States of Mind, RTÉ’s dedicated US politics podcast returns for a second series
Congressman Richard Neale tells the podcast “America is in an irritable mood”
Listen : https://www.rte.ie/radio/podcasts/22164000-ep-43-irritable-america/
Watch: Saturday at 7.30pm on the RTÉ News channel
RTÉ News’ podcast series, States of Mind, is back with a second series to analyse all the drama from the US Mid-term elections.
In weekly episodes, RTÉ journalist and US politics junkie Jackie Fox will be joined by RTÉ’s Washington Correspondent Sean Whelan to dissect the political movements stateside. The first episode, which is available to listen to now, is a playbook for the Midterm elections. The pair examine what’s at stake and shine a light on the who, what, where, when and why’s of the Midterms for listeners.
The podcast’s first guest is Congressman and Chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal. As a great defender of the Good Friday Agreement during Brexit negotiations he assures the RTÉ States of Mind podcast that it would be ‘business as usual’ if Republicans take the House of Representatives in November.
He said: “I think it would be business as usual. One of the nice things about the Friends of Ireland which I’ve had the honour to chair over many decades is that it has always been bipartisan in nature and I think we are able to put aside some of the differences we’ve had to ensure not just the success of the Good Friday Agreement but to also ensure the argument that the Good Friday Agreement is template for what peace accords can be like across the world. I think the model we developed, the success that we had, and I had a role in it, I believe remains really nonpartisan in nature.”
Congressman Neal added: “You should know that I have been very careful over my long career on these issues – dates back almost to the Bobby Sands death- to make sure this was always bipartisan so during my time as chairman and co-chairman I carefully recruited Republicans of congress who were interested in the issue of a strong bi-partisan committee.”
Commenting on democracy in the US, he told RTÉ States of Mind: “Well I think it’s fair to say that America is in an irritable mood. I think elections are about investing in our institutions and not investing in our personalities. I still feel very good about America’s institutions.”
“I think we’ve been through periods before where… far more upheaval than we are currently and after all we fought a civil war in the 1860s, we’ve had two world wars, we’ve had all kinds of descent and our first amendment acknowledges the obligation of a second opinion… So I think democracy is supposed to be noisy and I don’t think I’m trying to understate the polarisation that has now settled in with the American people.”
This episode also looks at the dramatic Senate races in Pennsylvania – where one candidate is recovering from a stroke and the other is a former doctor on the Oprah show.
In the second episode of RTÉ States of Mind, Jackie and Sean look at the threats to American Democracy and how these Midterms will shape the direction the country goes in.
RTÉ States of Mind is available everywhere you get your podcasts, at www.rte.ie/podcasts and will also be broadcast each Saturday at 7.30pm on the RTÉ News channel.