Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Few Thinks I Think

I know that you have all been waiting with absolute bated breath on my opinions on the latest and sleaziest scandals in cesspool politics. So without further we go.

I think....that Rob Ford is a horrible mayor. Not because I truly believe that he is a doped out crackhead and not because he is a boorish oaf with the social graces of a baboon. Believe me, we have had politicians on both sides of the border and on all sides of the political spectrum who have been just as messed up and just as boorish. No, I think that Rob Ford is a horrendous mayor because he simply has no skills in the art of compromise. Municipal politics is at its core about the art of the deal and Mayor Ford is totally inept at the game. It is almost like council is playing chess and he is using checkers' pieces. Budget issues, transit issues, casino issues, waterfront issues...the mayor has been dealt defeat after defeat even when he had the support of many in the "mushy middle", and even when his approval ratings were so high as to intimidate many on council into perhaps supporting his positions for fear of electoral retribution. Rob Ford is a horrible mayor because he allows his successes and his agenda to be obscured by his personal foibles and he has no leadership abilities at all.

I think....that bullying is not leadership.

I think....that Rob Ford is the mayor and that we should stop caring or listening to what Doug Ford says or thinks unless he is your councillor from Etobicoke.

I think....that part of the job of mayor is to be the public face of the city both within its borders and to the world at large. It does matter when the mayor shows up to a function dishevelled, unprepared, unschooled, and uttering incoherent and possibly insulting statements. It reflects badly on our city and worse, on the people who voted for him. For those of you who think that the only job that the mayor has is to watch out for you tax dollars and build you a subway, I would counter that if this is the case then we should stop inviting the mayor to city functions and we should stop expecting him/her to be the city's number one cheerleader.

I think....that people should stop comparing the mayor's bad behaviour to other politician's bad behaviour. It is a straw man's argument that obscures the real problems facing this mayor and this city.

and just for the record...

I think.... that Dalton McGuinty's cancelling of the gas plants was disgraceful, disgusting, extraordinarily wasteful, and politics at its worst. I also think that the IRS scandal south of border is repulsive even though I am a strong opponent of the Tea Party and it's ideals, and I think that the AP spying scandal is an infringement on a free and independent press. Just in case you all thought that my Rob Ford rantings were simply a product of my liberal-leaning views, I take these positions as a matter of course about the cynical and underhanded manner in which politics, all politics, is conducted these days.

I think....that the Toronto Star jumped the gun in publishing the video story. I understand that they were (in their minds) preempted by Gawker, but even though they had been working for months on the story and had two excellent investigative journalists on the job, in my opinion they simply didn't yet have the goods. That isn't to say that the recording (can we please stop calling it a tape. So 1980s!) doesn't exist or that the story isn't accurate, I'm just positing the theory that without Gawker, The Star might have waited until they had more ducks in a row.

And while we are at it....

I think....that people should stop asking reporters if they could bear up to the same scrutiny as the mayor. Who gives a shit? It is irrelevant. Reporters aren't public officials being paid by the taxpayers. If a reporter shows up to work tanked, it is up to his/her boss to determine job action, not the general public. But in the case of the mayor, the general public is the mayor's boss. The comparison is utter nonsense.

And I think....that politicians in general should stop blaming the media for all of their troubles. Is there media bias? Maybe. But, it is the media's job to follow our elected officials and it is the media's job to report it all...good and bad. If politicians want better and friendlier relationships with the media, a good first step might be (oh...I don't know...) to talk to them and answer their questions straight up and forthrightly. In the absence of real communication, the press and the public are making up their own versions of the events. In the words of the great Aaron Sorkin through his characters in The American President:

Lewis Rothschild: They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

I think....that any politician who thinks that they aren't constantly being photographed, recorded, tweeted, or written about should seriously consider a different line of work. This is the nature of 21st century politics and public life. Deal with it.

I think....that while I am loathe to admit it, I do not believe in a recall system for our elected officials that falls short of a criminal act. I agree that this mayor has fallen well short of expectations in his job, and I also agree that if he were in the private sector his ass would have been toast a long time ago, but that simply isn't the same for a democratically elected public official. Recalls (and impeachments) have created havoc in the United States and are often used for the most partisan and baseless reasons. The bar for evicting a mayor should be high. That said....I do think that we are almost at that bar.

I think....that a non-denial denial is not a denial.

I think....that a non-apology apology is not an apology.

I think....that ideologues on both sides of the political spectrum are hurting the cause of real progress and real change.

I think....that Rob Ford shouldn't be concerned about a challenge from his left, but rather a challenge from his right. I believe that the backroom conservative money people are desperately trying to find a candidate to run in 2014 that will be credible, intelligent, and can push forward the agenda without the circus of Rob Ford. I can't believe that anybody actually believes that we will see any high profile conservatives step forward to endorse Mr. Ford next year and come up with cash for the coffers. Tim Hudak will be AWOL this summer at the Ford family barbecue as will Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Flaherty. They simply cannot afford the political flak. My money is on a high profile person with conservative bona fides stepping forward to take on the mayor next year. And....

I think....that this person will win.

So there you have it. Remember. MY OPINION. If you do not agree, ok. But if you do choose to comment I ask for you to be polite, not snarky, not sanctimonious, and please show some intelligence. If you cannot adhere to those rules, I will simply flush your comment. My space, my rules.


  1. I largely agree with you. But as far as the Star goes, given that this is an important story, and that they are unprepared (justifiably so) to pay for the video, I'm not sure that there would have ever been a time when they could go forward with more evidence. Even the Globe & Mail, whose article is 18 months in the making, is filled with unnamed sources about much less damning information.
    And while I'm at it, I do think that The Globe was reprehensible in dragging the non-political members of the Ford family's history into this.

    1. You may be correct about the Star, but I am just wondering if there was more that they were waiting on that has not disappeared into the ether due to the publicity the story has generated. I wholeheartedly agree about the Globe and the non-political members of the Ford family.