Intelligencer 1 - 7 Oct 2008
Mock Outrage at Joke
THE outrage expressed by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and other Irish organizations about John McCain's silly joke about two Irish drunks, which he made before his comments in Scranton last week, seems over the top.
Sure the joke was offensive, if you thought he stated it with any malice whatsoever, but McCain has been telling this joke for decades, often to Irish audiences such as were present in Scranton.
McCain is intensely proud of his own Scots Irish heritage, and he has an affinity for the Irish that is unmistakable soon as you meet him.
That does not mean he has no issues. His failure to support the first Gerry Adams U.S. visa is just one, but telling an Irish joke hardly qualifies him for hate status.
It seems an overreaction, not to mention, judging by letters to this paper, a lot of mock outrage from Obama supporters eager to capitalize on the joke.
We need to be able to laugh at ourselves a little too and not have Taliban type rules and regulations about when jokes can be told about us.
The AOH did genuinely good work a few years ago tackling the St. Patrick's Day card industry for their wholesale stereotyping of drunken Irish in the run up to St. Patrick's Day.
McCain's icebreaker joke hardly fits in that category. A little Irish humor now and then can get the party going, which is definitely what McCain intended to do, and nothing else, in Scranton.
Palin at Irish Pub
While McCain was debating Barack Obama in Mississippi, Governor Sarah Palin was whooping it up at the Irish Pub in Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia.
It was just the latest example of how the McCain campaign has cleverly picked Irish spots to showcase their candidates for the Irish American vote in Pennsylvania.
Palin, dressed casually in a red top and shirt, arrived at the location before the debate and met with key supporters, including many leading Irish American supporters, of McCain in the Philadelphia area.
The Obama camp continues to play catch-up on the Irish issue. To date neither Joe Biden nor Obama himself have made any appearances in Irish venues or before Irish audiences.
Now there are rumors of an October Irish Presidential Forum appearance by Obama, around the time of the Al Smith dinner in New York which both presidential candidates will attend. Let's see how they pan out.
No Catholics Need Apply
BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown took a brave step in Britain last week by trying to remove the greatest anti-Catholic legislation still on the books in any western democracy.
He has drawn up plans to end the 300-year ban on Catholics ascending to the British crown, thereby making it possible for Prince William's first born to become king or queen if they converted to Catholicism, as he also intends to reform the rule that male heirs are first in line for the crown.
The 1688 Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement in 1701 and Act of Union in 1707 were drawn up specifically to ban Catholics or their spouses from the succession and provided for only the Protestant succession.