Wilkie Collins said that the way to grip an audience was to “Make ’em laugh; make ’em cry; make ’em wait”, and nobody does it better. I was impressed. But I have to say also that I think there was something deeply fraudulent about the whole operation. Not so much in his implied claim to be the kind of Irish American that the Irish voter back home identifies with. The real implied claim was that his values were Irish values. And his real values, quite simply, are such that if at College Green he had spelled them out in any detail, that adoring crowd would have become at first embarrassed, and then hostile. It may be that support for the Catholic Church in Ireland is not, given its recent history, what it was (though Mass attendance is still among the highest in Europe). But Catholic values and beliefs are another thing entirely. And those values and beliefs are very far from being Obama’s. As I have written before in this space,
“… across the whole spectrum of contemporary moral issues, he is passionately committed to a series of views which run directly contrary to those of the Church. All this has caused at least one Catholic bishop (there are probably others) to call him anti-Catholic.
“As a Senator, he supported sex education, to be provided by Planned Parenthood, to children of five years old. He consistently voted for abortion, including partial birth abortion. He voted (twice) against Bills prohibiting public funding of abortions; he voted in favour of expanding embryonic stem cell research; he voted against notifying parents of minors who had undergone out-of-state abortions; he voted for a proposal to vote $100,000,000 for the funding of sex-education and contraceptives (including abortifacients) for teenagers; he opposed the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act” on the Senate floor and in 2003 killed the bill in committee. This would have outlawed “live birth abortion,” where labor is induced and an infant is delivered prematurely and then allowed to die.”
The fact is that Irish America (whether individuals are orthodox and practising or not) is the heartland of the pro-life movement. And to see that Irish crowd in College Green gripped, held in the palm of Obama’s hand by his formidable oratorical powers so that Irish voters back home could observe his triumph was a spectacle that made me feel distinctly queasy. It was nothing less than blatant electioneering, and I hope that Catholic voters see through it.
My hope is that Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Secularist and every kind of voter see Obama as someone who’s been committed to blatant electioneering since he was elected… and that they’ll promptly boot his butt out of office come 2012.