Al Smith was Governor of New York in the early 1900s, and ran for President in 1928. He was the first Roman Catholic to run for President, and lost to Herbert Hoover. That’s why God made the Great Depression happen. If only all those people who voted for that nasty Quaker from Iowa had gone to confession, there wouldn’t have been any bread lines or Hoovervilles or Annie or anything. I shall speak no more on this subject, for on their souls be it, yea it is mine to forgive, im nomine patre, et filli et spiritus sancti, amen.
Anyway, the Archdiocese of New York has a dinner every year for the two Presidential candidates, where they get together and, well, basically make fun of themselves and each other. It really is truly awesome – here they are, in the midst of a nasty and heated contest for the highest office in the land that gets more and more personal and offensive by the day. Yet, for one night, both candidates get all dressed up, have dinner, and crack some jokes. Leave it to the Catholics to bring our fractured nation together with a nice hot meal and some blarney.
They named it after Al Smith, “the Happy Warrior,” a guy who liked to laugh at himself and who genuinely cared about people. He’s the goofy lookin’ dude who looks like yer grandpa in the picture up there. Interestingly enough, he lost the election of 1928 because his opponents painted him as a foreign-sounding big city elitist with corrupt friends and dubious religious affiliations. Sound familiar? Again, I would point out that this led to the election of Herbert &#$*ing Hoover, but judge not lest ye be judged.
Anyway, last night Senators Smugpants and Cranky Obama and McCain attended the Al Smith dinner, which raised tons of money for Catholic Charities (who really do a lot of great work, their position on gay adoption notwithtanding). Both poked fun at themselves, and each other, in a cordial and collegiate manner. I wish there was more of this kind of thing.
Here’s John McCain….:
Part two is here.
….and here’s Barack Obama.
Part two is here.