Dick Tuck was a witty man, a man well aware of his own human absurdity and a man with a light touch when it came to political commentary. He possessed irony, subtle humour and a quick wit.
In 1966, Tuck ran for the California Senate with the slogan The job needs Tuck, and Tuck needs the job. He lost, but nevertheless delivered one of the funniest losing statements in the history of politics: The people have spoken, the bastards.
Rejected Fianna Fáil politician John O’Donoghue has none of Tuck’s qualities, though he said someting similar last night as he denounced the ungrateful Kerry electorate for failing to do its duty by re-electing him. The difference is, Tuck was joking.
I hope the irony will not be lost upon you, that I stand here on my evening of defeat, in a hall, this magnificent sports complex, which I helped the build, said this steaming, red-faced, angry ball of bluster.
It reminded me of things our mothers used to say to us when we were small. I hope you’re happy now!
Poor old Bull. No Mammy there to dry his tears after the bad boys and girls took away his tricycle.
But what exactly was he telling the Kerry people as he berated them? What did he mean when he said he helped to build it?
Did he dig the foundations? Did he pour the concrete? Did he carry the blocks up a ladder?
None of these things.
Did he design it?
What then? How did he help to build it?
Ah! He diverted the money from some other deserving project in some other town so that he could improve his electoral chances. Is that what he means?
Right. I see.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I won’t be sorry to see the back of a man whose attitude encapsulates all that is wrong with Irish politics.