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A Ronald Reagan St. Patrick’s Day

According to lore, Ronald Reagan and Boston politician turned Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil used to fight about policy during the day, and then have a beer and swap Irish stories at night. Not a bad way to practice politics.

Here’s a good field trip for today:

If you ever have a chance to get over to Old Town Alexandria, swing by Pat Troy’s. Though the pub is no longer original location, they still have the table where President Reagan sat, as well as his signed bill (encased in glass, I might add).

Here’s an article about Reagan’s visit to Pat Troy’s

Reagan spoke off the top of his head. He graciously thanked Troy for having him for lunch. He said it was his great surprise — that his advance men set it up, and he was thankful. He talked about his father, an Irishman.

"When I was a little boy, my father proudly told me that the Irish built the jails in this country," he said, pausing expertly, "then proceeded to fill them."

The crowd laughed heartily.

"You have to understand that for a man in my position, I’m a little leery about ethnic jokes," he said. The crowd roared. "The only ones I can tell are Irish."

If you visit Pat Troy’s today, you can see the table where Ronald Reagan ate, and the check he signed. You will also see plenty of pictures and memorabilia of Reagan and John F. Kennedy (Irish president Mary McAleese said JFK’s election "was, for Irish people everywhere, a source of inspiration and joy").

If you plan on going today, you’d better get there early. It gets busy — in fact — a day like today usually necessitates their adding a tent for seating.

And if you do go today, have a green beer for me — and have just one for "The Gipper!"

Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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