Posted by: Martin Russell | October 9, 2010

Clinton speech leaves legacy: Late Late Show debates impact

A week and a half ago, President Bill Clinton officially opened one our of partner’s the William Jefferson Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin. The event, attended by contributors to this site, was a momentous and significant achievement for the institute and its affiliates. The centerpiece  of the day was President Clinton’s address to an audience that compromised of mostly students, past and present, from the institute and wider collegiate. His discussion was diverse and informative, with his focus ranging from the peace process in Northern Ireland to the humanitarian and philanthropic pursuits of the Clinton Global Initiative.

The media quickly took up on his encouragement to some of the core values of Irishness. The seeds of this analysis were centred around questions of leadership and economics. However, given the insights provided by Clinton it was a tad discouraging that they weren’t pursued any further. That was, until last night.

One a night of doom and gloom for Irishness (referring to a night of a lacklustre sporting result), most of the Irish nation engaged with the entertainment ritual of the Late Late Show. A mixture of debate and light entertainment, the show has a mystical place in Irish culture, almost as a people’s platform. Therefore, it was refreshing to see that the legacy of Clinton’s speech was not lost in the midst of everlasting political, economic and rhetorical doom. The closing debate on the show directly illustrated Clinton’s speech as a point of reference, a distinctive intervention in the recent political climate.

There were right, it epitomised a belief and leadership sorely lacking in most political structures in Ireland today. Of course, the ensuing debate regarding the limitations of rhetoric to policy hold credit and must be developed further. But it must not disguise the fact that, for the moment, the content of Clinton’s speech is the best we’ve got.

Rather than take you through the speech bit by bit, you can access sections of it through the Clinton Institute for American Studies website at

http://www.ucdclinton.ie/

Here you will find links to the speech and to the extensive media coverage of the event.

Also you can watch the Late Late Show footage here

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Responses

  1. It’s a beautiful country, more people need to recognise that.


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