‘President’ Obama will engage with process…

Ray O’Hanlon has picked up Barak Obama’s pitch for the Irish American vote in his Irish Echo piece. Two things occur: one, the Irish American interest may not be what it once was; and, two are we really still going to have a Peace Process™ by the time he makes it to the Whitehouse? Heaven forfend!

  • seabhac siúlach

    Ahh…this touching American concern for the globally insignificant affairs of the six counties…
    A cynical move on the part of Barak O’Bama (begorrah!) to capture those all important Irish American votes.
    Good luck to him…

  • heck

    but unlike Mrs Clinton he has always opposed the Iraq war!!!

  • lib2016

    At every stage of the process the Brits have dragged their feet. Without American and European backing and encouragement the Peace Process would have been still born rather than moving steadily if a bit slowly forwards.

    The Irish fight for freedom and the unionist reaction to Irish decolonisation have captured the imagination of people around the world, indeed they mirror problems much of the world have already faced.

    I’m quite happy to concede that the British government have another few years in which to transfer power over Irish affairs to Irish people. Surprised that you think they will have left within the next two years i.e. before the American elections.

  • Very good lib… 😉

  • susan

    Seabhac Siúlach, Obama’s press release was not just about the North, it was about the pressing matter of immigration reform in the United States. A disproportionately high number of Irish illegals in the States in 2007 are from the border counties and the North. Part of that is because of the robust health of the Celtic Tiger, part of it is there are plenty of decent people born in the wrong place and the wrong time who nonetheless found themselves in between a rock and a hard place re: the security forces or (or more frequently and) the paramilitaries. More than London or Dublin, the US was a chance for a new life and a new beginning.

    Nothing staged or convenient about Obama’s long-standing commitment and leadership for legislation that will provide options for otherwise law-abiding illegals hoping to earn a path towards legal residency. He and his able staff are informed and committed and responsive.

    I would however suspect that there is a canny subtext to the timing of this press release. Not just to secure Irish American support at the polls, but there are many millions of dollars in campaign contributions at stake from well-connected Irish American Dems at the pinnacle of US politics and business. In the past they were thoroughly in the (Bill) Clinton camp, but Hilary’s head-in-the-sand support for the Iraq war is more than many can take.

    Given the mess the world’s in, I don’t find such shrewdness an undesirable trait in a political candidate. GOBAMA!

  • middle-class taig

    seabhac siúlach

    Not another lobotomised subscriber to the “our wee troubles are insignificant on the world stage” agenda.

    Our conflict is (and has been for the last 40 years) of major global significance because it demonstrates that:

    – unfair societies lead to conflict, violence and division even in comparatively affluent western countries

    – colonialism is not just wrong in the developing world where it involves the cultural imposition of one race over another, but anywhere it happens and whatever the nature of the oppressed community

    – conflicts once thought intractable can be solved by negotiation and inclusive dialogue

    – politicisation and internationalisation of regional conflicts is a force for good, as it forces most parties to properly articulate their positions, to eschew demagoguery and to see themselves through the eyes of others

    – majoritarian democracy isn’t right for every society

    – former revolutionaries can be excellent political leaders, but may struggle to overcome the stigma associated with their former military pasts if they are demonised by the press and opponents

    – democratic governments aren’t always a source for good, particularly where they take one side in a regional conflict.

    I understand why unionists want to water down the significance of the Troubles. God only knows why purist republicans want to!?

  • It is futile on two fronts.

    First Clinton has it locked. Bill locked the Irish-American vote and donors. This may be more valuable in the primaries than the general election unless New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are close races. Another hint is that Charlie Rangel is supporting Clinton.

    Lastly, who the hell ever heard of Bill Clinton a couple of years before his first Presidential win? Demos who actually watched the conventions only knew him as a windy southerner who just would not shutup and end his speech.

    We still have nearly two years, Sluggiepoos. And events and shit happens

  • Greenflag


    ‘First Clinton has it locked.’

    I have a ‘premonition’ that Hilary can make it as first woman President next time . McCain ( my own preferred) has shot himself in the foot with his almost total support for Bush and in his reaching out to the right wing evangelicals who preferred Bush to McCain the last time out. But the American mood has changed -the Health insurance system is a shambles-the Iraqi War is a nightmare without end -Afghanistan is regressing to Talibanity and now rumours of war with Iran are clouding the horizon. A large number of Americans I sense are coming around to the view that the present incumbent is the nearest thing to Comical Ali (what happened to him) that the USA has .

    Guliani is an arrogant windbag although shrewdly he is trying to appear less total in his support for Bush than McCain . The elections in November 2006 in which the republicans lost control of both houses now looks likely to be followed by an even greater rout in the 2008 Presidential election.

    Obama is setting himself up for a later run IMO . And so far he has’nt done himself any harm .

    Of course 2008 assuming that the NI Assembly gets off the ground after the March election should be about the time such an Assembly yet again ‘suspended’

    As you say ‘shit happens’ . No voter in NI is unaware of this eternal fact in particular when it comes to local politics in NI.

  • Jocky

    m-c-t, you missed out

    violence doesn’t solve anything.

  • middle-class taig

    isn’t that implicit in my point 3?

  • Synchronize Your Dogmas

    Obama is cleverly making his stance on the immigration issue and trying on his foreign policy hat by citing a successful immigrant group and linking it to an ostensibly successful example of American foreign policy (not a lot to work with lately) and yeah maybe getting some of those fabled Irish-American votes while he’s at it.

    I can see the Peace Processâ„¢ being used in this way frequently in the next two years and I don’t even believe there’s such a thing as an Irish_American voting bloc. It’s just that since Haiti’s gone pear shaped again and the Oslo accords are a dim memory etc etc what else is there? Those cute Riverdance people in Ireland had a “war” and then us nice Americans fixed it – hurray!

    Hillary’s involvement with the debacle in Iraq didn’t start with her voting record as a Senator. She happens to have been married to a man who prosecuted a largely covert war against Iraq’s civilian infrastructure, particularly it’s water system, leading to huge numbers of civilian deaths from disease, definitely exceeding Bush’s butchery. That’s going to be hard to u-turn out of at the primaries where the beards-and-birkenstocks wing of the Democratic party is over-represented, loadsamoney or no.

  • susan

    The race is wide open. Clinton may have Rangel, especialy if Wes Clark stays out of it, but Obama’s got Oprah. And Hollywood: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=2&subID=1387. Given the sinfully high costs of a US presidential campaign, that’s no small fluff.

    Smilin’ Jim, you are probably right about the Establishment Irish American Democratic donors. It’s awhile since I read the tea leaves on these things, but a quick glance at the homepage for Irish American Democrats (http://www.irishamericandemocrats.org/) and a recent editorial by Niall O’Dowd in the other Irish-American newsweekly, the Irish Voice, strongly hints that those that once backed Clinton I will stick with Clinton II. (http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irishinamerica/editperiscope/TheRaceIsOn.asp)

    But what does that mean? Considering the debacle in Iraq unravelling daily across America’s television screens, maybe not all that much. The Democratic primaries may well become a single-issue referendum, and if they do the single issue won’t be race, gender, the economy, or “even” the Irish Peace Process. It will be the war in Iraq — and if Hilary doesn’t change her tune, she’ll see her dwindling lead in the public opinion polls continue to slip away.

  • susan

    That Irish Voice editorial may be subscription only, but if any Sluggerazzi policy wonks or wonkettes want to read it, email me and I will zip it to you.

  • but Obama’s got Oprah.

    Love that. The gods have a sense of humor.

    Another nail in his coffin is the “Bradley Effect”. LA’s Mayor Tom Bradley led George Deukmejian comfortably in the polls during the 1982 California Governor’s race but lost by 52,000 votes out of 7.5 million votes cast.

    Moral: No one wants to admit to a pollster that they are bigot.

    Obama will have to have a 10% lead to feel safe. That ainna gonna happen.

    BTW when I say that Clinton has it locked, that applies only to those who consciously consider themselves Irish-Americans. I didn’t mean that I believe that she will win either the nomination or the election. Firstly, anything can happen in the next 17 months (watch the Oscars). Secondly, remember that these drooling idiots elected Bush twice.

  • susan

    Today the Irish Voice is giving Obama’s essay top billing at their website: http://www.irishabroad.com/. Given the paper’s close ties to the Clintons I wondered if they would — fair play to them for doing so; it was absolutely the right thing to do.

    Right you are that time will tell, Jim. Interesting you feel Clinton has the Irish American vote locked up — I’ve met so many Irish Americans that wouldn’t vote for any Democrat, either over the abortion debate, or because they are “Peter King Republicans,” or because “Bush is such a nice man,” etc. I think the Democratic primary season will be the most no holds barred in ages — given the emerging, comparatively unregulated possibilities of YouTube, etc.

    Synchronize Your Dogma makes a powerful point about the bombing of the Iraqi water purification systems — but I don’t think any Democratic candidate will raise it. Too much a deviation from the accepted post 9/11 scripts, and I think the one message all the Democratic candidates will want voters to focus on is whether they and their country weret better off with a Democrat in the White House, or with Bush.