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Jonathan Kay on Rob Ford, mythbuster | Full Comment | National Post

In Canada on September 20, 2010 at 17:14

Jonathan Kay on Rob Ford, mythbuster

  September 20, 2010 – 2:08 pm

The next mayor of Toronto is going to be Rob Ford, a man who I’d formerly always thought of as “that weird city councillor who once chased John Barber out of City Hall.” I won’t presume to predict what kind of mayor he’ll be. But even before taking office, he’s busted up at least five articles of received wisdom regarding Canadian politics.

  1. Municipal politics is boring. Wrong: Ford shows us why it actually can be more interesting. In the federal and provincial arenas, everyone is trying to protect their respective parties’ brand, which is why they’re so risk-averse and backwards-looking.  Thus do federal Liberals endlessly navel-gaze about what “the party of Laurier” would do; and their NDP counterparts slavishly hew to the union party line, as they’ve done for decades. On the provincial level here in Ontario, meanwhile, pundits and pols are still arguing about Mike Harris’ common-sense revolution, and whether the current incarnation of the Tories should be held responsible for Walkerton and Ipperwash. Party-less free-agent loose cannons like Ford on the other hand, don’t have to carry around any of that baggage. Instead, they can mouth off about whatever they feel like — living and dying on the basis of their ideas instead of their brands.
  2. The mass media — or even the new-fangled social media — shapes voters’ opinions. Wrong. For weeks now, the Toronto media has whipped itself into a frenzy about what sort of international laughingstock Toronto would become if this “buffoon” (Google that word alongside “Rob Ford” and you get almost 2,000 hits) were to become mayor. But no one cares. They don’t even care about the YouTube videos showing him freaking out, or those sophmoric Facebook groups with names like “Can this croissant get more fans that Councillor Rob Ford?” All they seem to care about is their visceral conviction that Toronto has been wrecked by the sort of big-spending, union-coddling lefties whom Ford rails against.
  3. The Canadian electorate is easily manipulated by spin doctors and political consultants. A few weeks ago, Rocco Rossi went out and recruited a name-brand political consultant from the old Chrétien-era Liberal machine, a man whom some people tout as a sort of Canadian Dick Morris. The result? Rossi, a Liberal insider hailed as a front-runner when he put his hat into the race — is now polling in single digits, fourth behind Ford, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone. So much for kicking ass in Canadian politics, eh?
  4. People vote strategically. For weeks, the Toronto Star has been making increasingly desperate pleas to its readers to get behind George Smitherman as an anybody-but-Ford candidate. The editors even inserted this plea, indirectly, into their front-page news story today. But in recent weeks, the race really has been nothing more than the also-rans cannibalizing each other’s vote share. Things could change by election day, but all signs point to a many-sliced vote-sharing pizza that has Ford getting one half all to himself.
  5. Suburbanites are from Mars, urbanites are from Venus. Whatever their differences over cars versus public transit, the pro-Ford phenomenon spans the entire GTA —  something I didn’t properly understand till I attended a Yom Kippur fast-breaking party on Saturday, in the elitist enclave of Forest Hill, a place I expected Ford to be a figure of mockery. “I’ll be voting for him,” said my cousin Danny. “I don’t care how polished he is. He knows what’s right.”

National Post
jkay@nationalpost.com


Posted in: Canada, Full Comment  Tags: , ,

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13 comments

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MomThinksImACatch

1:22 PM on September 20, 2010

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The best part of this story is the total loss of media influence in this race. May this be just the beginning of the slide for the mainstream media, which considers itself cheerleaders for political parties, rather than agents of news.

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Ambrose99

1:22 PM on September 20, 2010

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Mr. Ford is a buffoon; is is also a nasty, slimy right-wing creep. No wonder Torontonians are going to vote for him.

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mcp74

1:29 PM on September 20, 2010

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You mean principles count for something? Who knew… 🙂 Ford could teach the CINOs something.

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mtnhowie

1:31 PM on September 20, 2010

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Torontonians voting for a right-wing candidate? Is there another Toronto I’m not aware of?

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Sassylassie

1:37 PM on September 20, 2010

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I’m enjoying watching the Liberal media spew their nonsensical prittle prattle, the unwashed masses are not the ones demanding that our politicians be “Polished passive aggressive liars” no sir-ree-bob our Liberal Media betters are the ones who want the “Slick willies” voted into office. I’ll take an honest hardworking redneck over a polished passive aggressive leftarded politician anyday. Men like Ford helped build this great nation, the polished slime bags use their time in office to enmasse great wealth and to make political contacts to build onto that wealth when they get booted out of office.

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JDS1979

1:39 PM on September 20, 2010

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It’s great to see an “outsider” like Rob Ford doing well. Maybe politics in general could use more bulls like Ford to shake up the establishment china shops that have become such protected bastions of corruption and entitlement. Now, if only we could have term limits for politicians….

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Rhino Party Whip

1:40 PM on September 20, 2010

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points one through four make sense, but my eyebrow went up for number five. It is hardly surprising that the yarmulke set has had it with union-coddling lefties.

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Ivanhoe5

1:44 PM on September 20, 2010

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Ford is the example of what happens when the tax payer sees himself as the victim of the massive waste of money that Toronto has become. I wonder how nervous all of those governments’ funded politically correct organizations are right about now. Say what you like Toronto Star, (or is it the national enquirer?) but Ford has hit a cord with the voter!

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PBL41

1:51 PM on September 20, 2010

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Shades of Sarah Palin. The social engineers and their “big government” lackeys are learning the hard way (and they sure don’t like it) that when the general public gets tired of being raped by the elitist crowd they will turn to the “non-expert” who speaks their language.

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wpeters1

2:04 PM on September 20, 2010

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I’m looking forward to Fords success making its way up the line, all the way to the PM, there are signs Hudak is paying a lot of attention.
Are you all not sick to death of the dead beats touting ‘vision’, ‘big plans’ and ‘new ideas’? All that BS has cost us the tax payers Billions upon Billions. Back to basics Ford is exactly what we need right now and most of the astute folks in Toronto are clearly beginning to see that.

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oldcowboy

2:09 PM on September 20, 2010

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It does appear that Toronto does want to get back on their feet instead of being the place to leave as quickly as possible.

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Rustee24

2:51 PM on September 20, 2010

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JK, if you didn’t understand the Rob Ford phenomenon until this Saturday, you are part of the problem.

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MikeMurphy

3:11 PM on September 20, 2010

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The voters are grumpy and hungry for change. Ford has presented the most cogent case amongst all the candidates that he will effect change that stops the gravy train of lefty cronyism toward its special interests and might deal with the day to day travails of a citizen – like getting from point A to point B in reasonable time amongst other meat and potato issues.

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