|One from Mayo. One from Chicago. Neither a hurling stronghold.|
11 days to go until America decides who they want as their president/commander-in-chief/puppet for the corporations for the next four years and Barack Obama must be brickin' it.
He's up against a man (Mitt Romney is his name for the plebs among us) who is 50% grease and 50% pure evil and yet still Barry is lagging behind in most polls. Well, lagging behind suggest it's a big gap, it ain't. Yesterday's Gallup Poll shows Romney with 50% of the popular vote and Barry with 47%.
Hardly a gargantuan lead and some other polls suggest Obama has his nose in front but it's still enough for Barry to be cuddling up to Michelle at night seeking some loving reassurance that it will be him sending thousands of Afghans and Al-Qaeda insurgents to their deaths for the next four years and not that indignant mormon fool.
But were this presidential race taking place on the fair isle on which I am typing this piece, Ireland of course, Barry would cruise to victory. No, cruise is the wrong verb, he'd waltz, no that's not it, he'd PUMMEL his way to victory. Yeah, that's it. And this is not mere hyperbole from I, this is scientific fact. A poll commissioned by the Irish Times last week showed a whopping 79% of us Irish would re-elect Barry, while a paltry 5% would vote for Shit Mitt and 16% couldn't be arsed having an opinion (God bless that 16%).
So. Why the hell do we like this man so much?
Well for a while everyone, of every creed, race and nationality loved Barack Obama. He was 2008's Katie Taylor. Adored. Deified. He could not put a foot wrong, remember, this is a man who won a Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing. Nada. I put as much work into winning that Nobel Peace Prize for Barry as he did. I'll admit, I loved the man but hey, I was 15. I have an excuse. You older people are gullible fools
But while most countries have moved on from this extreme adoration (They burn effigies of him in the Middle East), us Irish still retain it. We still cling to, as Sarah Palin so succinctly put it, the "hopey, changey stuff" he came out with way back when.
While Mitt Romney is perceived as a filthy rich, malignant, poor-hatin' scumbag (And that he is) by us Irish, I have genuinely seen comments from Irish people on the internet state that Obama is an "All-round nice guy", a "a sound lad" and about 30,000 comments by disgruntled Irish folk saying "He'd do a much better job than the useless bastards/idiots/cunts/other-pejorative-noun we have in the Dáil" or something to that tune (They could be right, but my labrador would do a better job than the useless idiots in Dáil Éireann).
The reason we harbour this undying love for him is complicated and probably multivalent. A lot of it has to do with his Irish "roots" (I'm using inverted commas because, come on, he's as Irish as a Komodo Dragon) and his visit to Ireland last year, which though lasted less than 12 hours, left an indelible mark. Many Irish were swayed by his poise and charm, many more found the story about his great-great-great-grandfather fascinating, and many more were looking for a catchy soundbite to improve their recession-bashed spirts and they got just that with "Is Féidir Linn". 20 months on and there's still tits driving around with those blasted bumper stickers.
Another reason may be a lot more deep-rooted. Democrats are naturally popular in Ireland. The two most loved US President by the Irish, besides Barry, are without question JFK and Bill Clinton. Two democrats. Both with Irish roots. Clinton is loved, in no small part, due to the role he played in the peace process up North, while JFK is adored because A) He visited us B) He upheld the most Irish of traditions - namely, cheating on your wife and consuming large quantities of alcohol. He was, if you pardon the horrible slang, the only Lad president.
But the democrat, thing, I'm going to run with that for a while. You see every Republican President in the last 50 years has had some form of Irish roots. The Bushes did, Reagan did and Nixon did. Nixon and Reagan even visited Ireland. Reagan is an Irish surname for Christ's sake. But how many Irish do you hear singing songs of praise about good ol' Ronnie or loveable Ricky? There was a song written about Barack Obama being Irish ("There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama"). Countless documentaries have been made about JFK and his Irish visit. Nixon and Reagan don't even warrant an image on the Irish-American wikipedia page.
The Democrats being so popular in Ireland is, like most things, complicated. It probably has something to do with the Democrats being the party for the immigrants and the fact that they produce more interesting and less evil presidents.
It's a a recondite matter. Obama's popularity in the Emerald Isle does not look like waning and why should it? He's got history and propaganda on his side. If Obama does get re-elected, and I think he will, then he'll want to be making a second state trip to this small island so he can sample our Guinness, play with our hurls, sweet-talk our people again and thank us for liking him while half of his native country thinks he's a communist muslim. If he does that we might even carve a Mt.Barackmore on the Cliffs Of Moher for him.