Okay, who knew? Even though the POTUS is, more often than not, referred to as a black man we often forget he’s bi-racial. Even he identifies more with African American society and culture despite having been raised by his Caucasian mother and grandparents. Well, with all the international fanfare that took place during Obama’s presidential campaign, it prompted some folks from across the pond to do some genealogical research … on his mother’s side, of course.
Obama didn’t even know about this genealogical thread until he ran for president, when others did the research and determined that his great-great-great grandfather was a shoemaker who hailed from Moneygall.
That is information, Obama has joked, that he could have used earlier in his political career.
“When I was a relatively unknown candidate for office, I didn’t know about this part of my heritage, which would have been very helpful in Chicago,” Obama said in 2009 at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Capitol, as the crowd roared in approval. “So I thought I was bluffing when I put the apostrophe after the O. I tried to explain that ‘Barack’ was an ancient Celtic name.”
But there’s a deeper purpose behind this visit to the land of the lucky! Can you guess what it might be? How about to win over some of the white vote by way of “common heritage.”
The spotlight on his Irish roots will still come in handy, particularly after a midterm election in which white voters not only swung heavily toward Republicans but also expressed disappointment with Obama’s performance, according national exit polls.
Of course, a fleeting image of the president standing alongside his eighth cousin on his mother’s side and other fawning Irish brethren won’t lock down the votes of an electorate that cares far more about Obama’s record on, say, the economy. Not by a long shot.
But, it won’t hurt, either, and it could make him appear more accessible to a demographic that remains skeptical of him.
“It’s not going to win him the election,” said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), an Irish American. “But it will firm up some support, and tone down some of the opposition. The Irish people are great for photo ops because they will be in good spirits. They will be yelling and carrying on.”
“Democrats have been losing the Irish American vote over the last 30 years, from Reagan until now,” King said. “It is a vote that Democrats can no longer take for granted.”
At the very least, King added, Obama’s bonding with the Irish “will be good footage.”
We are in full support of whatever it takes to secure Obama’s re-election and good thing he’s taking the “no vote is promised approached” because anything can happen in November of next year. May the best man (or woman) win!