Monday, August 16, 2010

Why Rob Ford Could Win

The Toronto mayoral election is a pretty depressing and sordid affair. In fact, affair is the appropriate word to begin a post on the Toronto election since the candidate of the "left" - Adam Giambrone - was forced to resign after it was discovered that he was texting naughty messages to a media inclined, young actress. Apparently she thought it was a little hypocritical for Giambrone to paint himself all senatorial by suddenly appearing with his girlfriend when he was secretly schtupping her on the office couch. Fair enough.

And, sad to say, that's a fair enough symptom of why Rob Ford may well win the mayoral election.

The left on city council - the people I have voted for since I voted in elections - alternate between being as respectable as an urban lawyer who shops at Pottery Barn and drinks fair trade coffee, and dull as dishwater. The only time they do anything political of note is when they trailed behind the frothing-at-the-mouth duo of Ford and Mammolitti after the G20. Every single one of them voted to congratulate the police.

Well, here's some news to the politicians: we've been suffering through a recession, we've been losing jobs and seeing house prices go through the roof simultaneously. People are angry and feel, with good reason, that the politicians are mealy-mouthed, pocket-stuffing, opportunists with no vision, no spine and no principles. And, like it or not, Rob Ford speaks to the anger that people feel.

I mean, look at his political opponents.

George Smitherman - come on, people. The only thing "progressive" that this guy has going for him is that he's gay. He's thoroughly establishment in outlook. Pink Bourgeoisie, you could say. His politics really aren't that much different from Ford's in substance - except that he smells like a snobby, urban lawyer who shops at Pottery Barn, etc.

Joe Pantalone - who? A nice guy with a decent record (though he voted for the police after they put a choke hold on democratic rights). His only achievement in this election will be to change the famous aphorism about nice guys to "nice guys finish third".

The other candidates are "also rans" and not worth much discussion.

That leaves us with the thoroughly odious motherf****er, Rob Ford. I grew up in Downsview, which is part of North York, so have a long memory of a certain Mr Mel Lastman. Then I moved downtown to escape my childhood stomping ground only to have that bloody carpet salesman follow me like a venereal disease. However, looking at Ford as mayor makes me long for Mel. Ford lacks the charm of Mel Lastman, who was like an affable but slightly demented and criminally inclined uncle that was fun at family reunions. Sure, you wouldn't want him as the family spokesperson but he could be counted upon to make you spray food out your nose with his off-colour, slightly offensive jokes.

Ford isn't even a clown - except maybe in the Stephen King sense of the word. Ford is like one of those sociopathic teenagers who shoot cats with pellet guns for the pleasure of causing pain to another living creature. Sadly, sometimes such sociopathy appeals to people for one simple reason: if you can't fight the people above you, kick the people beneath you who are weaker.

Let's face it, the union movement did sweet-f**k-all to resist the recession. Even the once mighty Canadian Auto Workers, who split from their American kin because they were militantly opposed to concessions contracts, offered up their members' veins for a good bleeding. The NDP are a part of Joe Pantalones. 'Nuff said. In other words those organizations and movements that ought to have shown an alternative to the smash-and-grab neo-liberalism of the Harper Tories and McGuinty Liberals and corporate Canada - have done nothing. There have been some noble attempts by trade unionists closer to the ground but the official union movement - the CLC, the OFL, the national unions - have all turtled.

Rob Ford is the ghastly result of that failure.

I can already hear all my lefty friends, particularly of the NDP variety, bemoaning the victory of Rob Ford on election night. I've already heard people saying that they will move out of the city (to go where? Calgary?). It will be a drag but Ford is a buffoon and he's not the candidate of the Toronto bourgeoisie, who want Smitherman. Ford is also despised on city council, whereas Mel knew how to build alliances. I mean, this is a guy who was thrown out of a sports game for picking a fight. He's hardly got the temperament to navigate Toronto city council. I don't think that anyone should be complacent and the movements ought to start fighting him now. But I predict that he will be the best enemy money could buy. Within six months a sizable chunk of every class in this city will want to destroy him.

Amplify’d from

James: Despite attacks, Rob Ford’s simple message takes hold


By Royson James
City Columnist
The leading mayoral candidates have so far shown a stunning lack of understanding of the force that fuels Rob Ford’s unlikely grip on the Toronto mayor’s race.
They call him names. They mock him. They tell anyone with a microphone and a pen that the rambunctious councillor is a buffoon with foot-in-mouth disease, a one-trick pony incapable of competing in the sophisticated world Toronto must navigate.
As if the voters don’t know this already. Ford’s been a councillor for 10 years. His file of verbal indiscretions is thick and well worn.
In fact, with every effort like George Smitherrman’s launch of the website, intended to showcase the celebrated gaffes of the councillor from Etobicoke North, Ford gains in popularity.

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