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This is my first diary so please be kind...

The role of Irish-Americans has received some attention from the media but, in general, the Irish vote has been discussed as part of the 'white working class' we've all been hearing so much about in Pennsylvania. This voting block is considered to be the bedrock of Hillary Clinton's support and much of the discussion of the results of the primary will focus on how many Obama manages to peel away from her as they have been particularly resistant to him.

But there's a subtext to the 'white working class won't vote for Obama' meme that the Irish-Americans are beginning to take issue with.

Irish-Americans make up 17.66% of the population of PA, and (from my own estimation) roughly about a third of the democratic electorate. This group goes overwhelmingly for Clinton.

A poster named Glic has diaried the latest McClatchy/Mason-Dixon poll which includes the following demographic breakdown:

Clinton  snags the Catholic vote, 63-30%, and Obama takes Protestants by almost the same margin: 60-31%.

There are number of probable reasons for Clinton's strong support from this group which would proportionately trend older, poorer, and more socially conservative. Bill Clinton also played a pivotal role in the Northern-Irish peace process and more generally is considered a 'good friend' to Ireland. In fact, during his presidency, Bill Clinton came to be treated as almost an honorary Irish-man and was met by a crowd of 100,000 people in Dublin in 1995 (population of Dublin at the time was around one million). So this fondness for Bill cannot be discounted. But it is true there may also be a racial element to their choice, a fact which has dismayed younger and more open-minded Irish-Americans.

In the 4/18/08 edition of  in the Irish Echo, "the USA's most widely read Irish-American newspaper", the  Irish-American Writers and Artists' Association took out a full-page add to endorse Barack Obama.

The endorsement itself is very complimentary stating that :

Senator Obama represents the best hope for achieving an America that includes all - and leaves no one out - an America that slaves and immigrants alike dreamed would one day include their children. We believe he can inspire and lead the struggle for social justice, civil rights, and equality of opportunity. We see in him a continuation and reaffirmation of the movement John F. Kennedy helped to foster and for which Martin Luther King Jnr. and Robert Kennedy gave their lives.

But they also take issue with the subtext of much of the MSM's coverage of the primary, that Irish-Americans are voting against Obama because Irish-Americans are racists:

Here, at a crucial moment in the history of the Democratic Party and the United States, we the undersigned Irish American writers and artists believe it is important to set the record straight. We will not sit idly by while some in the media and chattering class use the phrase 'white working class' as a code for 'Irish working-class racism.' We are the descendants of the generations of Irish working-class women and men who helped build this country, nurse its sick, care for its children, work its mines, and police its streets. We wholeheartedly endorse Barack Obama on his quest for the Presidency of the United States.

It is important that we confront this imputation and the tacit legitimization of racial voting by the MSM. To many of Irish descent, it is not ok, it is shameful that that is being seen as representative of Irish-American attitudes. The parallels between the discrimination JFK faced as a Catholic in 1960 and Obama faces now as an African-American are striking and the sense that the Irish are on the other side of the divide this time is particularly disappointing to me, as an Obama supporter.

The endorsement has already received attention in Ireland, a country which, along with the rest of Europe, is very enthusiastic about the future President Obama. Ireland is a very different place today than it was when the ancestors of many of those who now calls themselves Irish-Americans sought a better life across the Atlantic, it is now a central player in EU multi-culturalism and the foremost software developer in the EU.  

In fact, Ireland is on the Obama-train and they're already claiming him as one of their own, hopefully in time the Irish in America will follow suit:

I predict that when President Barack Obama makes his first trip to Ireland he will be greeted by a crowd of much more than 100,000.  

Originally posted to ahania on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This dairy does not take proper note of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, notquitedelilah

    endorsement of Sen. Hillary Clinton by the Irish-American Democrats, who did so very early on in the race....

    •  Well, I don't discuss (6+ / 0-)

      Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Obama either.

      I was discussing the reaction among Irish-Americans of the MSM's pigeon-holing of their votes as racist. I also state that there are reasons other than prejudice that account for Clinton's high percentage of their votes so I'm not sure what exactly you're taking issue with. This is a diary about a specific endorsement of Obama by a group of culturally significant Irish-Americans.

      •  But you do use terms as interchangeable (0+ / 0-)

        when they are not: white working class, Irish-A mericans, and Catholics are not interchangeable demographics. Clarity requires not just that it is possible to be understood, but impossible to be misunderstood. See Strunk & White.
          I take issue, clearly, with lopsided coverage.
          If you want to focus on an Irish-American issue, how about questioning both candidates on how they plan to withdraw from Iraq? It is public knowledge that having US troops land in Shannon Airport in Ireland violates the Republic of Ireland's neutrality. Neither candidate, so far as I can tell, has included such a pledge in their "plans for withdrawal." That's an Irish=American issue. Racism is an issue that runs deeper in other communities as well.
          No bowl of shamrocks from this peann.

        •  Jaysus. (0+ / 0-)

          You seem to be very angry about that so why don't you write that diary.

          As I said, this is a diary about a single issue raised in an endorsement of Obama. In that endorsement the Irish-American writers and artists made the point that terms like 'working-class' was being conflated with Irish-American BY THE MEDIA so that's what I talked about. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

          •  Nothin personal ... but (0+ / 0-)

            raCISM isn't just an Irish-American issue ... that's an American issue. Do you need to be reminded that the race of people persecuting the Irish Catholics is of the same color? Pointing out the inconsistencies in your argument indicates the path where correction lies ... If one refuses to refine the argument, then one can hardly claim to even be a writer ....

    •  Um..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notquitedelilah, FORUS50

      ...excuse me....when did we elect diary police and where is the policy of what is required to be included or not?

      go write your own diary.

      So much time and so little to do...wait, stop, reverse that.---Willy Wonka

      by bluestateonian on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:30:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice diary (10+ / 0-)

    It's good that people are fighting back against the media's pigeonholing and stereotyping of the American people.

    If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind- J.Garcia/R.Hunter

    by beltane on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:17:03 AM PDT

  •  great video (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thanks for posting!

  •  I see Barack having a helluva good time (0+ / 0-)

    on his first visit to Ireland. We might not get him back! :)

    I'm from Illinois but I want to be insignificant like everybody else.

    by FORUS50 on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:37:51 AM PDT

    •  another Irish American (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FORUS50 I guess Obama and I have an affinity...

      I live in Texas so now I am watching from the sidelines...if St. Patrick can drive the snakes from Ireland, I am praying that one snake (HRC) can be driven from a somewhat larger Emerald Isle

      (well, Atlantic, Pacific, St Lawrence Seaway, and the Rio's almost an Isle...)

  •  fired up and ready to go eom (0+ / 0-)
  •  I was in Galway last year and I happened to (0+ / 0-)

    find in the Irish Times, an article saying that Obama had ancestors in Ireland. I don't recall the details but I wouldn't mind this appearing in the media at some point.

    It's true Ireland is behind Obama as the rest of Europe is. By the way has anybody noticed that in the Pope's homily in DC he said:

    Americans have always been a people of hope: your ancestors came to this country with the expectation of finding new freedom and opportunity, while the vastness of the unexplored wilderness inspired in them the hope of being able to start completely anew, building a new nation on new foundations. To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves. Yet hope, hope for the future, is very much a part of the American character. And the Christian virtue of hope — the hope poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the hope which supernaturally purifies and corrects our aspirations by focusing them on the Lord and his saving plan — that hope has also marked, and continues to mark, the life of the Catholic community in this country.

    Does this ring a bell?

    Help defend Reverend Jeremiah Wright!

    by Fairy Tale on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:57:07 AM PDT

  •  Up the Irish (0+ / 0-)

    From a person who is an Irish citizen I an really proud that you have posted this dairy. As you can see Ireland now is a multi-cultural country and any racist political movement there has fallen flat on it's face.With the luck of the Irish O'Bama will win the race to the white house. Horse racing is massive in Ireland and I believe the bookmakers have O'Bama as the odds on favorite.

  •  Well of course they suport O'Bama. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

    by drbloodaxe on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:35:06 AM PDT

  •  As an Irish American I am a proud owner (0+ / 0-)

    of my "O'Bama" t-shirt :-)

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