This real-life reality show has been playing out almost non-stop for years now, ever since the day Ford was elected in a landslide.
Get in the car, turn on the TV, walk past the newspaper boxes, and there it is again:
Rob Ford yelled at this person and broke some ethics rule (or maybe not) and was videotaped staggering around drunk at a street festival and so on and so forth.
As far as the Canada’s establishment elite are concerned, even if Rob Ford had never done any of the things they’ve accused him of, he’s committed far more serious crimes anyhow:
He’s not the most articulate guy in public life.
His family owns a pretty successful business.
He talks a lot about cutting taxes and spending.
And worst of all:
He’s fat. (I’m not kidding: Just watch the video below.)
But now Rob Ford has admitted, on camera, on the record, to smoking crack.
Sounds like a game changer, if not ender.
Except that, as foreign and domestic pundits alike delight in pointing out, Ford’s popularity rose a few percentage points after his confession.
Quite simply, Ford is one of those political figures (like Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Ann Coulter) with a fiercely loyal fan base and an equally large army of rabid enemies.
These individuals strike a tribal chord that’s beyond the reach of rational facts.
So to his admirers and detractors, Rob Ford represents… something.
Just don’t ask any of them to clearly articulate what.
On the “anti” side, take my friends who’ve foolishly left their homes during the last week or so. Inevitably — this is Toronto after all — they run into “progressive” friends and strangers.
These unhinged lefties insist that Toronto is suddenly “going down the toilet.”
It doesn’t matter if you point out that, for one thing, all public services — particularly the garbage pickup privatized by Ford himself — have continued without interruption despite Ford’s crack smoking and other shenanigans.
“Jon Stewart is laughing at us” was, I kid you not, the most coherent reply any of my “right-wing” pals has so far been granted.
(I call this “Going Full Mrs. White”; Carrie’s mom was insane, remember…?)
Or take Jonah Goldberg.
Rarely at a loss, his hilarious tweet this week was Shaker-esque in its quiet, matter-of-fact simplicity:
The photo, above, shows the mayor of Toronto — the world’s most tolerant and diverse city, according to itself — at yet another Gay Pride thingie.
He looks like a toddler who’s been ordered to kiss yucky Aunt Agnes.
That is, he looks the way thousands of “silent majority” Torontonians feel every time Gay Pride
Day Week Month rolls around, when downtown is off limits unless you want to see naked men parade down the main, er, drag for hours, with a friendly police escort no less, all of them partying at public expense.
Many of these “Ford Nation” followers sincerely believe that, even on crack, the uncouth populist Ford has run the city more competently than his champagne-socialist predecessors.
It’s also pretty rich to watch the media clutch their collective pearls about Ford’s drug use.
Some of these same reporters have lectured us for years that what JFK or Clinton did “in their private life” was their own business, criminals should “get second chances,” and hey, drugs should be legalized anyhow.
Those of us who know for a fact that many of Ford’s most vocal critics are current or former drug users, however, must keep our mouths shut lest we be sued.
Toronto blogger Richard Klagsbrun, who worked in the Canadian film and television industry for years, recently posted this:
What about the married Canadian political party leader who frequented Gay bathhouses and tried to pick up underage boys? Many in the media know of that, but covered it up. (…)
[P]erhaps it would be helpful to expose which Toronto news anchorwoman worked as a call girl. After all, the trauma may be affecting her and the way she does her job still and I just want her to get help.
Or how about those married folk at The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail who are having affairs with their married colleagues, or the married CBC producers having affairs with their junior staffers?
Or what about some of the deviant sexual practices of some members of Toronto’s City Council and some of the MPPs at Queen’s Park?
There’s more media malpractice at work.
Perhaps you’ve heard of The Other Other Video, the one showing Rob Ford “making death threats.”
Except that, as I and others have pointed out, Ford is simply doing an admittedly inept Hulk Hogan imitation. See, Ford had been scheduled to appear in an arm wrestling photo op with the wrestler at a forthcoming Toronto Fan Expo.
I guess it’s beneath elite journalists to learn anything about the pop culture diversions enjoyed by the peasantry.
Like so many Torontonians, I dearly hope Rob Ford gets help for the addictions and dependencies that will kill him if left untreated much longer.
My reasons are selfish:
I want him to run again next year and get re-elected in an even bigger landslide than the one before.
I love the sound of hundreds of socialist heads exploding at dusk as the returns come in.
It will sound like… victory.