We Are All Tom Buffenbarger Now

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 8 2010 8:12 AM

We Are All Tom Buffenbarger Now

Remember Tom Buffenbarger? In 2008, his International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. The night of the Wisconsin primary, which Obama won, Buffenbarger helped kick off Hillary's campaign in Ohio with a volcanic 12-minute speech all about the weakness he'd seen in Obama in Illinois, on pivotal labor fights. I found the video again after watching a few minutes of MSNBC last night.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

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Choice bits:

Barack Obama is no Muhammad Ali. He took a walk every time there was a tough vote in the Illinois State Senate. He took a walk more than a 130 times. That's what a shadow boxer does. All the right moves. All the right combinations. All the right footwork. But he never steps into the ring

And the wind-down:

Hope? Change? Yes We Can? Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.

At the time, Obama supporters thought Buffenbarger was ridiculously unfair. Now?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.