed against corporations in a combative Labor Day Parade speech in Detroit with union bosses and their members in attendance – speaking with such passion that even when he made up the name of a fictional historical American president the crowd applauded.
Biden delivered his speech at the site of the demolished Tiger Stadium ballpark, standing onstage with local Democrats including embattled anti-Obamacare Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa Jr., who handed the vice president water and got first-name references in what basically amounted to a Biden stump speech.
“Why do CEO’s now make 333 times more money than the line worker when back when [WAGER?] was president, they made 25 times what the line worker,” Biden said (10:40). “What happened? What happened?”
President who? Wager? President Way-gur? Did the vice president start saying “Reagan” and then realize halfway through that he shouldn’t? Or did he just make the name up?
“As long as I’m around, as long as the guys behind me are around, we’re going to fight with every breath in us to make sure we re-establish the bargain,” Biden said (20:40).
But the guy behind you hates your bargain, Joe. In fact, it was Jimmy Hoffa Jr. who wrote to Congress in 2013 complaining that Obamacare “will destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz even cited Hoffa’s letter in his quasi-filibuster against Obamacare before the government shutdown. (RELATED: Hoffa Tries To Squash His Own Employees’ Union)
“We’ve been chipped away at, constantly, just like unions have,” Biden railed. “It’s time to take back America. It’s time to change the tax code. It’s time to make sure you get an equal share. Because if we don’t, America’s in trouble.”
Biden offered generous praise to the union leaders, including Hoffa.
“Had the Teamsters, and AFSCME and the Building trade, and every single union here not taken to the streets when they had to, generation after generation, to pressure for the expanse of the rights of workers, we wouldn’t have, as Jimmy pointed out, the forty-hour week,” Biden said. “It’s not hyperbole. Unions did in fact build the middle class. And here’s what that did. That built the United States of America as we know it.”
“God bless you. Don’t give up. Keep dreaming. We’re going to come back,” Biden concluded after noting that people in Washington call him “Middle Class Joe” and that the moniker is not meant as a compliment there.
Whether starring in the Obama campaign’s auto-bailout action movie for the 2012 Democratic National Convention or convening a post-Newtown gun control Q + A to encouraged people to scorn semi-automatics and instead get themselves double-barreled shotguns, Biden has been the administration’s reliable mascot for outreach to the old union-led Democratic establishment.
But Biden’s speech Monday, with its numerous criticisms of contemporary life, suggest the rumblings of a presidential campaign.
Just like President Wager.