People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
96 percent in Ireland say they would vote for Obama in US election - Puzzled Americans ask why do Irish in Ireland dislike the GOP so much?
Posted on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 08:15 AM
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|Mitt Romney and Barack Obama|
A Gallup International poll has revealed that Irish, in Ireland, would vote 96-4 percent for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.
That’s not a landslide it is an avalanche.
But it begs the question why Irish and Europeans in general see so little to like in the GOP candidates these days.
After all many Irish are Catholic conservatives fiercely opposed to abortion and feel issues like immigration into Ireland is destroying the country.
The business class in ireland would surely have far more in common with lower taxes and less government that the Republican Party espouses.
Yet despite that obvious affinity there is no support whatever for the Republican Party in Ireland.
I am always struck by this when talking to Irish politicians who in this country would be considered moderate conservatives but who have no time whatever for the GOP.
They blame George Bush and Ronald Reagan and American support for Israel.
Reagan first. During his war in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas Reagan alienated the Irish, especially the religious orders who had large numbers of nuns and priests working in poor neighborhoods there.
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There was a universal sense in Ireland of America the bully which cost the American image dear.
Now to Bush. The Iraq war and its aftermath was also a disaster for the perception of America abroad.
But perhaps nothing is more damaging than the perception by the GOP that the UN is a useless institution
While the UN maybe reviled in the U.S. in many circles, in Ireland it is seen as a very necessary international institution. It is the one way that a small country like Ireland can have an influence on great issues of the day. Irish troops who serve in UN peacekeeping missions are highly praised there and regarded with great pride. United Nations happenings are very closely reported.
There is huge animosity to the sense of America First, anti UN sense that the GOP foreign policy seems to foster.
Then there is the issue of Israel.
The overwhelming number of Irish identify with the Palestinians and draw many comparisons between their plight and the Irish under British rule.
America’s role as Israel’s defender come what may, especially in GOP circles, plays very badly in ireland.
On the other hand Obama is seen as an internationalist who seeks co-operation across borders and who sees the UN as a valuable institution.
I don’t see much changing in the future as long as the GOP continues to drift right.
That 96-4 figure may even shrink further for Republicans if the current anti GOP sense continues.
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