Expect ‘O’Biden’s Bistro and Pub’ and ‘Folksy Joe’s Café’ to open soon in Mayo and Louth, with both Irish counties vying for the ultimate prize as the US President-Elect’s favourite ancestral home.
But don’t expect an end to the disputed US elections any time soon – at least, that’s what my favorite American TV news channel, CNN, is telling me.
I’ve never been one for daytime television, but I have to admit, I’ve been pretty much glued to the box over the last week. One of the reasons has been a heightened sense of professional responsibility. My local radio station, Highland, here in northwestern Ireland, asked me to offer my insights into what is happening across the Pond so I needed to stock up on info for my 15-minute stints with friendly host Greg Hughes.
Here’s my latest thoughts on Monday morning’s show –
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. If my sense of professional responsibility is so keen, why didn’t I watch Fox News? Suffice it to say, while I may not be the most upright of citizens, hardly the salt of the earth type (though my dearest wife might disagree, I hope), I do have some shreds of dignity left, even when no-one’s looking. And CNN is so colourful, dynamic and ‘with it.’ In culinary terms, it makes our paltry Irish national TV channel, RTE, seem as flouncy as a flat soufflé, with presenters this side of the Atlantic, like Miriam O’Callaghan, paid twice as much as their more talented counterparts across the Atlantic.
Anyway, simply put, Donald Trump doesn’t like losing, indeed is a pretty sore loser, and he won’t stop until he’s scoured every avenue to turn last week’s election result on its head, including a slew of lawsuits. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a re-run of the controversial saga of ‘Bush V Gore’ twenty years ago.
Reminds me of one of the many election jokes I’ve been sent. No, not the one – what does the end of World War Two and end of the US elections have in common? Both ended with Fascists in a bunker.
The one I mean is the one below.
While Trump won’t win back the White House, (he needs to roll back tens of thousands of votes in several different states to do so), his misguided efforts are rousing the ire of Republican voters – no doubt part of his political strategy ahead of the two all-important Senate run-off elections in Georgia on January 5.
Whichever party wins those key seats will shape the future of the US and to a certain extent the EU and Ireland. If Democrats win, the party will control all three power centres – White House, House of Representatives and Senate – and can pass legislation easily, including strengthening environmental protection measures and Obamacare, as well as re-joining organisations such as the World Health Organisation. Not to mention dealing with the frightening spectre of racism in the US.
If Republicans win, they’ll embark on a strategic policy of obstructionism that will frustrate President-Elect Joe Biden, just as it did Barack Obama for the last six years of his two-term presidency.
While Biden has called for “unity and an end to partisanship and demonization,” his calls have gone unheeded. Backed by Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate majority leader, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and Bill Barr, Attorney General, who told the Justice Department to investigate alleged voting fraud, partisanship has reared its ugly head even higher.
Biden nor his staff can even access their new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue nor highly-classified intelligence documents that normally losing presidents hand over as part of a smooth transition. The General Administration Agency just won’t hand over the keys.
This leaves the US in a state of semi-paralysis.
With no peaceful transition of power for the foreseeable future, the consequences are enormous. Failure to recognise the result of the Presidential election stops, or at the very least, slows down all legislative action. This bodes badly for the US as the country grapples with over 100,000 new coronavirus cases every day, 10 million cases already with a quarter of a million dead, and a struggling economy.
But there’s worse to come. A Trump lame duck firing spree has begun with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper the first to see the back door. Rumor has it the CIA and FBI directors are next. Trump has 60 days or so to install ‘yes’ people, to help him in his ludicrous mission to overturn the election. This will destabilize the country.
I’m sure Vladimir Putin is saying a decade of the Rosary in gratitude, rubbing his hands with glee. Or, more likely, checking the progress of his Internet hackers.
But there is some good news for Ireland. One of the reasons, I’m hoisting my favorite cocktail here.
As Joe Biden’s ancestors are from here, he will favor us not just with a visit or two but he’ll help protect the Good Friday Peace Agreement and use Ireland as a conduit to Brussels, with obvious political benefits, not to mention strong prestige.
An added bonus for Donegal, a pristine place from where I write this, is that Philadelphia Congressman Brendan Boyle, whose father, Frank, emigrated from Glencolmcille, less than an hour from my house, could be promoted as advisor to Biden’s White House.
And, of course, there’s always the new O’Biden pubs, clubs and cafes in Mayo and Louth to look forward to – when that pesky coronavirus goes away and allows us, that is.