Were Enda Kenny the Karaoke bar type, he’d be likely to opt for something by ‘The Persuaders’.
A track like ‘Stayed Away Too Long’ would appeal to the Fine Gael leader, reflecting on his party’s dozen years out of government.
The band’s very name illustrates Deputy Kenny’s ongoing quest with Mr and Mrs J Soap: to persuade the politicised masses that he has what it takes to be Taoiseach. It’s a sales pitch which, despite his best efforts since 2002, the public has yet to avidly accept.
Now, the Persuaders themselves once featured on the ‘Win or Lose’ record label, a trio of words which political careers either thrive or perish upon and right now, the FG folks are winning.
Recalling the wet streets of Waterford last Thursday, a beaming Deputy Kenny took to the campaign trail, shooting the breeze with his city, county and European election candidates.
He cut a relaxed and happy figure (enjoying a good pow wow with John Deasy and a laugh with City East candidate Jacqueline Kelly) safe in the knowledge that his party is set to make big gains come June 5th.
Twenty-four hours after his Waterford trip, Kenny had a smile wider than the one he sported at the foot of a sodden Barronstrand Street where he had briefly chatted with Minister Martin Cullen.
The latest Irish Times/TNS MRBI poll shows Fine Gael support up to 38 per cent, with Fianna Fáil down to a historic new polling low of 21 per cent.
Combined support for Fine Gael and Labour, not that Eamon Gilmore is entertaining such a notion (yet) stands at 58 per cent, the sort of numbers that would comfortably see them forming the next government.
Right now, Enda Kenny is in the box seat to become the first Fine Gael Taoiseach since John Bruton, but the nagging doubts about his bona fides for the job remain a talking point for many.
For many years, the traditional Fine Gael standing point was that ‘we’re not Fianna Fáil’.
And while that distinction is among the more powerful weapons in its current armoury, blurting out so hackneyed a line as that with an angry public isn’t good enough. Enda Kenny knows that only too well.
Enda Kenny is not Bertie Ahern. He doesn’t have the common appeal which still seeps out of the former Taoiseach, but even Bertie’s charm is unlikely to be enough to sweep elder brother Maurice to a by-election win in Dublin Central.
And let’s face it: a good deal of Mr Ahern’s likeability is down to Mario Rosenstock’s sunny lampooning of the Drumcondra Don on Today FM’s ‘Gift Grub’ over the past decade.
While Rosenstock and 2FM’s Oliver Callan also impersonate Deputy Kenny, it doesn’t resonate with the public the way their takes on Bertie Ahern do. Again, that’s not Enda Kenny’s fault.
Unlike the former Taoiseach, Mr Kenny hasn’t had to repeatedly explain any decidedly odd financial arrangements for years on end without ever providing a plausible explanation.
And he’s certainly never reverted to the classic “I won it on the horses” line, a ‘Carry On’-like defence which should ensure Mr Ahern is never afforded the opportunity of even a shot at the Áras.
Those who continue to state that Mr Kenny just doesn’t measure up as a Taoiseach in-waiting should consider the qualities that made Sean Lemass the greatest holder of our highest office to date.
Lemass was, according to the political correspondents of the time, no great orator. He was a plain speaker and couldn’t fill a room with the power of his personality.
He was a planner, a doer, a man who saw education as the cornerstone of future economic prosperity.
Lemass was described by colleagues as an overseeing chairman and thanks to his skilled chairmanship of the State and ministers like Donogh O’Malley and Patrick Hillery he dragged this country out of the doldrums.
Now consider this: Enda Kenny didn’t meet George Lee ahead of his party selecting him for the Dublin South by-election, he left it to some trusted lieutenants to look after it.
The party he inherited from Michael Noonan seven years ago was a mess. That certainly cannot be said now. Several local Fine Gael members, including Senator Paudie Coffey, have spoken of his leader’s delegating acumen.
He has shared considerable responsibility with his colleagues and clearly has no problem with his deputy leader Richard Bruton regularly occupying centre stage.
No one would dispute that this is a country badly in need of a plan and perhaps the time has come for a planner in office. Perhaps that man is Enda Kenny. But that’s for voters to decide.