Ann Marie gets it just about spot on. Enda Kenny is a cheerful nice man. I support him which is a minor burden for him. He has a difficult job where timing is everything.

The Irish Times – Monday, May 30, 2011
Enda and electorate have a bounce in their step

ANN MARIE HOURIHANE
A central fact about Enda Kenny is that he is handsome and his handlers are pushing this for all it is worth
THEY’RE CALLING it the Obama bounce, but the truth is that Enda Kenny was bouncing long before Barack Obama arrived. It is his nature or it is his image. In any event, he is now bouncing for Ireland. He is bouncing in the morning. He is bouncing in the evening. All over this land.

Kenny’s bouncing on the Late Late with his report cards and with the audience delighted to see him. He was bouncing on the cover of Saturday’s Irish Times , linking pretty Aer Lingus air hostesses and pointing at the same time. He was, naturally, bouncing along beside Eilís a Dó and then Obama, in twin bursts of historic bouncing. He has even been photographed, in a collective memory that we are collectively trying to suppress, guiding pilgrims towards Croagh Patrick while wearing a baseball cap backwards.
Forget political analysis, my friend Angela says that Kenny looks like a soda jerk from a Norman Rockwell painting – and she’s not wrong. Remarkable though it is to say of a man his age, you can see Kenny, with his aw-shucks charm, and his beady eyes, idolising the prom queen from afar. He has that kind of down-home aura about him. He’s a bobby soxer and he looks like the reliable sort, of whom the prom queen might be very glad in the long run. And we too seem to like him. Yesterday the Sunday Business Post informed us that the majority party in our coalition government, Fine Gael, is enjoying voter support of 41 per cent. That’s 2 per cent up on April and 5 per cent up on what it was at the general election. This is the highest rating for Fine Gael, not since records began but since the Red C company began conducting polls for the Sunday Business Post in 2004.
You might say, if you were the leader of the Opposition – whoever the leader of the Opposition might be these times – that the poll was a little bit carried away by the honeymoon atmosphere – In fact, that it was a honeymoon poll – and you would have a point.
The field work for it, as Red C’s managing director, Richard Colwell was quoted, “. . . started on the evening of US president Barack Obama’s flying visit to Ireland, with the Guinness supped in Moneygall barely digested and the clear-up after the College Green speeches only just under way”. This is rather like assessing a marriage while the wedding breakfast is still being eaten. Infuriating though it must be for the Taoiseach’s opponents, it does seem that Kenny is, if not basking in universal approval, at least enjoying the benefit of our doubts. And enjoy is the word here, because it is a long time since we had a national figure who looked so damned cheerful – all the time.
One glance at our last two taoisigh, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen being interviewed at the Garden of Remembrance during the visit of Eilís a Dó, was enough to remind us what a refreshing change a cheerful taoiseach can be. The two Fianna Fáil men looked cranky. The current Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, doesn’t make that mistake – he can’t afford to.
Martin brings us to one central fact about Kenny that no political commentator has mentioned recently: he is handsome. He looks good in a suit (not, and we cannot emphasise this enough, in a baseball cap turned backwards). Political commentators are too serious to mention looks as a factor, but Kenny’s handlers have pushed this advantage for all it is worth. Male handsomeness is rarely mentioned outside the pages of teen magazines, but you look at Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and Martin and Kenny, and you see that they’re all handsome, more or less, and all look good in suits. This shouldn’t matter, but it does. They all look good in photos. They look cool. In fact, both Obama and Cameron have to work hard not to look too cool.
So we have Obama slugging a pint and Cameron on his bicycle before his election to office. Then we have Obama and Cameron getting down with the kids and playing table tennis: this was an embarrassing mistake and taught us nothing except that both Obama and Cameron are left-handed. (A disproportionate number of world leaders are left-handed, but we shall return to this subject at a later date.) Kenny has to be protected from looking too eager. Just because he is both willing and photogenic doesn’t mean he should be linking air hostesses or going up in dodgy vintage aircraft to celebrate the 75 years since Aer Lingus’s first flight, poor thing. His minders should be careful of him, as he does not appear to be so careful of himself.
Michael Clifford, in yesterday’s Sunday Times , says Kenny is like former US president Ronald Reagan, who was not only handsome and modest and cheerful, but regarded as a bit of an eejit before – and, some would say, after – he was elected. If you weren’t a member of a trade union, a gay man with Aids or a left-wing politician in South America, Reagan was a lovable man. He was elected to the presidency twice. He was surrounded by smart people. Let us hope that our Taoiseach is too. Norman Rockwell never painted a political disaster.