SOME WEE BITS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY
There are a lot of ways you could describe President Biden’s political style, but a neglected one is “Irish.” You could say that the Kennedys or Tip O’Neill or Kevin White were “Boston” politicians, but what about Richard Daley, Al Smith, and Mike Mansfield? Politics is high art among Irish Americans, particularly the Roman Catholic side of the family. Often denied the chance to participate politically in their native land, Irish immigrants of the 19th century and early 20th century organized with real enthusiasm and swiftly changed American politics from the city ward to the White House. And that’s not even touching on the Protestant side and leaders like Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson.
Whatever your own heritage, if you’re fascinated by American politics, you owe a debt to Ireland. No single ethnic group has contributed more than Irish Americans to the practice of the profession. It is a fine day, then, for some newsy nuggets that will be easily digestible along with whatever you’re toasting with today. Céad míle fáilte!
Friend trend: I’ve got my beefs with YouGov’s polling for sure, but even a bad poll is useful if it’s conducted consistently. Like this from the New York Times: “In recent years, American attitudes toward Ukraine have shifted more than toward any other country. When the poll tested U.S. attitudes on Ukraine in September 2019, 36 percent of registered voters were not sure whether Ukraine was friendly or unfriendly. That’s a higher share than for nearly any of the other thousands of instances when YouGov asked voters what they thought about a country over the last five years. Only 41 percent called the nation friendly or an ally. Now, only 10 percent aren’t sure whether Ukraine is friendly, a lower tally than for almost any other country. Nearly 70 percent of Americans now consider Russia an enemy, more than for any other country in the survey, including North Korea and Iran.” And that was before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Congress.