I no longer live in Toronto, so the question of who occupies the Mayor’s seat on council isn’t of direct concern to me, but I do find the worldwide attention to Rob Ford’s antics to be amusing … the great and the good of downtown Toronto always wanted to be internationally known, but not like this. Richard Anderson wonders how the Rob Ford problem can be solved:
There are other conservatives on City Council, quite a few actually. The impression that Toronto is run by crazy Leftists is an exaggeration. Most of the former suburbs, such as North York and Etobicoke, send fairly right-leaning pols to Council. The Lefty nutters are mostly concentrated in the downtown area. There is something about high urban density that allows such beings to exists. In free open spaces they would likely die from lack of WiFi.
The more polished conservatives are too polite to say what needs to be said, too afraid of offending some crucial though obscure voting block. Their personalities are too cautious, too constrained to genuinely connect with the voters. Their language too careful to say anything clear. They censor themselves until nothing remains except a moderate with a slight rightward limp.
With Rob Ford there is only Rob Ford. This vulgar beast of a man who is what he is. There is no artifice. His frequent lies have a childlike obviousness that defies satire and even compels pity. An awkward Falstaff stumbling through the life of a city that, well within living memory, was called Toronto the Good. Yet there he is. A very sick, very brave man who tried hard to do his best. A tormented man who served his city well until he destroyed himself. The MSM often criticizes those on the Right for their alleged callousness toward the flawed and weak, yet they have shown no mercy to this man. Had his politics been different they would have hailed him as a hero.
What comes after? Someone smoother, more polished in their deceits, yet ultimately a timorous non-entity or a craven power luster. Rob Ford must go. Yet there is no one better to replace him.
The Toronto Star and the usual selection of community activists have been gunning for Ford since the start of the last election, but it’s taken Ford’s own errors of judgement and amazing lack of self-control to give them their best opportunities to attack. Each time he appeared to be finished, and each time he somehow managed to come back. I don’t know if he’ll be able to come back from his latest set of self-inflicted wounds, but if there’s any way to survive, Ford might do it. His opponents must feel they’re fighting a modern hydra-headed monster…
Update: Rick Mercer doesn’t like Rob Ford at all, but he recognizes why Ford got to be Mayor in the first place.
Update, the second: Camille Paglia was asked about the Rob Ford situation:
Once you have become the centre of a conflict in a complex governmental enterprise you have the obligation to resign. Why are all the energies of one of the world’s great cities being absorbed in the psychodrama of an adolescent personality? I think an honourable man would resign. It’s like a reality show. I think it’s terrible for the city of Toronto and Canada. I’ve heard some anti-Canadian things [in the States], some mocking things about Canada. I don’t think people are saying, ‘oh what a wonderful rollicking place! What a fun place!’ There’s a sense of ‘how is this happening in a major city’? It seems like chaos, like a reductive lowering. It’s very debasing.