Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thoughts of Chris Matthews in Donegal


I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award in Buncrana, Co Donegal on 23 September 2016. The award, which was the 5th award so far, was given to Chris Matthews. Matthews is an American political commentator and most well known for his talk show “Hardball” on MSNBC. He also served as Press Secretary to Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill. At the event Matthews took to the opportunity to reflect on the current political situation in the US. He felt what was going on right now was “crazy”. There is a tension between Trump’s “nasty politics” and Trump selling people an unrealisable dream of “manufacturing in 1950s”, compared to Hilary Clinton as an experienced politician but being painted as “the establishment”. He also noted that when he worked with Tip O’Neill he focused on letting people “know who you are” and in O’Neill’s case that meant people could support him as his values were made more prominent. Matthews also reflected on O’Neill’s political style noting that he understood that debate was a way of moving politics forward, and that today people have forgotten this thinking debate is politics. When the debate is done compromises have to be made and the work done Matthews noted. He ended by saying that his “crystal ball is a bit foggy” about who would win the US election, but if African Americans, Hispanics and women vote, Trump will lose. But we will have to wait and see...