Rum, Romanism and Rebellion: Entrepreneurs, capitalism are the Irish Catholics of 1884.
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By dusk of the day the Warren video was viraling, every alert Republican campaign manager in the country was surely rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of television commercials slowly morphing the image of their opponents into Elizabeth Warren, the pro-Marxist professor who advised Obama.
Warren’s rant is now the 21st century equivalent of the Reverend Samuel Burchard’s diatribe, differing only by substituting working, middle-class entrepreneurial Americans for Irish Catholics. Where Burchard depicted Irish Catholics as drunks, Warren portrays working Americans in the private sector as greedy. Where Burchard slurred Catholicism itself as “Romanism” — a common anti-Catholic slur of the day — Warren slurs the American free enterprise system and entrepreneurship itself with the caustic line: “You built a factory out there? Good for you…God bless…..”
If Americans of the 21st century passionately view themselves as hard working creators of businesses and the jobs that come with those businesses, so too did the Irish Catholics of 1884 have a strikingly similar view of themselves. Why?
What proved so explosively insulting to Irish Catholics in 1884, of course, was that as newly arrived immigrants over the last several decades it was they who had done the hard work in garment factories and as manual laborers. It was they who helped make America run — as cooks, as waiters, as maids or servants for the wealthy. It was they who had helped build New York’s revolutionary Erie Canal and later the Transcontinental Railroad. Irish Catholic immigrants to America had, by 1884, spent decades busy every day and night at the gritty, grimy and yes, sometimes humiliating work of climbing the American ladder of opportunity.
And in return, at the close of a boisterous presidential campaign fought over economics and civil service reform, out of the blue a locally prominent supporter — a man of the cloth no less — of the Republican nominee Blaine had haughtily and disdainfully depicted them as drunks. As servile followers of a demon faith who were allied with rebellious, racist, anti-Union slave owners.
In both impact and attitude anticipating Elizabeth Warren by over a 125 years.
Today, in the world of Elizabeth Warren, those Irish Catholic voters have become Tea Party supporters or just plain and simple hard-working Americans of the middle class. In particular, millions are small business men and women struggling in a hostile business climate to create jobs — a hostile climate engineered precisely by Warren and her Obama Administration colleagues And it is surely one of history’s more delicious ironies that in fact it is exactly the Tea Party members who have been assailed with all manner of slurs (racists, Nazis, greedy, etc., etc.) in precisely the fashion of Irish Catholics in 1884.
The albatross, once seen as a sign of good luck when following a ship, was transformed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Transformed into a curse not simply for the unfortunate sailor who shot the bird with a crossbow and arrow and is forced to wear the dead bird hung about his neck, but eventually all the sailor’s shipmates as well.
The albatross has long since become a staple of American politics. It can be anything from a scandal that drags down others with its powerful political curse (think, say, Watergate). Or simply one inept politician — a Jimmy Carter whose unpopularity is so huge the curse drowns his elected party leaders at the polls.
Professor Elizabeth Warren, in the same clueless fashion of the Reverend Samuel Burchard, has now bid fair to become to Barack Obama what Burchard was to James G. Blaine.
A political albatross slung around the neck of every Democrat running for office in 2012.
And don’t think a thousand GOP operatives out there don’t know it.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?