Wednesday, October 17, 2012
IRISH PREFER OBAMA OVER ROMNEY-RYAN
By Conor Humphries, GRAIGUENAMANAGH, Ireland, Oct 16 (Reuters) -
In the land of his ancestors, Paul Ryan's Irish charm is failing him
Despite his name, Roman Catholic faith and immigrant-made-good family history, the Irish half of the Republican ticket is failing to win the allegiance of the old country from Barack Obama, a skilled hand at playing the Irish card.
Obama struck public relations gold last year by sharing a Guinness with a distant cousin in the village of Moneygall after an amateur genealogist traced his ancestors there. Pictures of cheering Irish crowds were beamed across the United States.
But 100 kilometers (60 miles) down the road, Ryan's ancestral hometown is feeling the cold shoulder and like Ireland as a whole, most of the locals are rooting for his Democratic presidential rivals.
"He doesn't have the charisma, he hasn't connected with the people," said Pat Nolan as he strolled passed the 13th century stone church in the village of Graiguenamanagh where Ryan's great-great grandparents were married.
Despite the Ryan connection, few locals are hoping for a Republican victory across the ocean.
"It would give a boost to a nice small town like this, but I would forgo it. I wouldn't want to inflict him on the American people," said Margaret, a 64-year-old cashier, upset by Ryan's plans to cut welfare and Medicare health cover for the elderly. She withheld her family name to avoid angering her employer.
A straw poll of 20 people on a recent afternoon found 12 Obama supporters and none for Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney.
Ninety-six percent of people in Ireland who have decided would back Obama and Irish Catholic running mate Joe Biden if they had a vote, according to a September poll of 1,000 people by Gallup International.
"He's too far right-wing for this part of the world," said Martin Brett, the former mayor of the county's capital Kilkenny, who hosted Ryan's uncle when he came to trace his roots in the region a few years ago.
The Wisconsin congressman has not endeared himself to his kin by holding their country up as a cautionary tale of bad practice.
Ryan's web site refers to Ireland 11 times, eight as an example of the economic doom facing the United States if it doesn't address its budget deficit and three as a rival to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven threatening American jobs.
When Ryan told a crowd in his home state how his great grandfather had fled the Irish potato famine with just the shirt on his back, the crowd lapped it up.
But an Irish historian of the famine, John Kelly, rebuked him days later for espousing a laissez faire economic philosophy he said was strikingly similar to that of British policymakers whom many in Ireland blame for the deaths of millions.
Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/paul-ryan-ireland_n_1969520.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012
Posted by Kurt at 3:13 PM