Clare too cool to drool as slobber jibe hits home over Obamas

Some of the coverage was toe-curling


Anyone got a hankie?

’Scuse us.

It’s the slobber.

At Crufts, they tie bibs on the St Bernards to catch the dribble from their chops.

There’s an idea.

We’ll send out to Boots for some, so as not to upset the sensibilities of Clare Daly. And maybe an extra large one for Enda, because he sits opposite Clare in the Dáil chamber and she can’t be putting up with his slobbering since he joined the big boys at the G8 in Fermanagh.

Pools of drool
After two days frantically lolloping around after the Obamas, you couldn’t move on the Oireachtas press gallery yesterday for the pools of drool.

Daly, the Independent TD for Dublin North, was appalled at the “almost unprecedented slobbering” over Mr and Mrs Obama.

She was right to qualify her use of the word “unprecedented”. Visiting American presidents and their spouses are routinely slobbered over when they hit our humble shores. It’s the law.

Sure, what of it? It might help turn a shilling, it’s nice to be noticed and there’s the chance to enjoy a good gawk at major international celebrities.

Daly had a point, nonetheless. Some of the coverage was toe-curling.

At times, it was as if the living embodiment of Mother Teresa and Grace Kelly had descended upon an ecstatic and grateful nation, rather than Michelle Obama on a low-key trip across the Border with her daughters while her hubby fulfilled an important business engagement up North.

But they were very welcome, and most of us were delighted and honoured to have them here.

After all, they aren’t just any old tourists. The sun shone and America was treated to lovely shots of the old sod with added Bono.

A grand diversion, at the end of the day. (Not least where the road closures were concerned.)

But the whole palaver left Daly decidedly unmoved.

“It’s really hard to know which is worst, whether it’s the outpourings of the Obamas themselves or the sycophantic falling over them by sections of the media and the political establishment.”

She wasn’t impressed by Michelle’s cloyingly improbable declaration of kinship in the Gaiety when she announced: “It’s good to be home.”

Judging by the smiles from deputies on all sides, they didn’t buy that bit of flannel either.

But the Taoiseach didn’t smile.

Not once.

He glowered across at the former member of Joe Higgins’s Socialist Party, looking highly disgusted.

Daly’s diatribe started well with the slobbering and fawning, but peaked when she accused the Taoiseach of prostituting the country for a pat on the head from America and speculated whether he would “deck out the Cabinet in leprechaun hats decorated with stars and stripes to mark our abject humiliation”.

At this point, fevered debate began in tabloid newsrooms as to whether they should Photoshop the Cabinet wearing silly hats.

But Daly began to lose her audience when she moved on to talk of Ireland becoming “a lapdog for American imperialism” and called Obama a “war criminal”.

Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan looked a little worried as she talked about “outlawing the use of drones”. But the deputy wasn’t referring to him.

The Taoiseach rounded on Daly for criticising Obama, citing his commitment to the peace process. He also spoke of the importance of US investment to the country.

You could see he was genuinely annoyed with what Daly had said, like it was a personal insult.

“I think your comments are disgraceful. I think they do down the pride of Irish people all over the world who are more than happy to see this island being host to the G8,” he said.

It must have been tough for the Taoiseach yesterday, having to return to the humdrum from the high-
octane events of the previous couple of days.

One minute, you’re strolling by a lake with the president of the United States and the British prime minister. Shooting the breeze with a smiling Christine Lagarde. Charming Angela Merkel. Looking decisive and manly beside Vladimir Putin.

That’s Enda, narrowing his eyes and pointing to an imaginary object in the distance as he walks confidently with the most powerful politicians on the planet, rocking that open-necked shirt, navy blazer and casual slacks look.

And he’s sitting in the Dáil chamber now. It’s Wednesday morning and the Japanese prime minister is calling for a meeting in less than an hour.

He’s sitting there and Micheál Martin is talking about wind turbines. He’s looking across at Willie O’Dea and Mattie McGrath and Mick Wallace in a pink polo-shirt. Gerry Adams is talking at him now.

Clare stands up and insults him.

Enda’s disdainful expression says it all: “How can a man soar like an eagle when he is surrounded by turkeys!”

He wears his gold statesman tie. Soon, he can escape to Japanese prime minister Abe, where his words will be simultaneously translated into Japanese. Simon Coveney moves into his seat to take the Order of Business. Snores gently ripple through the chamber.

And Enda is free.

With our new bibs, we slowly wipe the slobber from our chins and return to work.