It looks like Máirtín may be trying to create a bit of a media rumpus among those who claim to speak for Irish America, now that the penny’s finally dropped over the non-appointment of a political envoy by the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, the news that Hillary Clinton won’t appoint a peace envoy (or indeed, a business envoy) is not only a campaign promise broken (and they ask why people are cynical about politicians) but a blow to all those who believe oversight makes unionist behave better and facilitates change. Sounds like another job for Irish America which had to campaign vigorously in the first case to get Obama to agree to appoint an envoy if elected.
And he’s had one bite already. Admittedly it’s by someone who just happened to be at the West Belfast Féile and, as an organisation, the Irish American Unity Conference have some interesting “Goals”. No word yet from the more sensible US-Ireland Alliance, but I’m looking forward to hearing what Niall O’Dowd has to say about it all.And if, like me, you had wondered about the broken “campaign promise” to appoint an envoy it was, apparently, contained in a response to a questionnaire sent to the Obama campaign team in October last year. Belfast Media have a pdf version of the questionnaire.
And what did the questionnaire say?
“After consultations with prominent Irish-Americans, and informal soundings with British and Irish officials, Senator Obama affirmed his intention to appoint an envoy.”
Reports of that questionnaire prompted Niall Stanage’s appearance on Hearts and Minds.
Here’s what Niall had to say at the time about such questionnaires.
“..Presidential candidates do not have a great deal of time to dwell on these matters when there are a thousand other challenges facing the United States at the moment. And, you know, these things are often sent out to interest groups or to ethnic groups and, basically, campaigns, I think, try to go as far as they can in pleasing or appeasing that group without getting themselves into trouble, obviously.”
“There have been at least a number of occasions during this campaign where similar questionnaires have been supposedly filled out by staff members and Obama has actually distanced himself from the position that has been put forth in his name saying people misunderstood or didn’t, at least, understand the nuances of his position.”
Would John McCain have appointed an envoy by now? You betcha! That’s not to suggest it would be a sensible decision.
But since Máirtín raised the issue of the past importance of the role of an US envoy in overseeing things here..
The US administrations influence here, in particular that of Mitchell Reiss, has been documented before.
Although the intended destination may have differed from the actual outcome.
Of course, any such thinking is “in the land of the cuckoo..”