Thomas P. O'Neill

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Thomas P. O'Neill

Tip was a man who was not bashful to call himself 'a man of the house.' Thomas P. O'Neill was a person whose greatest charm was that he seemed 'completely out-of-date as a politician.' (Clift) He was a gruff, drinking, card playing, backroom kind of guy. He had an image that political candidates pay consultants to make over. He knew these qualities gave him his power because they 'made him real.' (Sennot 17) His gigantic figure and weather beaten face symbolizes a political force of five decades, from Roosevelt's new deal to the Reagan retrenchment. He was the last democratic leader of the old school and 'the longest-serving speaker of the house (1977-1986) and easily the most loved.' (Clift)

Thomas P. O'Neill (1912-1994) always knew why he was in Washington, and what he stood for. He was a native of Boston and always prided himself on his theory that 'all politics is local.'

(O'Neill 1) Tip was a friend of everyone. When ordinary people wanted something of O'Neill he gave it to them. When anyone asked him a favor, he would do it. O'Neill served fifty years in public life and retired with only fifteen thousand dollars to his name. He devoted his life and his money to the people of Boston.

Tip came of age in the Great Depression, arrived in congress from Massachusetts in 1952 and 'came to power amid the plenty of the '60s and '70s.' (Woodlief 4) He was a rampant liberal who 'would usually vote yes on any bill that helped people (he once voted to put money into an appropriations bill to study knock knees).' (Gelzinas 6) When Reagan came into office in 1980 big government began to feel the pinch and O'Neill's big hearted liberalism was on the way out.