Back in April, 1992, Jerry Brown had star billing at a hastily arranged gathering of Irish American leaders and activists in a Manhattan hotel.
The gathering, under the banner of an “Irish American Presidential Forum,” was designed to tease out the views of presidential candidates in a year that incumbent George H.W. Bush was expected to canter home for a second term.
It was an open invitation, but suffice it to say there was little surprise when it became evident that it would be an all-Democratic affair.
It would be sixteen years before Senator John McCain would end the Democratic monopoly.
On that spring Sunday evening, Brown was seen as the main Democratic challenger to the president securing a second term, thus giving Republicans four presidential terms in a row.
Brown was being given long odds.
But the other emerging Democrat in that primary season, Bill Clinton, was being accorded even longer odds – in his primary race with Brown.
Astonishing though it may sound today, the Jerry Brown of April 1992 was being billed for the forum as the “former” governor of California.
Here we are, almost a quarter of a century later, and Jerry Brown IS the governor of California!
And it is as chief executive of the nation’s most populous state that Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown Jr. will address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week - a gathering that will see the candidacy of another Clinton, Hillary, confirmed in front of a cheering convention crowd.
Brown, a great political survivor despite his having to cheer on winning Clintons in conventions taking place in different centuries, will be the senior figure for what will be quite a gathering of the Irish American Democratic clan in the city of Brotherly Love.
The host state alone will offer up speakers such as first term congressman Brendan Boyle – first generation with a dad from Donegal – as well as Congressman Bob Brady and Senator Bob Casey.
Congressman Joe Crowley from New York, a longtime Hillary backer, is also a listed speaker.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will also address the convention from the podium.
Kenney will not be the only Jesuit-educated Irish Catholic speaker at the podium.
Think vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.
Other mayors on the podium will include Marty Walsh from Boston and Mike Duggan from Detroit.
Interestingly, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who challenged for the party nomination in the primaries, has been accorded a speaking slot.
All has been forgiven, whatever the all might be.
Incumbent Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is also listed, as is Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut.
And of course there is the senator who wears a green tie at the slightest excuse, honorary Irishman Senator Chuck Schumer from New York.
The Irish are not as dominant in Democratic Party politics as they once were, and for sure Irish Americans vote across the board these testy times.
But the Irish are yet to be heard, and are so in both main parties.
This year’s presidential election will, indeed, see two Irish Americans contest the vice presidency.
We’ll be hearing a lot about one of them in Philadelphia between today and Thursday.
Some of it, no doubt, from Governor Jerry Brown.