16 March 2012

RONALD REAGAN: Proud to Be Irish!

As House Speaker for most of Ronald Reagan's two presidential terms, ultra-liberal spendaholic Tip O'Neill was one of the fiercest opponents of the entire Reagan agenda, fighting it tooth-and-nail for six years. He called Reagan a "cheerleader for selfishness" and even went so far as to personally attack the Gipper as 'most ignorant man that has ever inhabited the White House'.

Not one to be easily outwitted -but showing considerably more class and good humor- Reagan observed parallels between bloated blowhard O'Neill and the 1980's Pac-Man video game, both being  'a round thing that gobbles up money'.

Yet despite the professional animosity, Ronald Reagan often said the two were 'friends after 6pm'- and both plenty proud of their Celtic Irish heritage. 

In fact, the annual Saint Patrick's Day Speaker's Luncheon is an event initially established by Reagan and O'Neill back in 1983. Last year the tradition was honored by Boehner/Obama, yet for 2012 the holiday has fallen on a Saturday (heaven knows 
we can't interrupt anyone's tee-time):

Despite being fierce opponents during the day, the two grew to be friends.
One story goes how President Reagan would call Speaker O’Neill and say, 'Hey Tip, is it 6 o’clock yet?' in which Speaker O’Neill would reply, “Why yes it is Mr. President.” 

After the work day had ended, the two were known to have gone and shared a few drinks together at local DC establishments...

On March 17, 1983, Speaker Tip O’Neill, President Ronald Reagan -along with House Minority Leader Bob Michel- celebrated the first Speaker’s St. Patty’s Day luncheon after Reagan and O’Neill had suggested doing a luncheon together to celebrate their Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day. 

By the time Reagan's last Saint Patrick's Day in office rolled-around in 1988, Tip O'Neill had retired from the House of Representatives, so he headed over to Alexandria for a surprise visit to Pat Troy's Irish Pub...  

And the Gipper was in fine form: after a cold brew and some corned-beef-and-cabbage, he takes the mike at 4:00... besides the jokes, note Reagan's extensive knowledge of Irish history and culture:

"I'm very leery of ethnic jokes in my position- 
the only ones I can tell are Irish!"    

So may the road rise to meet ya~

A happy and blessed Saint Patrick's Day 
to all from the half-Irish, all-Catholic

Ronald Reagan, tradtion luncheon obama Saint Patrick's Day, boehner St. Patrick'sTip O'Neill, pub in alexandria Pat Troy, Proud to be Irish


Woodsterman (Odie) said...

I miss a President with CLASS!

Anonymous said...

But Reagan was an Irish Protestant; he should have been wearing ORANGE

Brandt Hardin said...

Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper in commemoration of the Reagan Centennial and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/02/happy-100th-gipper.html

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook said...

Reagan was one of a kind and I wish there were more. Happy Saint Patty's Day to ya, RR! Great Post!

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