The last of my posts on the Presidential election.
We’ve discussed the winner and the “sort-of” winners. Now the losers.
Mitchell was the worst of the choices that Fine Gael could have gone with. I’ve discussed it about him before. I’m not sure what kind of demented parlour games were happening in the Parliamentary Party meeting that selected him, but the result in a humiliation for Kenny and company.
It seems that Kenny’s attempt to propel Pat Cox into the candidacy was met with some understandable annoyance from the party faithful. But, rather than going with the smart choice of Mairead McGuinness, they choose to go with the more traditional Fine Gaeler, perhaps as a snub to the sceptical Enda Kenny.
Well, Kenny was right. Even Cox, an outsider who I struggle to see associating with FG in any other scenario, would have been better.
Mitchell ran a mediocre campaign. Dull, meandering, uninspired, his campaign will be remembered only for the disaster it was. In the same month that the party maintained a 35%+ support nationally, their Presidential candidate couldn’t even break into double figures on the first count. Mitchell first tried to portray himself as the anti-McGuinness candidate, which gained some traction, but then just fell back. Every day, every time he opened his mouth, he lost more votes. Even Fine Gael abandoned him. Mitchell’s Presidential run is an embarrassing black mark for the party, less than a year after their best result in a General Election ever.
He goes back to being an MEP, but will fade away politically. Fine Gael now have a tough budget to look forward to. The honeymoon is not only over, it’s a distant memory.
Norris. Oh, Norris, Norris, Norris. An utter car-crash from start to finish. I didn’6t like him before the campaign started or during, but even I had to feel sorry for him by the end.
Skeleton after skeleton after skeleton. Bad reaction after bad reaction after bad reaction. Condescending. Loud. Annoying. Lies. A rabid, insulting core of support. And, in the end, a distraction from the main players.
I am more convinced than ever, after Norris’ behaviour during this campaign, that he is morally bankrupt to a tee. The Senator became the plaything of a vicious media, before they simply started ignoring him in the final few weeks. And it was all of his own making.
He goes back to the Seanad now, where he will be as loud and bombastic as ever. I wish I could claim that this is the last that we will see of Senator Norris in a major media way, but if the attempts to abolish the Seanad ever actually become reality, you can be sure that he will be at the heart of its defence.
The people have decided Senator Norris. And they decided, overwhelmingly, to reject you.
I wonder if Dana might actually take the hint now. Perhaps a late, ahem “surge” of support from those sympathetic to her was enough to get her past Davis, but it should fool no one. Her campaign was dismissed as a bad joke by most of the electorate from the outset, and her attempt to appeal to a Eurosceptic vote did not succeed. The stories about her family seemed to tip her over the edge into manic behaviour, culminating in her bizarre car accident and claims of an assassination attempt.
Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she turned up in the Irish political sphere again.
Mary Davis is the big loser. From being in as position where she stood a relatively decent chance of seriously contesting the race, she just dropped like a stone. The second the first negative stories about her appeared, her support vanished and she was in freefall. Considering the amount of money that she spent, it’s a lesson that good finance isn’t the be all and end all of successful electoral politics.
In the end, she’s a footnote, to be remembered for the way that she failed to disassociate herself with extremely dodgy board appointments and failed to get across as more than just “the woman who ran the Special Olympics”. I doubt that we well be hearing from her in any real political capacity again.
I’ll close by noting that despite the fact that this contest had a record number of candidates and a record number of Independents, it didn’t matter. It came down to just three, and really two, men in the end.