'The first tears to dry are the tears of gratitude," the 19th- century American showman PT Barnum is quoted as saying. And Leo Varadkar got a lesson in the verity of that aphorism on election day.
Having managed very well through the Brexit negotiations, he found his achievements largely forgotten by voters who had their eyes on the future.
Now the opinion polls tell him people are impressed by his own and his interim government's management of the Covid-19 crisis. He was given an incredible 75pc approval rating in one survey last week and his party is 16 points ahead of its very poor 21pc vote share in the election.
But even if Mr Varadkar could rush to the polls, there is every chance that stellar ranking would not hold good. Those metaphorical public tears could be well dried and the voters' focus would rightly be upon how the post-virus economic catastrophe can be dealt with.
Yet in a political week which will define the fate of three political leaders - Mr Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan - the Taoiseach is undoubtedly the best fixed of the trio.
The Fine Gael leader will move from being Taoiseach to a souped-up post of Tánaiste, the first such sideways and downward move in the State's history.
Mr Varadkar, however, gets the easiest passage for party endorsement of the three-party coalition's programme for government. The wisdom of setting up an electoral college approach means he will get the necessary party validation.
Of course there are misgivings, especially among loyal members and councillors who feel they have given much to Fine Gael down the years and always suspect "Dublin" and "headquarters".
There are also pressures to cash in on those high poll ratings in an early election rather than enter a difficult and loveless political marriage with their old foes in Fianna Fáil and new adversaries in the Green Party.
But there is a definite sense that the die is cast for the Taoiseach and soon-to-be Tánaiste. It will be coalition time if the other two party votes go right.
Things have a similar ring to them in Fianna Fáil. Mr Martin is now more likely to become Taoiseach rather than political toast.
He is set to land the post in far from ideal circumstances, with depleted Dáil numbers and in strange company, after a very bad election and with abysmal poll showings. An Ipsos MRBI poll in the 'Irish Times' had Fianna Fáil on 14pc, three points below its electoral meltdown in February 2011.
But the main point is that Micheál Martin is set to become Taoiseach. Then the fun will start in earnest as Fianna Fáil will be under huge pressure to show results in efforts to rebuild shattered party fortunes.
There is significant opposition to the coalition from within Fianna Fáil. Former deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív has been joined by a quieter and more unlikely rebel in John Lahart, the TD for Dublin South West, in urging a no vote. A significant number of councillors are also opposed.
Mr Ó Cuív is right to say Sinn Féin will benefit from being outside this government as the lead party of opposition. It is a message which will have resonance for ordinary members who fear the party being dwarfed in government and unable to show real results.
Sinn Féin just need to be right about what is wrong with the country. Mary Lou McDonald and colleagues have shown that they can do that all right.
There is considerable recrimination within the Fianna Fáil ranks for Mr Martin's poor General Election performance. His position is not too strong.
But there is still an expectation that a mix of pragmatism and the overdue need for government will win out. Martin only needs 50pc plus one - and he will most likely get a good bit more than that.
So, we come back to the question around which all other questions turn: Can the Green Party get the two-thirds majority required to let this project fly?
The portents so far are good. This writer watched large chunks of its online conference last Thursday and was impressed by the standard of debate.
Those advocating a Yes vote were there in larger numbers and appeared more coherent and lucid in their arguments. Some of the pro-coalition wing of the party are also impressed by soundings from various branches where the members seem to be swinging towards coalition in greater numbers.
But there are some important party figures on the No side and you cannot rule out their ability to sow enough doubt to convince a little over one-third of members to vote against coalition. The advocates for going into government are taking nothing for granted as this marathon process enters its crucial phase.
Mr Ryan has already seen his party members' tears of gratitude dry up despite his leading them out of the political wilderness in which they found themselves in February 2011.
Some members seem to take for granted that on his watch they went from just three councillors and no TDs in 2011, to a situation where they have 49 councillors and 12 TDs in 2020.
The internal party debate on coalition was very definitely a proxy leadership contest. Even after deputy leader and lead negotiator Catherine Martin definitively came off the fence on Friday and argued with commitment in favour of a Yes, the process remains in the shadow of a leadership contest to follow soon.
It would be ironic if the party leader who proportionately made most gains in the General Election should fall victim to members' ingratitude. But that is the reality of political life. There is also the risk of a split in Green Party ranks in the wake of the vote result being revealed next Friday. Hence the need to line up some Independent TDs for insurance purposes.
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