Why Kenny's new PR guru has toughest job around
IT'S a tough job but somebody has to do it.
How do you turn an unpopular Fine Gael leader into a credible Taoiseach, someone you can believe in? Enda Kenny has accepted that he has an image problem by hiring a PR person as his latest advisor.
But even the most talented advertising executive might find they have bitten off more than they can chew.
Kenny's problems are obvious.
After eight years as party leader, the opinion polls show that three-quarters of voters believe he's simply not up to the job.
And this, at a time when he's up against one of the most unpopular governments ever.
Most of Kenny's bad ratings can be put down to his consistently poor television performances where he comes across as weak, nervous and out of his depth.
The irony is that Kenny's PR team is widely regarded as one of the best in Leinster House.
They have worked hard on every aspect of his image, from his speaking voice to the clothes he wears.
And if he fails to make it to the Taoiseach's office, it certainly won't be their fault.
Brian Cowen is often accused of not preparing properly for his media appearances with the disastrous consequences that we all recently saw.
In Kenny's case, it's exactly the opposite.
He is so over-rehearsed that when he gets an unexpected question it often throws him completely.
This happened most recently on the Late Late Show when Ryan Tubridy asked him about Fine Gael's refusal to form a coalition with Sinn Fein and he struggled to provide an answer.
It happened on Newstalk where he was asked about water charges -- and the line appeared to go dead.
It happened last week on RTE's News At One when he was challenged about Fine Gael's handling of the pairing row and he continued trying to defend the indefensible.
Enda Kenny can hire all the PR gurus he wants.
But if he really wants to be Taoiseach, he needs to take a long, hard look at himself.
Rumblings about his leadership of Fine Gael are growing louder by the day. If he can't convince his own party that he's up to that job, the best PR executive in the world will find it hard to persuade the electorate that he's the man to run the country.