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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 29, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    Obama Gets the Luck of the Irish

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    What does the song say? “Ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.” Politics is a bit like that. Take Barack Obama, whose fortunes took a turn for the better with the passage of his healthcare legislation. All right, some cantankerous blogospherist will write in to point out that the Bill was a much more modest version of what was originally proposed. But given the level and vociferousness of the  opposition to it, the guy did well to get it though.  Maybe the fact that his great-great-great-great grandfather came from Offaly brought him some luck.

    Your humble scribe was in the presence of the Great Man during a recent visit Stateside for the Paddy’s Day celebrations. Highly-educated, articulate, charming and witty, Obama cuts an impressive public figure. Why can’t we have a few  more like him on this island of saints and scholars which has produced so many great writers and orators in the past?

    Listening to speeches by Hillary Clinton and Obama it was instantly clear why the latter won the presidency. There’ s no doubt that HRC is a class act in her own way: highly-articulate and sophisticated. But Obama is the best performer since JFK.

    That’s not to say that everything is going to work out for him, e.g., in Afghanistan, where he has just made a lightning visit. The “Tea-Party” movement also poses an ominous political threat.

    At any rate, it was refreshing to dip out of the Irish political scene for a while. Mind you, it is a bit depressing to note that St Patrick’s Day has apparently become an occasion for drunkenness on the part of many young people in the US, much more than is the case back home.  

    • Fergal says:

      I think the likes of a Barack Obama is a one in fifty-year event. Leaders like him aren’t very thick on the ground and what is more astonishing, I suppose, is the fact that his motivation is one of public service. Yes, the Tea-Party movement with the not so explicit support of Republicans make him out to be on a par with the anti-Christ but i think this is a reflection of the dynacism and difference in terms of his ideas and leadership amongst a people polarised when it comes to politics. I too was happy to see Obama get his healthcare bill through the system. The extension of healthcare to 32 million additional US citizens can only be a positive thing. Alas, would that Ireland had a leader or potential leader in the mould of Obama or indeed even Lemass. There’s a paucity of inspirational figure(s) in the Dáil and in government and no doubt it was refreshing to be out of the “groundhog day” of Irish politics.

    • barbera says:

      Wait a doggone minute. Our Taoiseach is from Offaly — as luck would have it — and if ever there was a scholar on this Island, he’s it; and he would have to be a saint too, to put up with the nastiness and sarcasm that is vomited out daily by the media and which has developed into a national pastime — and not just here but all across the Western world, which has become increasingly nihilistic in its attitude. We should be grateful that we have such an intelligent and good leader who is economical with his orations and whose focus is on getting the job done in these difficult times.


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