Layman's Lens

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Rob Ford…underdog?

with 8 comments

The problem with pulling for the underdog becomes confusing if the underdog takes the lead...

It looks like Rob Ford is going to be the next mayor of Toronto. The Star reported that Ford has 45.8 per cent of voters support with Smitherman in a distant second place with 21.3 per cent. ( Joe Pantalone has 16.8 per cent; Rocco Rossi — 9.7 per cent; and Sarah Thomson — 6.4 per cent.) I have to say, I’m very unhappy about this and urge everyone to vote for Smitherman because I’m afraid of the damage Ford will do to Toronto if elected. My main concern is scraping Transit City plans for a subway to Scarborough.

However, I’m also dismayed by some of the media’s tactics to stereotype and vilify his character (particularly the Star). It started with articles where Ford’s history of drunk driving and marijuana charges were aired along with a coaching gig he may have been fired from. The most recent, and also the most openly vile was Heather Mallick’s attack where she refered to him as an “…angry, pink-faced man with the oversized head…” in the Star. She goes onto ellude to him as a “sweaty, beer-smelling oik”. Would Mallick be using similar analogies if Ford were a woman? Jebus.

Ford is winning because he’s running a solid campaign and he’s authentic. He has a simple message about fiscal accountability that he truly believes in. He actually did save the taxpayers over a million dollars by being thrifty with his office expenses. He knows who his voters are and he isn’t afraid to speak directly to them. It’s the sort of underdog story made for the movies, really. Part of me will want to congratulate him if he wins. I can’t help cheering for the underdog. But I hate what he stands for, so I’ll vote for Smitherman. Not because I particularly like him, but only because he’s the only chance we have to beat Ford.


Written by Tilak Dutta

September 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Rob Ford

8 Responses

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  1. I don’t follow Toronto politics all that closely but my impression is that years of listless liberal leadership (David Miller) causes a rebound the following election towards the grandstanding conservative buffoon. (Exhibit A: Bob Rae’s NDP followed by Mike Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution”, Exhibit B: What’s going to happen to Obama) It reminds me of our discussion of whether you would support an incompetent liberal politician or a competent conservative. I think you forget that a consequence of electing a poor leader on one side is that you’re likely to get one of the other side’s clowns the next term. Let me throw this hypothetical out there: Do you think the US would be better off with 8 years of McCain followed by McCain/Romney/Clinton or 4 years of Obama followed by 4 years of Palin?


    September 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  2. Ford will never get full council backing on most of his more outrageous ideas. His ideas that are more subdued will squeak past. However, its comments from Howard Moscoe that show who in council are the most immature by stating ‘If the people vote Ford then we’ll just elect our own mayor regardless of the public’s wants. Ford will be mayor in title only’.
    People, by general consensus, are backing Ford because they are fed up with the entitled attitude that is plaguing many politicians. Does Sandra Bussin’s sponsorship of a soccer team in her district ring a bell? Yes admirable that she gave money when they were short-falled, but disgusting that in her lauding herself as local hero that she went and submitted it as part of her budgetary expense.
    Smitherman’s political career should have been dead and buried after e-Health and the ‘I’ll wear a diaper and show its no big deal’ fiasco.


    September 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

    • I don’t konw about full council backing…but Ford seems to be making some friends on council. I think Mammoliti, Grande and Nunziata are supporters. And I expect he’ll get some band wagon jumpers if he wins. But I guess he’ll need 23 to get votes though council.

      Tilak Dutta

      September 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

  3. Rob Ford brings a lot of outrage to the table. Outrage seems to sell pretty well. I’d like to see at least one candidate would either stop pretending that he or she is an expert in all fields, or actually show me some numbers to back up their claims. You want to axe transit, or subsidize transit? That’s pretty superficial if you don’t understand how or why our transit evolved to where it is now, or if you don’t understand the problems you’re about to dump on either your accountants or your urban planners.

    I’m waiting, perhaps in vain, for a candidate to step out and show me that they understand how population density and distribution is linked to infrastructure planning, or how they plan to negotiate with unions, or what their plans for attracting business are, or in Rob Ford’s case, how he plans to meet with and individually solve the problems of all 3 million Toronto residents. In fact, I think I’d settle at this point for someone who can print out a very general balance sheet that shows me what they’re planning to do (i.e. cut service A which has a 1% utilization rate, reduce service B which is in the top 0.1% of cost per use). I don’t think I’ve ever been this unimpressed with ALL candidates in an election!


    September 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    • I’m with you Victor. I was really hoping for someone else to step up. But alas…the best we’re getting is Smitherman.

      Tilak Dutta

      September 23, 2010 at 10:42 am

  4. I still don’t understand… compare Ford’s website to Smitherman’s or any other candidate, he has no vision for the city and very few ideas. He starts off saying the city overspends, the budget having ballooned by 3 billion dollars, yet his response is to reduce the number of councillors from 44 to 22, and reducing staff and office budgets. This by generous estimates (his) would save a total of ~$16 million, a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile increasing the workload and decreasing the budgets of the people running the city so drastically at the same time doesn’t strike me as a great idea. Especially since his office budget is $0 because he pays all his office expenses out of pocket, having pamphlets printed by his family’s printing business. The point of a salary and office budget is to ensure that highly qualified people are enticed into running for councillor, reducing that is of dubious benefit. Even if this was a good idea and he does get elected, he’s not going to be able to get the council votes to go ahead with this anyways.
    He then goes on to suggest a few token things such as adding police officers to schools and to combat gun/gang crime, and then says the costs are offset by the loss of councillors, which means his plan isn’t actually saving any money.
    One of his main promises is that city hall workers are going to be nicer under him, giving no plan on how he’s going to ensure this. How can this be taken seriously?
    Are people really voting him just for the reduced # of councillors, abolishing the land transfer tax and elimination of the vehicle registration fee?
    Or in order to change Toronto’s motto from “Diversity Our Strength” to something less welcoming?
    I’m confused.

    Rob Brown

    September 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    • My guess is that he’s getting so much attention because he’s different. It makes him remarkable. I think most voters don’t give much weight to the details of the ‘how’ or the ‘what’ he says he’s going to do. It’s about the ‘why’. The why seems to resonate with voters and they like the feel of him.

      Tilak Dutta

      September 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

      • This talk was a revelation to me a while ago. The point that Simon Sinek’s bashes us over the head with over and over is “people don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it”. I think this explains the Rob Ford phenomena:

        Tilak Dutta

        September 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

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