No wonder Brian Cowen was reluctant to don the waders in Athlone last week. He knows that once he walks into the waters there is no retreat. For him the floods will never recede.
When he was elected Taoiseach you would swear his gifts were such that he could walk on water. Now, we have all learned that he can barely stay afloat.
But is he a survivor who can steer the ship of state to a safe harbour? Or are we looming at a man in a lifeboat with only one oar?
My own belief is that this Government will last almost its full term. But that Cowen will be a one-term Taoiseach.
He’s not a survivor like Haughey or Ahern. Sure he has been an unlucky general. But he has not helped his own cause.
Cowen refuses to play the PR game. The spin is that he’s unspun. He refuses to do artifice. But it’s been a disaster. He is wooden when he meets ordinary people. He gies through the motions during doorstep interviews which he’s terrible at. His language is just a string of meaningless jargon. So on the basis of no spin he won’t do the stuff he’s good at which is speeches off the cuff and longer sit-downs with the media where he can relax a bit and use some humour.
Cowen has to realise that this is not the era of Lemass and Lynch. He gave an abrupt interview with the media yesterday that teetered on rudeness. When a leaky boat is sinking there’s not much point in throwing the bailing can overboard, is there?