Higgins Tea Party smackdown goes viral
A two-year-old YouTube clip, of President Michael D Higgins debating with a US conservative talkshow host and Tea Party advocate has gone viral.
The clip has been viewed approximately 200,000 times in the past 48 hours and Mr Higgins is garnering much positive reaction from US-based users of social media sites.
In the 2010 Newstalk radio clip, the then Labour TD Michael D Higgins tells talkshow host Michael Graham to “be proud to be a decent American rather than being just a w**ker whipping up fear”.
Mr Higgins said Graham was using the same tactics as former Conservative vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin “to get a large crowd, whip them up, try and discover what is the greatest fear, work on that and feed it right back and you get a frenzy”.
Much of the spike in traffic was generated after the clip was linked on social media sharing site Upworthy with the headline: “A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn't Go So Well.”
Posting a link to the clip in the past 24 hours, Mansur Gidfar of Upworthy wrote: “Michael D. Higgins (who was elected President of Ireland last year) is fed up with over-the-top Tea Party rhetoric, and he isn't afraid to show it. Listen to him call out radio host Michael Graham on everything from health care to foreign policy. Trust me, you don't want to miss this one”
Mr Higgins' comments have garnered much reaction online, particularly among US tweeters, some of whom are calling the clip a “Tea Party smackdown”.
The clip “Michael D Higgins vs Michael Graham” is taken from a debate on foreign affairs broadcast on George Hook’s programme The Right Hook on Newstalk in 2010. The clip was originally uploaded in February.
Graham hosts a show on a Boston radio station 96.9 WTK, is a former political consultant for the Conservative party and has published a book on the Tea Party movement. He was one of the earliest organisers for the Tea Party.
Reacting to the popularity of the clip Graham tweeted today: “If opposing Arab terrorists and supporting Israel’s right to self defense still means I’m a 'w**ker', nothing’s changed".
Broadcaster George Hook tweeted today: “Glad to hear people enjoyed the debate between President Higgins and Michael Graham although it should be remembered it was two years ago”.
The hits on the video stand at over 430,000 but a spokeswoman for Google was unable to release any further information on the number of views.