BRIAN Cowen threw down the gauntlet to his naysayers last Sunday evening, laying down a motion of confidence in his own leadership which he came through last night.
What's taking place now is all about the future of the Fianna Fail party, and how it is going to emerge in the post election period. The events of the last week suggest that it has inflicted further damage on itself.
Cowen is playing for time, and the chance to lead the party into the next election. To an extent he is trying to shape what's left of his time in office for posterity, and at least be seen to have gone down fighting.
In that respect he is no different from any incumbent of high office anywhere. However, it is not far too late in the day.
The leadership contest now underway in Fianna Fail pales in comparison to the heaves of old. And besides it is only to decide a very short terms future, with an election only eight weeks away, and maybe less.
Then, if any thing can ever be certain in office, there will almost certainly be a new government and a new opposition.
Last week, and the revelations concering that now infamous golf outing in 2008 only served to reinforce what a spent force this whole government has become.
Image can be everything, and in this sense what was discussed or not on the putting greeens is of no real consequence.
Rather the notion of this collection of individuals playing golf, consolidated the old notion of golden circles and cosy cartels.
This is Cowen's real failure, augmented of course by the fact that at the time this round of golf took place, everything was beginning to go south.