Notes on the Irish in America: A review of Far and Away

Lately, I've developed an interest in the Irish in America. I've developed a new awareness of them as a kicked-around ethnic group.

How long have the Irish been in America? Since the famous Irish navigator monk St. Brendan in 500 A.D.? The Celts, B.C.? One set of archaeological data suggests the Celts were here in 400 B.C., possibly earlier.(See, for example: here and here. How old are, and what was the purpose of, the ancient stone structures found in northern New England by the early colonists? Celtic fisherpeople may have resided in New England as early as some Pacific Coast South American Indians landed in Peru. (See World Almanac Timeline referred to in the Bibliography.)(The archaeological work on the ancient American Celts is most famously represented by the late Professor Barry Fell of Harvard in his book America BC. NY: 1977. In more recent years, Fell was vigorously attacked by academics in various disciplines, but a hearty, scholarly defense has been mounted, as shown here.

Since at least the 1840s, there was a pattern of discrimination against the Irish, who were initially exploited by the owners and overseers of slaves. The slaveowners tried to spare their slaves from labor dangerous to their to lives or limbs, preferring to have the Irish do this work. The Irish weren't enslaveable and therefore weren't resellable. So if arms or legs or eyes were lost, better it was an Irishman than a slave

Subsequently, the Irish were actually ghetto-ized for several more generations, their growing numbers confined to largely minority communities separate from the mainstream communities. The Irish couldn't intermarry with groups more culturally established in America. They couldn't work for just anyone, either.

This treatment continued through the First World War. Only with the Presidential campaign of Al Smith in 1928 did the concept of a Catholic president--a key element to much, though not all, of the Irish community's being accepted in Ameica--become a topic of polite discussion. Previous to this, such talk was virtually considered blasphemy by the predominant WASP community. The Irish--the Celts, whose ancestors may have walked these shores hundreds of years before Columbus or even the Vikings--(and see also Ancient AmericanMagazine online here for still more ongoing research on the Irish in America BC)--were among the last to be accepted in American society.

There was an interesting "first" to 1984 that almost escaped my notice: Ronald Reagan was the first Irishman to be re-elected President of the United States. He had been only the second Irishman to be elected president, after JFK. Leaving policy aside, it took us until 1984 to do that.

Reagan talked openly about his New Deal Democrat past and his pride in that; and he was the first GOP Presidential candidate to ever quote FDR--previously, and perhaps still, an almost blasphemous thing for a Republican presidential candidate to do.

When he spoke of taxes, too, it had a different ring than if just anyone had. The Irish often came to America, after all, to escape the harsh, confiscatory English taxes--among the most cruel and oppressive tax systems in the world, as the movie attests. The following were involved in its creation:

Far and Away

Imagine Films Enterprises

Ron Howard Film

Brian Glazier Production

Irish Producer: Seamus Quinn

Screenplay by Bob Dolman

Director: Ron Howard

Story by Bob Dolman and Ron Howard

Executive Producer: Tad Halloman

"Book of Days" music performed by Eirya

Lyrics by Roman Ryan

Additional music: The Chieftains, the Pan Flutes and the IJillean Pipes and Jerry O"Sullivan

Joseph...Tom Cruise

Nicole Kidman...Shannon Christie

Thomas Gibson....Steven

(Landlord) Christie...Robert Prosky

Nora (Mrs.) Christie...Barbara Babcock

Daddy Duff...Cyril Cusack

Bourke...Wayne Grace

Joe...Niall Toibin


The setting is Ireland in 1892. The camera pans a lot, showing the Irish coastline and skyline. Beautiful Irish pipe music accompanied by well-orchestrated symphonic music completes the scene, as it will throughout the film. An English-approved landlord is confiscating the property of "tenant" Irish. There is a demonstration in which Joe (Joseph's father) is fatally injured. He requests to be brought home to his sons. In a semi-humorous scene, he comes back from the dead, but only briefly--telling his son: "I came back from the dead...to tell you.. .that you are a very odd boy."

His son responds: "You came back from the dead to tell me I am a very odd boy?!" He then tells his son--with the special gleam, in his eye that is that "Irish Magic"--to hang on to the dream of having his own land someday. Then he dies, as the camera pans and floats us upward to the sky.

The next scene is the funeral procession, but it is interrupted by the English landlord's "men," led by Steven, who ride up on horseback and inform the Irish they will now seize the land for unpaid rent. They then proceed--in the middle of the funeral procession--to burn down the house of Joseph's father. This scene must inspire a kind of murderous rage in the viewer against these arrogant landholders.

Joseph then plots to kill the landlord, getting an ancient rifle from family friend, "Daddy Duff." The plot is not successful, with a number of things backfiring, including the gun. Joseph also finds it hard to kill the landlord, both because it is hard to get a "bead" on him, and because he speaks about not being free, not being in control of his situation; it becomes clear that "Steven" (Thomas Gibson) has burned Joseph's father's house without clearing it with Landlord Christie.

Cruise is knocked unconscious by the rifle as it backfires, and is taken into custody, apparently to be hanged. But he arranges a brief escape, (with difficulty due to his leg having been stabbed by a pitchfork wielded by Shannon Christie) and assaults Steven, who then challenges Joseph to a duel.

(This is one of two scenes that I find slightly less than plausible. I believe than an Irish commoner in this situation, even in 1892, would have been shot on the spot. There would have been no duel for "honor."

During Joseph's recovery and preparation for the duel, he and Shannon meet further, and he learns of her interest in living a "modern" life in America and her plans to run away.

The duel short circuits, due to fog, and in the delay in trying to cope with the fog, Shannon commandeers a wagon, rolling quickly into the line of fire, forcing Steven to hold his fire, while Joseph struggles aboard, in a scene based on a kind of "secret love at first sight."

The next scene finds them on a ship to America, with a continuing class struggle between Shannon and Joseph as she tries to cast him in the role of manservant and he rebels. Their problems begin almost immediately upon hitting land in America, as the man who was supposed to help Shannon find housing and plan her move west (to Oklahoma for the great Land Rush), turns out to be a thief who has stolen her only expensive possession: ancient silverware she has stolen from her mother. Without this, Shannon is just another poor girl in the street. Joseph is forced to rely on his fists for a livelihood, while Shannon gets a job in a chicken plant.

In order for Shannon to even survive their dealings with the Irish fighters and fight managers, Joseph has to lie and tell them she is his sister. He goes through many changes protecting her from being manhandled by the rough types who inhabit the pubs, taverns and "social clubs" he is forced to deal with. Her upper class background causes her to rebel at work, which causes her to fail to make a living at her job. She also generally dresses in a defiant, trouble-making way when she accompanies Joseph to the 1892 tough clubs to watch him fight.

There are repeated fight scenes--probably too many--and Cruise is able to make a little bit of money and impress his manager, Bourke, by winning several fights.

In what I think is the second unlikely scene, Shannon's wealthy parents have themselves been rendered poor by a fire set in their mansion by the rebellious local Irish tenants. Their home is utterly in ruins, and her father insists on coming to America, both to find their runaway daughter Shannon and to start a new life. Steven, who is after Shannon, comes too. Joseph is made aware of this in the next scene, but not Shannon.

Joseph becomes impatient and wants to freelance box. But the manager won't hear of it. He schedules him a fight, call the "fight to the finish" with the "Italian beast," a huge man.

During the fight, however, Bourke proceeds to make sexual moves against Shannon (who has encouraged Joseph to fight the "beast" because of the $200 award, after he originally had protested and refused to). Once Joseph sees Bourke coming on to Shannon, he throws whatever chance he had of winning the fight, not wishing to help Bourke succeed as a fight manager. He also tries to come at Bourke himself, but is prevented by the crowd, which throws him back into the ring with the Beast, who, partly because he catches him off guard, pummels him to defeat.

Bourke and the other managers then toss Joseph and Shannon out into the street and the scenes in this part of the film are perhaps the best and most moving in the film. They deal with banishment, with being in the street in ice and snow, with being unable to appeal to the better instincts in one's fellow humans because of prejudices against one's group. At one point, desperately cold and hungry in the face of the blizzard, they are told the only available employer "Doesn't hire Irish."

This brings up another interesting and ironic angle on Reagan, whose eighties, we may recall, were replete with these kinds of scenes: the homeless, unable to find shelter; the down and out in the street, in numbers not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. (See "Disenfranchisement: Pennsylvania, 1984" in the present book and on this Site.)

The two find brief shelter form the freezing cold by breaking into a big house. Their romantic dialogue her is the best and most beautiful in the movie, revealing all the sweetness of youth and the tender innocence of lost dreams. Then, in a mix of scenes which could almost be poetic and symbolic, a microcosm of where the Irish really stood in America at that time, they are caught by the homeowner and driven from their impossibly beautiful dreams of a better life in America.

In the process, Shannon is shot. Joseph carries her to her parents' house. He attempts to get the Christies' housekeeper to open the door to him, with Shannon in his arms. She slams the door in their faces, but Joseph's foot keeps the door open.

At that point, Steven again enters the picture, insisting on Joseph's leaving, while he cares for Shannon, whom we learn, to our relief, will live. In the self-sacrificing spirit of love, Joseph agrees to this arrangement.

Joseph then runs away, the next scene being in the Ozarks, (though it is actually filmed in Montana), where he works on a railroad crew. He initially declines to join the passing Land Rush wagons, but soon relents, joining the throng as they converge on a town in Oklahoma. While there, preparing fo rthe race, he is reunited briefly with Shannon, in a good scene reminiscent of Dr. Zhivago.

As a result of the new living arrangement, Shannon, who has never directly admitted to being in love with Joseph, is now "fixed up" with Steven. They plan to stake a claim for land and get married.

Therefore, Joseph decides to make a go for the land on his own. However, his original horse dies of old age, literally, so that he has to tame a semi-wild one to participate in the Land Rush, which begins shortly.

Zero hour for the Oklahoma Land Rush: one man tries to "jump the gun" and ride ahead before the artillery signals the official beginning of the race: he is shot down by the U.S. cavalry.

Then the race begins. Wild melee scene after wild melee scene takes place. (The movie gets bogged down a bit in this kinds of scenes, as well as a lot of jabber at the pubs, which slows down the action, though it does lend an air of realism to the background effects.)

In a comic scene after the race has started, Joseph tries to tame his wild horse by slugging it in the face with his fists. this apparently is supposed to work in some way, because now the horse races ahead at breakneck pace--being still semi-wild--outracing the other horses and soon allowing Joseph to catch up with Shannon and Steven.

Then (after several more scenes of melee and people engaged in staking various claims in the midst of the rush), Steven comes to the place that he and Shannon's father have secretly, illegally previewed, for Steven and Shannon to stake their claim: a beautiful area around a small river, with greenery all around.

As the three converge on the Magic place they all wish to claim, Joseph is forced to confront Steven yet again, in helping Shannon out of the river after she falls off her horse. She then tells Steven to go on, that she has decided to stay with Joseph. Then they proceed to the claim site, where another confrontation takes place in which Steven's horse falls on Joseph.

At this point, the producer, directer and writers produce one of the best "bluff" scenes I've ever seen in a movie: for several minutes, it appears that Joseph is dying. Cruise is quite effective in conveying this image and tragedy is all in the air, as well as almost impossibly beautiful Irish pipe music, delicately interwoven with perfect orchestral background.

Nicole Kidman is plaintive and heartbreaking at this point as a grieving Shannon and the camera pans very effectively, rising high just as it had when Joseph's father died.

"I love you. I loved you from the first time I saw you!" Shannon tearfully shouts as she sees Joseph appear to die.

(I'd like to enter a personal comment her about Nicole Kidman: my niece, my late brother's daughter, bears an uncanny resemblance to her. So when she cried, the initial impact of her grieving face was probably more painful for me than it would have been for most viewers. Instead of thinking about the character, I kept thinking about my look-alike niece: I wondered how much she must miss her father, my brother. This was distracting to me, I confess.)

At this point, the Magic of Joseph's father reappears: Joseph comes back to life, having been faking his death in order to determine whether Shannon really loves him. The viewer is very happy for (my "niece") Shannon, that Steven is not dead.

So the movie, after a lot of emotional ups and downs, has a more or less happy ending. Shannon and Joseph are together in love, they have found their dream of land in America, and even Shannon's parents have staked a new claim here. Certainly, it was good to see an Irishman get a happy ending.

Some points in US political history parallel this: JFK's "squeaker" victory in 1960, RFK's shorter-lived one in the 1968 Democratic primaries; and, on a more purely intellectual plane, Reagan's re-election victory in 1984.

Reagan won re-election in a low turnout election in 1984: the third lowest in history. Democrats pointed out that at no time did Reagan draw more than 25% of the vote of America's registered voters. However, in reflecting back on JFK's 1960 squeaker, truths come out of the 1984 election statistics (as they appeared in the World Almanac for 1987), that are realities about the Irish in America:

Massachussetts:

Reagan 1,310,036

Mondale 1,239,606

New York:

Reagan 3,664,763

Mondale 3,119,609

Bergland 11,949 (Libertarian)

Rhode Island:

Reagan 212, 080

Mondale 197,106

Bergland 277

Reagan's victories in these states were not the result of the "standard" explanation for the outcome of the 1984 election: America's "turn to the right." Election history shows that these states were not influenced by this pattern. What is unique to these states is a heavily-Irish population, and it was this--the descendants, friends and relatives of Joseph and Shannon--that put Ronald Reagan, the Irishman, over in those states.

Certainly, the potential seemed to be there that, because of his experience of discrimination firsthand, (he was born in the time frame of the movie), Reagan might be able to modify those of his positions that would have made life more difficult for those who could identify with his background. During his first term, he had, for example, changed his position on allowing an increase in the federal deficit, making the GOP's position on that issue more nearly resemble that of FDR in the 1940s: necessity must rule.

But it wasn't only in those states where the 1984 election results may have reflected subtler realities about America's social structures. There were other states that reflected this, as well.

It is interesting, in gauging the real political popularity of Ronald Reagan, to refer to some research notes I took on Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's death in Washington state. Jackson died on 9/1/83. According to Time for 9/12/83:

The cause of death was a heart attack. Jackson had been recovering from a chest cold for the previous week to two weeks. He had just returned home from a meeting pertaining to the Korean Airliner that was shot down by the Soviets. He represented the manufacturer of that airliner, which had been shot down over Korea. He had returned from Seattle by driving, got home and had a heart attack a few hours later.

Jackson had no heart history, had never smoked, was fit and industrious. He was born in 1912 and was 71 years old at the time of his heart attack at home. H'ed driven home from Seattle after he returned from the trip to China and Korea a week to two weeks previously, during which he'd caught a chest cold from which he was thought recovered. The Democratic Senator from Washington state had chaired the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (James Schlesinger, R., had been Carter's Energy Secretary).

He had been re-elected in 11/82, died 9/1/83. Moderate to liberal Republican Daniel J. Evans was appointed to fill his seat until the Special Election of 11/8/83, in which Evans badly defeated liberal Democrat Mike Lowry to hold the seat for the remainder of Jackson's term--to 11/88.

In 1988, Evans lost the GOP Senate nomination to Slate Gorton in the GOP primary. Gorton then went on to beat Lowry in the Senate race again., but this time the race was closer. (This information I discovered in the World Almanac for 1989 under its "Elections" section.) Evans had been a moderate to liberal Governor of Washington, supporting Ford over Reagan and was opposed by the Reaganites in the primaries. His "distance" from Reagan in 1983 may have helped the GOP in that '83 race, since Reagan was down badly in the polls at that point.

Once I became aware of this information, I even explored the possibility of challenging the World Almanac and other possible historical sources, to consider re-listing Evans as an "Independent" rather than a Republican. This might even have been feasible, due to an interesting Washington state law and some bizarre circumstances in my personal life at that point in time.

According to Washington state's election law, there is a 30-day residency requirement for new Washington state voters. I was terminated from my job at Herrmann Hospital on 10/23/83. Although the time period from 10/23 to 11/8/83 was not 30 days, it is also true that I hadn't legally met Texas state's residency requirements since March 1982. That was because Oscar Prater, a former friend, had evicted me at that time, because I'd trusted him too much not to require a receipt for a rental payment. As a result, for a time, I could not list either an employer or a residence in the state of Texas.

In point of fact, then, I could probably have voted in absentia in that Washington state election. Had I done so, it is possible that my vote for Evans--coming from a 1980 John Anderson third party supporter--could have been pivotal in Evans's being re-listed as an Independent rather than a Republican.

The only factor arguing against this is that Evans opposed Gorton in the GOP primary race in 1988, as a Republican. However, he clearly didn't have the funding of the mainstream GOP, which supported Gorton. It isn't clear, as well, that he didn't support John Anderson's third party bid in 1980, eight years before, against Reagan. Certainly his rhetoric against Gorton in both 1983 and 1988 suggests that he held Anderson-like views.

It's also interesting to gauge Reagan's coattails by referring to other notes I've made on the Virginia Senate race to fill seat of Harry Byrd, (I) in 1982: <>

P. Trible (R) 724, 571 (America Votes)

" " " 723,988 (World Almanac)

583 variation in Trible vote figure


Richard J. Davis (D) 690, 839 (America Votes)

" " " " 689,818 (World Almanac)

921 variation in Davis vote figure


"Other" ("Scattered"): 212 (America Votes)

"Scattered" 0 (World Almanac)



583 variation in Trible vote figure 723,988 (minimum Trible)

921 variation in Davis vote figure 690.839 (maximum Davis)

212 third party vote/variation 33,049

1716 1716

31,333

We can thus note that there were variations in the election totals given, between World Almanac and America Votes (as noted). Depending on how much importance must be given to the variations from which end, Trible's margin could have been as low as 31,333 votes, (within as low as one vote of this), out of a total vote as high as:


724,571 (Trible, minimum)

690,839 (Davis, maximum)

1716 (third party, "scattered")

1,417,126 total possible votes cast

31,333

1,417,126, or less than two percent, a probably recountable margin in many races.

The Virginia Senate race of 1982 was unusual in several ways. First, it was one of the few in which an Independent Senator, of neither major party, was to be replaced.

Second, there were third party votes cast in the Senate race, unusual in American politics, especially in Senate races. (See "Scattered" and "other" above.)

Other points pertaining to political effectiveness of Ronald Reagan could also be noted, including the fact that Nixon had more coattails in the House than Reagan did. Harding and Coolidge, even in the depths of the Teapot Dome scandal, never dropped below Reagan's low, although some others' lows dropped below his highs in the polls. This may be reflected in his Senate coattails.


Political divisions in Senate, 1979-84:

Senate:

D R I

1977-9 61 38 1

1979-81 58 41 1

1982 58 41 1*

1981-3 46** 53 1*

1983-5 46** 54 *

1983 45** 55

1985-7 47 53


*Byrd's seat

**Jackson's seat

In 1984, the GOP lost two Senate seats: Gore's seat in Tennesee and Paul Simon's seat in Illinois. This caused Reagan's balance to drop from the 55 seat high he'd gained by November, 1983, to the 53 seat balance after the November, 1984 Presidential election.

As for Reagan's coattails in the Senate, had these two seats--Byrd's and Jackson's--not been virtually given to GOP candidates in the almost unethical if not illegal methods described above and had the GOP done no better in 1984 than it did, Reagan's margin in the Senate would have dropped to 51-49, only one vote above a tie vote.

Even if we grant the GOP Byrd's seat, which is not by any means a "sure thing" given the small margin, that still leaves the question of Jackson's seat. Interestingly, an argument could be made that Daniel J. Evans, the Senator from Washington state who replaced Jackson, could arguably be classified as an "Independent"; rather than a Republican. Evans had supported the candidacy of John Anderson in his third party bid for President in 1980. He had also been, revealingly enough, opposed by the "Reaganites" in the GOP in subsequent GOP primaries. Therefore, an argument could be made that, in 1984, the reality of the American Senate may have been the following:

D R I

49 50 1

So much for the vaunted Reagan Senatorial coattails in 1984. This result, the reality of this result in any case, probably reveals the real level of political popularity of Mr. Reagan, the Irishman. Like JFK before him, there was always an element of his having "squeaked in," even as he catered to big money so that it would present him in the media as a "landslide" winner.

The question of why no one questioned the above Senate races and their results is probably best explained in at least three ways:

(1) In the case of the Byrd Senate seat, third party candidates may have questioned or challenged the results. However, the phenomenon of lack of media access for third party candidates may have come into play there. This might explain why the average American heard no more about this disputable result. (See also "Notes on third parties: Where was the Libertarian Party in 1984?" in the present book and on this Site.)

(2) My interest in the unique third party Senate seat long-held by Harry Byrd in Virginia had caused me to scour the even more obscure data in America Votes for 1982-3. On my own, I then compared that data with data found in the World Almanac for 1984, in its "Chronology" and "Elections" sections. Otherwise, I'd never have known that there were problems with the figures in the Byrd election. The sheer obscurity of the data provides yet another explanation for the lack of public questioning of the Byrd Senate seat results.

(3) The detailed data on Senator Jackson's seat was also not easily or readily available. Only a curiosity on my part as to the fate of Senator Jackson and the nature of the circumstances of his 1983 heart attack caused me to look far enough into it that I consulted the local library. They referred me to Time's somewhat obscure article. It showed me that Evans' third party activity must definitely be factored in as part of the determination of which party won that November 1983 Senate election in Washington state: neither. The Time article itself didn't go into Evans' subsequent history of being opposed by Reagan. Therefore, this wouldn't readily have occurred to the casual reader of the article. Only in subsequent reading in the World Almanac for 1989 did I discover that Evans was in fact opposed by Reagan and the mainstream, conservative wing of the GOP. The sheer obscurity of the data is the best explanation for a lack of a public challenge of this GOP Senate seat "victory" in 1983.

Such hidden or semi-hidden data is perhaps yet another example of an "undercurrent" in our lives. And it certainly helps reveal the real status of Reagan, the Irishman, in American politics.

In Georgia, there were several "Reagan" counties where his victory margin was narrow enough to be recountable: if those close counties had gone the other way on a recount, 51% of Georgia counties would have gone to Mondale, giving him grounds for claiming an Electoral College vote there, as George Wallace had in North Carolina in 1968. (See Maps.)

In West Virginia, where Reagan's margin was surprisingly slim in some areas, entire counties had the balloting equipment shut down early, so that ballots were left uncounted. This was also the case in some areas of the South, most notably Tennessee. There is no powerful evidence that any of this was deliberate.

Democrats, however, also decried his 1984 victory in other ways. They succeeded in winning a lawsuit which claimed the major media had "projected" his victory too soon, affecting the vote in the Western states.

This was reinforced by the narrowness of his victory in Hawaii, which had always gone for the Democratic candidate since its statehood in 1960 (except for 1972, which turned out to be a crooked election); and by ballot miscounts in Nevada, where two sets of figures appeared as Reagan's vote totals (the larger being too large to fit into the official state vote totals). The Democrats also claimed such too-early "projections" affected the outcome in Michigan, since heavily-blue collar western Michigan was in a later time zone than the eastern side.

In heavily-Catholic Maryland, Oliver North's NSA associates were revealed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (a civil rights group), in an article that appeared in the 1989 World Almanac, to have wiretapped the Maryknoll nuns. NSA may possibly have done so without ever having to plant a single microphone, using new distance-listening technologies carried in vans, (devices described on the PBS-TV program Secret Intelligence hosted by Bill Curtis in September of 1990). This allowed the Administration to surveil and "improvise counteractive scenarios" (to use a stock NSA phrase), to harass the nuns, who were opponents of NSA (and CIA Director William Casey's) contra policies and therefore "National Security risks"--and who also just happened to be working for Ferraro in Maryland at the time. (See also "Under Surveillance: The American Jewish Community, 1984," in the present book and on this Site.)

In New Jersey, Ed Rollins, Reagan's campaign manager, admitted that he'd paid black ministers not to provide rides to the polls for members of their congregations. "Oh yeah--that was quite common. It's called 'walking around money,' he quipped at a dinner in front of several reporters, including Ed Baumeister, who noted at the time on PBS' MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour that the Republicans had been legally challenged in New Jersey in the '80s for also hiring off-duty police officers to intimidate voters away from the polls in heavily-black precincts. Rollins' quip, (in which he mentioned the figure of "half a million dollars") was in response to conversation about a more recent black minister's claim that "walking around money" had been paid to him during during Republican Governor Christie Todd Whitman's campaign in 1992.

The media was often sympathetic with Reagan, but not because he was an Irishman: he represented the large corporations who sympathized with his political positions and either controlled a big share of the media's advertising budget or actually owned the media outlets themselves. The Final Report of the Iran-Contra Independent Counsel that was released by Independent Counsel Judge Lawrence Walsh on January 14, 1994, was never published in the mass paperback market or discussed on commercial TV.

But Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times noted on PBS's program Washington Week in Review (for January 17, 1994) that, in its final pages, the Report stated that the Senate "should have considered taking up impeachment proceedings" on the floor. But it had failed to do so, Nelson noted, possibly out of fear of that corporate clout and popularity.

There were also those other famous scandals: "Iran-gate" Jimmy Carter's claim that Reagan/Bush operatives cut a deal with Iranian radicals to hold the American embassy officials hostage a little longer; "Iran-Contra" the above-mentioned alleged illegal dealings with Iran to support the equally illegal Nicaraguan contras--which was subsequently tied in with the earlier Irangate allegations by the House of Representatives' final report. It noted the use of the "shredder," a phenomenon which had also occurred during Watergate. Such shredding, it said, had prevented finally determining if there were a connection between a possible 1980 arms delivery to Iran via Israel and the later 1985 arms dealing with Iran. Finally, during Bush's term, there was "Iraq-gate." and the remainder of the "Iran-Contra" allegation--which was only put to rest by George Bush's pardon of Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger in December 1992, after he'd been defeated for re-election by Bill Clinton.

There were also such minor scandals and allegations as Wedtech, which brought down Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese. And "Willgate," as reported by Paul Boller in his book Presidential Campaigns, in which it was revealed--admitted by--George Will, conservative columnist, that he acted as a debate coach for Reagan while supposedly being a "neutral" reporter; and "Debategate," the theft of Jimmy Carter's debate briefing papers, done, supposedly, by either David Gergen or David Stockman (according the Barbara Honnegar in her book October Surprise), shortly before the Reagan-Carter debates of 1980. (See also "The 'Real Hero of Yom Kippur' and the October Surprise" and "'White Rose:' Arranging and 'October Surprise,'" in the present book and on this Site.)

George Bush, of English descent, may have been "born with a silver spoon (or foot) in his mouth," but Shannon, we recall, had her only valuable possessions--her silver spoons--stolen. It is important not to exaggerate how far an Irishman can honestly go in America.

Reagan's age is testimony to this in two ways:

First, he could "remember at time," from the standpoint of a poor Irishman. He could remember discrimination, poverty, prejudice: he had directly experienced these things. In the 1950s, as a Democrat, he'd also been a victim of the blacklist. (See "Better Not 'Red' and Dead: Reagan Becomes A Republican," in the present book and on this Site.)

The other point in connection with Reagan's age, is that he was the oldest person ever elected President, and also the oldest at re-election. How fitting and in keeping with the constant mistreatment which the Irish have suffered in America, that the person who should have to wait among the longest to be elected President, should also be an Irishman.

Works cited:

Baumeister, Ed, interviewed for "Report on the Iran-Contra Scandal." McNeil Lehrer Newshour. PBS. AETN, Little Rock, February 15, 1995.

Boller, Paul F. Presidential Campaigns. New York: Oxford UP, 1985

"Committee Rebukes FBI for Political Group Probe." Arkansas Gazette, July 15, 1989.

"Death of Henry 'Scoop' Jackson." Time. September 12, 1983.

"FBI Kept Eye On Reagan Critics." World Almanac for 1989. New York: Scripps- Howard, 1869---. 48

Honneggar, Barbara. October Surprise. New York: Tudor, 1989. 39-61.

Nelson, Jack, on Washington Week In Review. PBS. AETN, Little Rock, January 17, 1994

"Presidential Election Returns," World Almanacs, 1969-1997. New York: Scripps- Howard, 1868---.

Secret Intelligence. Narr. Bill Curtis. PBS. AETN, Little Rock, Ark. September 10, 1990.

Volkman, Ernest and Blaine Baggett. Secret Intelligence: The Inside Story of America's Espionage Empire. New York: Doubleday, 1989.

Walsh, Lawrence. Final Report of the Iran-Contra Independent Counsel. Washington, DC: GPO, 1994

"World History (time line): Classical Era of Old World Civilizations," World Almanac for 1987. 490

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