Category: Archive

Editorial Come one, come all

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Irish American Presidential Forum, tentatively set for Sunday, March 5, in Manhattan, has the potential for being the best of its kind to date. Ireland is now a primary foreign policy issue for the White House and there is still much to play for in the peace process.

The forum would be an ideal opportunity for all candidates, Democratic and Republican, to attract Irish-American votes based on a stated commitment to keep U.S. interest and pressure focused squarely on the peace process and its various political spinoffs. Given the party’s forum record, the Democrats are near certain to be in attendance to one degree or another.

In 1996, Al Gore attended. It was the first time that a politician in high public office had done so. Gore should do so again this year as both vice president and presidential candidate. Bill Bradley would be more than welcome, too.

It would be no great surprise if one of the leading Democrats attended, no great shock if both did. Sadly, there is no such degree of certainty with regard to the leading Republican contestants.

George W. Bush’s stated views on Ireland to date show promise. But he needs to say more. The forum would be the ideal occasion.

John McCain’s views have been rather more controversial. But the man is an erudite speaker and clearly a candidate with strong personal appeal as well as interesting points of view, particularly with regard to U.S. foreign policy. Unfortunately, the New York emphasis of the forum — it is set for two days before the state primary — might mitigate against McCain’s attendance.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

As things presently stand, GOP state party regulations are working to exclude McCain’s name from the ballot in roughly half of New York’s 31 congressional districts. It would be a shame if McCain is put off the forum on the grounds that he feels he is being forced to address only a partial constituency. That the positions sketched out by candidates at the forum are relevant for Irish Americans in all 50 states might counter such a fear. Then again, it might not.

Either way, the GOP hierarchy in New York, including Gov. Pataki and GOP state chairman William Powers, have it in their power to allow McCain’s name to be placed before all registered GOP voters in the March 7 primary. They should see to it, thus ensuring that the forum is a stronger magnet for the Arizona senator. The forum is now being organized on a bipartisan basis. There is no reason for it to be a one-party show any longer.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese