Watching the American Presidential election process is a depressing experience. Not least because of the Money involved.
One of the fault lines in American politics is the relationship between People and Government. The Americans seem obsessed with Tyrrany …not least their own potential to be tyrants. It strikes me as a very pessimistic view of their nation…and themselves. American citizens ARE the Nation.
So Bernie Sanders may or may not have a hard time persuading Democrats that Government is actually a good thing which can bring benefits…Education, Health Care, Jobs etc. Even if he persuades enough Democrats to put him on the ballot paper in November, he is unlikely to persuade enough Americans to put him in the White House.
Hillary Clinton takes a more nuanced approach. She is the political savvy. She can do Democratic rhetoric. But she is bought and paid for by the special interests.
The debate is mirrored on the Republican side. Donald Trump can ramp up the rhetoric about migrants, guns, foreign policy and he might persuade enough Republicans to put him on the ticket but ultimately the Republican establishment will be hoping Mario Rubio…talking rhetoric but politically savvy will be on the ticket.
Put simply…a mainstream Republican will beat Sanders and a mainstream Democrat will beat Trump.
The nightmare chaotic option (for the American establishment) is that Sanders and Trump are Presidential rivals. The “safe option” for Stability is more of the same…Clinton versus Rubio.
Deep down in 1776, Americans did not rise up against British Government Tyranny …they rose up againsr what they saw as the Tyranny of Government itself. The devotion of some to the original clauses in the Constitution means they have not fully moved with the notions of Democracy that are held in Western Europe.
How is it that anti-Government militia menin Oregon can be described as “good patriots”. Seemingly opposition to Government is a “patriotic” act.
But is it any different in Ireland where a man convicted of tax evasion is described by Gerry Adams as a “good republican”. The phrase should be enough to ensure that the style of Sinn Féin personified by Adams will only make limited breakthru in the General Election later this month. It will resonate with Republicans but cant play well in the mainstream. And of course Sinn Féin cannot talk about tax increases while seemingly condoning evasion.
To some extent, I have a (very limited) tolerance of Gerry Adams position. The suggestion is that Slab Murphy was a useful ally to Adams and the “doves” in Sinn Féin in the years around 1998 and that he was instrumental in winning over “hawks” to the Adams side. That may well be true but hardly a reason to give him a free pass on the country’s….(the Republics!!) tax laws.
Mary Lou McDonald tries a different tack. Slab is a “typical country man”. The suggestion is that farmers and the like are abit careful with their pennies…and not averse to doing everything “cash in hand”. Whether all countrymen would agree with this stereotype is one thing …and equating Slab with lovable rogue Dinny Byrne in Glenroe is another…..but I dont think typical countrymen have plastic bags containing hundreds of thousands worth of cash in their cowsheds.
A third tactic seems to be to claim Slab was convicted in a non-jury trial. But as solicitors defending dodgy bankers often point out the evidence in complex cases are often too complex for the somple monds of the general public.
Which brings up the question of whether Irish bankers are good citizens of the Republic. Whatever happened all those 1980s bank managers in rural Ireland and suburban Dublin, who persuaded typical country men and Dublin business men to open accounts in Newry and Derry? Did any go to jail? Are they “bad republicans” as well as “bad citizens”. And those Dublin bankers who were sent down at the end of last year….has anyone said they were “good bankers”?
It seems to be that the evidence of public inquiries into banking practices in USA, Ireland and Britain has produced enough evidence to suggrst that a lot of people should be in jail…and yet curiously, the numbers of convicted bankers in prison systems seem small. Why?
And there are reports that celebrities and others avail of aggressive tax avoidance schemes. But for those who broke the law like Lester Piggott, can we justify it on the basis of “he is a good jockey”.
Would Gerry Adams sayits “Liam Lawlor was a good politician?” Or would Mary Lou prefer us to say “Liam Lawlor was a typical politician?”
I have read about these in newspapers….reported by journalists and yet the evidence heard at the Leveson Inquiry suggests that phone-hacking was rather more widespread than subsequent convictions suggest. Would any hack say “Andy Coulson was a good journalist?”
Sinn Féin are of course hypocrites…it is their most endearing quality. Who else would rightly campaign to save one side of Moore Street, Dublin and not campaign against the selling of dodgy tobacco on the other side of the street. Is Moore Street in Mary Lous constituency? I am surprised she has not noticed. Maybe she would call the vendors “typical Dubliners”.