Even when trying to make a valid point...
He says he's had some "standoffs" with raccoons outside his home, and that his children and wife refuse to take out the trash because they're scared of the animals.
Ford says he has been scared by raccoons in some of his "run-ins" with the animals while dealing with garbage in his yard at night.
He says "you could yell and scream at them but they just look at you."
What must be going through the minds of Etobicoke's raccoons? Rummaging through garbage, stealing the odd scrap of food and then, suddenly, the mayor appears in all his splendor. There he stands, yelling at you as if you were a common reporter! Though in fairness reporters tend not to have the same ethical standards as raccoons. There are certain things a raccoon would never touch.
Speaking of things that are irritating and mildly dangerous let's move onto Justin Trudeau. As long time readers are aware everything in Canada, yes including your life and mine, hang upon the words and deeds of the Once and Future Prime Minister. He is in our thoughts and in our hearts daily. At least if you're working in the Press Gallery which has, since the elevation of the Princeling, surrendered itself to the spin of the Trudeau Camp. So when Justin says something very stupid he is quite naturally ignored.
Let us give a moment of thanks to the Sun News Network. Yes their pursuit of Justin can be a tad too determined but, as the saying goes, someone really has to do it.
Over the last year, as Rob Ford's stock has fallen and Justin Trudeau's has soared to new media driven heights, your humble correspondent has been fascinated. These men are not, as they seem, polar opposites. They are in fact quite similar. It's only the surface features that are different. Let's review:
Neither man is especially bright. Ford has a BA in political science from Carleton which is, only technically, a university. Trudeau did, in fairness, attempt an engineering degree so we'll give him the edge when it comes to smarts. Perhaps he is one of those men who is cleverer with numbers than with words. Whatever their actual differences in raw intellectual power both men are surprisingly inarticulate.
This is obvious with Rob Ford who treats the English language like a sailor treats a Marseilles whore. With Justin it's a bit harder to detect because he doesn't actually sound dumb, he merely says dumb things. It's a clever trick managed by many practiced politician; the ability to sound more intelligent than you are while disclosing nothing in particular. He speaks mostly in platitudes and when he is forced off the Buy the World a Coke routine he fumbles badly. This suggests that he has been well rehearsed. By whom is a matter of debate.
Then there is the vision thing, to borrow from the Elder Bush. Rob Ford's vision is to stop the Gravy Train. What is the Gravy Train? As far as can be made out it's over the top spending at Toronto's City Hall. This he has mostly accomplished. Beyond the Gravy Train we get a little lost. There is little in the way of a comprehensive program of reform. It's a kind of inarticulate rage at government that never coalesces into a clear goal. Once the minor privatizations and ritual sackings are done with, what's next? What is Rob Ford vision for Toronto? Subways are nice but a big city needs more than tunnels to Scarborough.
If Rob Ford is angry at something he can't really explain, Justin is optimistic about something he has no clue about. This is one of their few real differences. Rob Rages and Justin Soothes. Neither is saying much of anything, but the latter sounds very nice while doing so. The former rants about Fat Cats and the latter about how cute kittens can save the country. Both men are, in sense, speaking in platitudes. The questions is what kind of platitudes do you prefer? Angry or vapid?
Many on the Right have rallied around Ford because he seems to be the least worst option. For many on the Left the attraction of Justin is not Justin, it's that Justin seems smooth enough that he might glide past Stephen Harper and into 24 Sussex. They are mascots for a petty partisan war that will dominate the news for the next few years.
You'll be missing Paul Martin in no time.