With days to go we are confronted with two choices here in the Imperial Capital: The polished millionaire non-entity or the white trash millionaire bruiser. It is in moments like these that the vasty fields of Saskatchewan beckon with unusual strength. What are housing prices like in Regina anyway? What's the price for a Toronto-sized shoe box without the Toronto sized traffic and political idiocy? This used to be a boring city placed within a boring province. It's gotten very interesting of late and in the very worst way. I miss Mel Lastman. Heck I miss Art Eggleton, if such an emotion is even possible.
The Toronto Sun, a usual bastion of populist common sense, has decided to endorse John Tory. Given the farce that has dominated municipal politics these last twelve months I can't blame them. The Fords have become so terribly embarrassing. Vulgar, crude and probably violent as well. Respectable people can no longer abide by the Fords' antics. John Tory could not be more respectable. He says all the right things in all the right ways. The Right respects him, the Left respects him and the Centre looks upon him as a long-lost lover miraculously returned. Who are we to oppose?
What is said of Justin Trudeau might nearly be said of John Tory. The latter is certainly more accomplished and intelligent, but there is too much the whiff of Trinity College about him. His father just happened to work for the Thomsons and he worked for the Rogers. An upward glide through life aided by family connections. No doubt he worked very hard. But there is something too slick about him. An object stylized to slip effortless down a pre-determined path. All the right things to all the right people. Who are we to object?
The right people like him very much. It's the voters, those ignorant bastards, who seem not to understand what an impressive candidate he really is. Any mere mortal with a record of so many spectacular failures would never think of running for Mayor of Stratford much less Toronto. Can you imagine Tim Hudak of wooden memory running for any office anywhere? You can't and his failures were not quite as impressive as those of Mr Tory. Though, of course, Tim Hudak never practiced at a law firm founded by his grandfather. But who are we to criticize?
John Tory would be a very impressive looking and sounding Mayor. He would not stagger drunk down the Danforth or make sexual references about his wife in public. A good WASP from a good family he would never do anything like that. Will he be a good Mayor? No worse than David Miller. And that really is his appeal. A David Miller who limps to the Right.
Then there is Team Ford. Rob, Doug and whichever brother is currently running the family business. I don't think I'd ever invite any of them over for tea. They have a natural ability to alienate those around them. It's almost a talent. They have a flare for screwing things up. Toronto has never seen anything quite like them and will likely never again. A god awful mess. They are, however, the only conservatives running in this election. A house trained Doug Ford would likely do more to trim municipal government than John Tory. The latter needs to be liked but the former doesn't give a damn. Therein lies the difference. One is a carefully managed artifice and the other is a sincere disaster.
What I like most about the Fords is their lying. They lie like children. Attempts at deception, misdirection and deflection are so obvious they have a kind of charm. Beneath the trailer trash manners and the millionaire bank accounts they are actual, albeit deeply flawed, human beings. These are rare enough traits that they should be encouraged.
I don't want a smooth mediocrity bankrupting Toronto, or striking half-baked compromises with the Left. If the Imperial Capital is going to go, let it go with a bang and not a well-heeled whimper. Let's have Doug Ford's fat blond figure standing right in the middle of municipal politics for the next few years. For sheer obstructionism he can't be beat. A clear message to the great and good that there is a mass of people in this city who no have interest in being patronized to.
We will not be Toryed into oblivion.