Oh, dear. Here we go again:
Mr. Ford appears to have relied on at least two mayor’s office employees and their taxpayer-funded cellphones to help administer the summer football teams he founded after winning Toronto’s top political job.
He has also hired Andrew Gillis, the former quarterback of the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues football squad, to work as a “special assistant” in his office, The Globe and Mail has learned.
On Tuesday, Mr. Gillis’s day included donning a T-shirt and ball cap to help Mr. Ford lead the Don Bosco Eagles in a practice that started around 3:30 p.m. at the high-school team’s home field in Etobicoke.
I've defended him for over two years now. The media wasn't giving him a fair shake. He's not a great communicator but he works very hard. Forget the small stuff, he's taking on the unions and trying to reign in city government. Without Rob Ford the City of Toronto's government, filled with Leftist pols and their fellow travellers, would soon bankrupt itself. For all his faults his clumsiness is far preferable to David Miller's smugness.
The years have passed and the sad truth is this: There is no substitute for professionalism. Whatever Rob Ford's virtues, he is not a professional. Yes, he works very hard. Yes, his extracurricular activities are laudable. Yes, he's got the right ideas and is pushing them as best he can. That might not be enough. Politics is a profession, albeit a low one, with its own rules, rhetoric and quirks. Well meaning amateurs tend to get steamrolled. The Mayor of Toronto is being steamrolled.
The MSM hates him passionately. Then again they hate a lot of people passionately. To hear a born and breed Toronto Leftist rant is to see hate raised to an art form. Stephen Harper and Mike Harris were evil right-wing monsters, but they at least looked liked leaders. It is difficult to imagine Stephen of Leaside ducking out of Question Period to coach a hockey game, something which he would probably enjoy. Entrusted with great responsibilities the holder of high office is suppose to, well, behave responsibly. That is what the MSM can never forgive, the Mayor is an embarrassment.
Why, oh why, couldn't they have Naheed Nenshi be their mayor? Why do those rednecks in Calgary have all the luck?
It is remarkable that Rob Ford, a man so lacking in charisma, so bereft of media skill should have found himself mayor of the largest city in Canada. We went in moments from the slick smugness of Mayor Miller to the Country Bumpkin Routine of Mayor Ford. Smoothness is typically an essential trait of the successful politician. Rob Ford lacks this. It seems to pain him to make eye contact with a reporter or with the cameras. That large round head is magnetically attracted to his feet. Even when lying the Mayor is clumsy, like a small child who has yet to learn how to deceive his elders in a half way convincing manner. You laugh at the charm rather than get angry at the deception.
None of these are grave personal faults. Many a good man has been inarticulate in mouth and body yet been a benefactor to his family, friends and community. What is exceedingly rare is that such a being should find himself in elected office. That a histrionic media hound like Justin Trudeau should be an MP is to be expected. Like a moth drawn to the camera lights. What the heck is Rob Ford doing in politics? How the hell did he get elected lacking virtually all the required personality traits?
What lurks in the soul of the Mayor is beyond this blog post. What is evident to even casual observers of Toronto politics is that in 2010 the electorate was desperate. City Council has for years been dominated by smooth interchangeable non-entities sprinkled with crazy nuts, the Right-wing nuts attracting far more attention than their Left-wing compatriots. The refrain from the electorate was a simple one: We're paying for this?
Not just the Council, which is a bizarre cross between a university seminar and an atonal rendering of Gilbert and Sullivan. The vast outreaches of the municipal bureaucracy have breed a considerable folklore, reinforced by the odd media report, that Toronto's public servants feasted while their private sector counterparts fasted. Municipal councillors with limousines and drivers. Layer upon imponderable layer of paper shuffling bureaucracy. All topped off with a PR office that dripped of multiculturalized and environmentalized smugness. For Torontonians to find you insufferably smug, something truly exceptional is required.
Then appears in their midst Rob Ford, a large blond man with an inordinate fondness for greasy foods in a city where, if they could, tofu would be piped through the taps. Here was a member of the political class who had not spent his youth thinking about a political career, that he had once been young and stupid enough to have been caught with marijuana and an above legal BAC. A man who looked as normal, flawed and clumsy as much of the typically apathetic municipal electorate. Some miracle of the political process had placed in high office an actual human being.
Now our all too human mayor is undermining the good work he is doing, by the clumsy way he is going about it. Political capital, always so scarce for a Right-leaning pol, is being wasted on non-issues. The Mayor generates, seemingly everyday, a new unforced error. These are very expensive failings, expensive politically and financial. Expensive in the time being wasted that might be spent trimming the municipal Leviathan.
There is no substitute for professionalism.