McDowell and PDs will suffer for thinking they can sacrifice Ahern

Eoghan Harris may be on to something when he says that while Michael McDowell’s “infatuation with his own image” may yet do for Bertie Ahern, the still popular and trusted Taoiseach can take the small consolation that “some day soon it will do for him too.””The Ahern affair is a familiar script” says Harris. “The PC media make a mountain out of a Fianna Fail molehill. The PDs panic for fear they will look bad in the Irish Times. They pull the rug and return under a new Taoiseach.

But you can’t keep repeating history. Surely the PDs can see they will be punished this time if they sell out a popular Taoiseach who has taken the gloss and glamour from Sinn Fein? All they have to do is stand firm for a week under fire. At least the PDs are not likely to wobble under Michael McDowell.”

But Harris says McDowell did wobble on Thursday, effectively putting a gun to Ahern’s head, less than 24 hours after standing behind his coalition partner.

“After mulling it over all night I finally figure out why McDowell went wobbly,” writes Harris.

“Although it beggars belief it is the only one that makes any sense.

Having made a mess of the order of business in the Dail he dashed out to rescue his reputation by creating a crisis. Nothing else explains his foolish volte-face.

Today the media sharks are sniffing the blood he weakly spilled in the water. And when they have finished with Ahern they will start on McDowell. Wobblers always get what’s coming to them.”

In another piece, Harris outlines three reasons why McDowell will climb down or face being wiped out as a political force by Fianna Fail: First, the Irish people will punish anybody who puts Ahern out of office. Second, McDowell made a major mistake in trying to put pressure on Fianna Fail. Third, Fianna Fail will not flinch under the PD fire.

“McDowell has three days but only two choices. He can eat humble pie or starve in opposition. My bet is that he will back down. After that he will be only half the man he used to be.

And all because, like Narcissus, he loved his own image not wisely, but too well.”