The Word on the Street

11/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • James P. Hoffa General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

I've spent the last several weeks on the ground talking to Teamster members about the importance of this election. From Billings, Montana to Dayton, Ohio to Bristol, Pennsylvania, I've had thousands of conversations with the men and women who make this country run -- the true foundation of our great nation. And let me tell you, they get it.

They get the importance of electing a president who cares about the American people. They understand, regardless of party affiliation, that the last eight years have put us in a hole that will take generations to climb out of. They see their 401ks diminishing. They feel the economic pain of inflation and high fuel costs. They don't have to be convinced that things aren't getting better -- they live it.

For thirty years the Republican slime machine has worked. Whether it was Willie Horton against Dukakis or the swift-boating of John Kerry, the Republicans could sway voters with ads that were not only misleading -- they were irrelevant. The McCain campaign is trying to do the same thing and for once the American public isn't biting. Whether it is the false claims regarding 60's radicals or socialist or communist philosophies, the real victory for our nation is that no one is taking the hook.

Rank-and-file teamsters get it. They aren't willing to be swayed by false, irrelevant arguments. They want change. They want ideas. And the fact is -- McCain doesn't have any. That's why he's falling back to the type of campaign that destroyed him in South Carolina in 2000.

I'll be back at the plant gates and break-rooms for the rest of the election urging teamsters to get out to vote. The best part is that I don't have to tell them how important it is -- they already get it.