Egan’s Diatribe Is Not Surprising
THE bullying tone of former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Richard Egan’s letter to Irish America editor Patricia Harty says a lot about where the former envoy is coming from. (See news story page six).
A very successful businessman, Egan was a huge President Bush backer right from the start and was rewarded with the plum of ambassador to Ireland. He had not exactly been known as a major Irish figure in the community up to that point.
He did not do particularly well in that job and always seemed to have a foot out the door, ready to return to America. Some critics described him as “invisible.” He recently stated that his second year in Dublin was “very, very boring.”
Now he is back in the U.S. and in full campaign mode for the Bush team. He is one of the largest donors, and has also supported Ralph Nader in key states where the independent candidate is trying to get on the ballot.
In addition, Egan bankrolled a critical film that his son made about John Kerry and had it showcased during the Democratic convention in Boston.
Clearly his love and devotion to Bush knows no bounds, as his latest letter certainly indicates. The fact that he was completely wrong about the contents of the article, which consisted of Kerry’s own statement side by side with Bush’s take on Northern Ireland, is somewhat surprising. You would think such a successful man would at least check the facts before committing his angry thoughts to paper.
No doubt, Egan will seek another sinecure if Bush wins, and is prepared to do everything he can to ensure that happens. However, his efforts to bully Irish America magazine do not reflect any credit on him whatsoever.
Lauder in Trouble
ANOTHER highly successful businessman, Ronald Lauder, must be wondering what hit him when he agreed to host a fundraiser in New York for David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
The letter Lauder circulated mentioned that Trimble’s party received support from both Protestant and Catholics, a blatant untruth. The organization that would benefit from the event, the Ulster Unionist Council, is notoriously rife with Orange bigots, many of whom opposed Trimble’s efforts to win acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement. The letter incensed many Irish American leaders who wondered what on earth Lauder was doing in the middle of this issue.
While he ran for New York City mayor once and had met Irish American leaders at that time, Lauder had been invisible on the issue until this surprising development.
Leading Irish Americans have put immense pressure on Lauder, not through their own phone calls, but merely by soliciting influential Jewish figures to make the calls to the perfume magnate. It will probably be a long time before Lauder agrees to host such a fundraiser again.
Kerry’s Troubles With Catholics
INSIDERS say that the Kerry campaign has become particularly concerned with the situation in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where they believe Irish Catholic support for their candidate is at a low ebb.
As we have written before, the key element in those two swing states is the white ethnic Catholic vote which split evenly last time, and which every Democrat has to get at least an equal share of to win the two states.
But it appears that the Swift Boat ads in particular have started to strike home at Kerry, and the question of his truthfulness has been damaging him among Catholic voters.
Incredible as it may seem, the 2004 election could come down to that narrow sliver of Catholic voters in those two states. If Kerry cannot hold Pennsylvania then his race is run. Equally, if Bush loses Ohio he will be in deep trouble.
Kerry’s Orange Glow
SPEAKING of Orange, more than a few Irish American Democrats were in despair after John Kerry showed up on television screens across the nation on Monday with a fake tan which made him look like a setting sun.
The question being asked is what on earth advisors to the candidate think they are doing, having him windsurfing, wearing fake tans and generally acting like a privileged rich kid? Except it may not be the advisors, but rather Kerry himself who is making these decisions. Now that is a truly scary scenario.
Bush Favorite With Bookies
IF you want to know what Irish bookmakers are making of the presidential race then just go to PaddyPower.com, the largest betting site there.
Paddy Power has President Bush at 2/5 to win and John Kerry at 7/4. That means you place $5 to win $2 on Bush and $4 to win $7 with Kerry. Seems like they believe it will be Bush in a landslide.
Meanwhile, Power also has the odds for the 2008 race for the Republican nomination. Senator Bill Frist is favorite at 5/2 while Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain are next at 7/2. George Pataki is a 9/2 shot.