Hey, ho, way to go, Toronto

WTF?

It was a night of jubilation for Rob Ford, and a night of momentous change for Canada’s largest city.

Good grief.  Our most world-class city has a mayor that looks like Boss Hogg with a bad bleach job.

Seriously…

Separated at birth?

UPDATE: On a more serious philosophical note, I thought this was worth a retweet last night:

26 Responses to “Hey, ho, way to go, Toronto”


  1. 1 Alison Streight Monday, October 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Just in time for Halloween in Hog Town!

  2. 2 Dan Monday, October 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Personally he reminds me more of Matt Foley, Chris Farley’s motivational speaker character.

  3. 3 Brian Monday, October 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    … has a mayor that looks like Boss Hogg …

    Criminy, that’s funny!   I laughed and laughed!   Thanks.

  4. 4 Simon Monday, October 25, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Hmmmmm… Boss Hogg?

    OK. I’m stealing it… 🙂

  5. 5 Peter Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 3:48 am

    JJ, as Freud famously quipped, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Checking out a cross-section of leftist sites addressing Ford, the Tea Party and, of course, the scary HarperCons, I am encountering a lot of mental gears grinding away into the wee hours trying to reveal the hidden racism and nativism, the pathology of the suburbs, the stupidity of the hinterland and the misanthropy of heretics challenging St. Maynard. What I am not seeing is anyone who seems to understand that it all adds up to a very simple and straightforward message to government: Stop spending!!

  6. 6 JJ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Alison, Dan, Brian & Simon – I usually don’t stoop to the sophomoric mockery of a politican’s appearance, and I think people who do it as a matter of course are beyond dumb, because after all, what does it have to do with the issues. But whatever 😉

    My update has something a little more serious to think about…

  7. 7 JJ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Peter – I was born & raised in Toronto, but it’s been 25 years since I actually lived there == things have obviously changed 😆 😯

    I know very little about this race, other than the fact that Ford is not a typical Toronto politician, or even a typical Toronto conservative (which I think of as more the John Tory type). But his message of fiscal austerity says something about what’s important to the voters.

    What I am not seeing is anyone who seems to understand that it all adds up to a very simple and straightforward message to government: Stop spending!!

    Agreed, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and that’s probably the case here. Ford won because of his fiscal conservatism, not in spite of it. While it’s debatable whether he’ll actually be able to do much of what he campaigned on, it speaks to the mood of the electorate.

    It might be time for the progressive left to stop being so stunned by electoral defeats at the hands of *unlikely* conservative candidates, and stop blaming it on the stupidity of the voters. They need to confront the very real communication issues that are behind this trend, let’s call it “the Ford Factor” (see my update). The working class made progressives, and it can un-make them.

  8. 8 Peter Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:38 am

    JJ, re: your update:

    Chris Selley, who is nobody’s fool, went to a candidates’ meeting in the Jane/Finch area, quite expecting to see Ford far from his turf making an ass of himself. He came away very surprised to see how Ford was able to connect with the black/immigrant community, not because of a polished presentation, but simply by raising subjects (almost clumsily) that resonated with their worries about crime and schools. In particular, he was impressed at the positive reception Ford got by emphasizing tough-love schools and the importance of sports in getting kids off the street. Selley contrasted it with his opponent’s drifting in a miasma of “vision” and bike-paths.

  9. 9 Cornelius T. Zen Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Good morrow, all!
    “Stop Spending!”
    Yeah. Right. Gotcha.

    http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/2010/10/24/

    Only in Canada, eh? Not bloody likely – CTZen

  10. 10 Peter Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Very good, but what you may not get, Cornelius, is that many Ford types would get a good laugh out of that without missing a beat. They aren’t saying “Cut back this programme”, they are saying “Stop Spending!” They may be naive and they may live to regret it, but that is what they are saying.

  11. 11 JJ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Peter – And meanwhile the Progressosphere continues to claim that Ford’s election was the result of the voters being dumbasses. Not an attitude calculated to win hearts & minds 😐 It’s as if they think the brainless voting herd needs to be corralled and led back to the liberal barn.

  12. 12 Peter Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Well, it’s natural for most ideologues to see themselves as riding unstoppable waves of truth and light against darkness and evil, and you can see some of that on the right, but there is something deeply ingrained in the modern left’s chronic name-calling and finding ever more desperate ways to intellectually disenfranchise their adversaries. It’s as if every con victory is a personal insult and an offence against history. I suppose it’s easy to do with Alaska governors and Alberta cowboys, but when one sees Kennedy’s seat fall to the Tea Party, Dems running openly against Obama and an ideal male speciman like Ford sweep progressive Canada’s most progressive city, you would think someone might suggest it’s time to get out there and talk to these people to figure out where they are coming from. But debating is hard work and not nearly as much fun as psycho-analyzing, I guess.

  13. 13 Peter Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:39 am

    OTOH, JJ, maybe the left is more in tune with the unveiling of history than I realized. 🙂

  14. 14 croghan27 Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I recall a fellow elected here in Ottawa on a ‘fiscal conservative’ platform ….. no more taxes and services can be maintained by ‘savings’ from the bundles already stashed away.

    The next year we had the 100 year snow storm and could not afford to clear the streets.

    The mythical bundles of cash did not appear and that individual was just replace by a (shudder) Liberal.

  15. 15 jkg Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I think Peter is overstating his fun psychoanalysis just a bit. The fact of the matter is that any supporter will rationalize the defeat of their own. When Paul Martin was elected with a minority government, radio call in shows were more than happy to let disgruntled Conservative voters lament how embarrassed they were and that how voting for the Liberal party was “unCanadian.”

    It’s far easier to buy into dominant narratives that seek to marginalize diverse constituencies in any space. Toronto only looks progressive when your frame of reference is informed mostly by Conservative ideology much in the same way Calgary looks right wing if you are informed in large part by progressive ideology. Yet a close examination would reveal that Toronto is a cross section of multiple views which engage in sort of shifting balance or ebb and flow, for it were as homogeneous as we like to believe, Mel Lastman wouldn’t have been elected and Bay Street would have become as desolated as Montreal’s St. Jacques street following the exodus of the seventies. Ford’s win was simple: He campaigned well and tapped into growing populist resentment against Smitherman who symbolized incumbency.

    Still, I would not characterize it as a sweep with 47 versus 35 between Ford and Smitherman. A sweep looks like this. . This should serve as a cautionary tale for Ford: A successful campaign does not necessarily translate into a successful mayor. This was in large part because O’Brien made some lofty promises with regards to tax relief (“Zero means zero”) and promised that his acumen as an outsider and businessman will help clean up the waste at Ottawa City Hall. This resulted in a 14 percent increase in municipal taxes, a 35 percent increase in transit fares, and a 37 million dollar penalty for abandoning the LRT contract only to replace it with 3 times more expensive albeit bolder plan, which will probably result in cost overruns and will not be completed until 2020. His performance was so terrible that the Ottawa Sun actually endorsed Jim Watson instead of him. However, in 2006, voters overwhelmingly were receptive to his campaign, which is why he took out Bob Chiarelli, the incumbent.

    All in all, no political group has a monopoly over lofty disconnect. This is typically post election sour grapes, jubilation, and of course, rationalization.

  16. 16 JJ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Peter

    Well, it’s natural for most ideologues to see themselves as riding unstoppable waves of truth and light against darkness and evil, and you can see some of that on the right

    Although it’s pretty universal now, I think there was a time when that attitude (“We know better”) was the domain of the right. Then at some point the left adopted it and took it to new levels. Little did we know that we needed so much protection from our own selves. Left-wing paternalism: a lot of old-timer lefties didn’t see that one coming at all 😐

    there is something deeply ingrained in the modern left’s chronic name-calling and finding ever more desperate ways to intellectually disenfranchise their adversaries

    To be honest, my experience is that the name-calling is also pretty universal, although I agree that it’s more pronounced on the left. Conservatives don’t seem to get as much of a laugh out of us as we get out of them.

    Intellectual disenfranchisement is an interesting point, and it does seem to be almost exclusively a lefty thing. I think it’s primarily because the conservative brand has been so systematically dumbed down since the 70s, there’s an abundance of material and it’s hard to resist 😆 (And that doesn’t mean the left has a monopoly on brains — some days when I scroll through Progressive Bloggers I’m just literally 🙄 at some of the dumbness.)

    you would think someone might suggest it’s time to get out there and talk to these people to figure out where they are coming from.

    Not until they lose their dismissive, superior attitudes.

  17. 17 fern hill Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 4:03 am

    I think this is the best explanation for what happened in Toronto and Calgary.

  18. 18 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 5:29 am

    croghan = It seems that Ford has made similarly attractive but ultimately unrealistic fiscal promises that he might not be able to keep, possibly leaving Torontonians with a little Buyer’s Remorse.

    But when a fiscally-austere message like Ford’s gets him 47% of the vote, it doesn’t matter how naive it might be — the voters are saying something that future candidates would be wise not to ignore.

  19. 19 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 5:51 am

    jkg

    Toronto only looks progressive when your frame of reference is informed mostly by Conservative ideology

    Good point. Canada on the whole is slightly right of center, socially liberal but fiscally conservative, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Toronto follows that trend. It wasn’t that long ago that Ontario was known as “OnTORYo”, because it was basically owned by the Progressive Conservatives (electorally and literally), so this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. What is new is Ford’s kind of conservatism — the grassroots populist type — which was never what the PCs were about.

    47% of the vote is not a landslide, but it’s a significant minority of the electorate that’s pissed off about the status quo: loose spending and flaky policies that don’t concern the average Torontonian. (When people are worried about crime and jobs, government really shouldn’t make bicycle paths its priority, as nice as bicycle paths may be.)

    47% shows that a large portion of the electorate decided that Change was the only way to get their issues addressed. Progressives ignore this at their peril.

  20. 20 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 6:11 am

    fern hill – Thanks for the linkie, that’s a great post, with something that I haven’t seen much of on this topic: rationality.

    I’m inclined to agree that there’s a lot of unwarranted progressive hysteria around this guy, with people spazzing out like gerbils on crack and threatening to move or wringing their hands over the highly unlikely possibility that Ford will cut funding for snow removal to the point where the city is a vast snowed-in wasteland during the winter 🙄

    Ford’s agenda, whatever it may be, is not as important as the message the electorate sent.

  21. 21 Peter Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7:57 am

    fern hill’s link was very good. There is a great post by bcl and a good link at Chet’s place too.

    Geez, JJ, with all this reflective rationalism coming from the left, I sure hope some voices on my side will get to this guy soon to warn him to stop slurping his soup and seeing bike-paths as the Devil’s handiwork.

  22. 22 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Peter – 😆
    Speaking of reflective rationalism, I should add to my remark above about “dismissive, superior attitudes” that as much as some of us laugh about it, Iggy had something going with that bus tour. The fact that the bus broke down wouldn’t be a liability with the electorate either.

    I’ve got an old Ford pickup he can have for $5K. “My name’s Mike, and I drive a truck.” Hmmmm…..

  23. 23 Bruce Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’ve been in Toronto long enough to know that trying to rationalize municipal politics here is hopeless. I know some pretty astute political strategists and they shrug their shoulders and try to change the subject.

    It’s not like the world is coming to an end, we survived Lastman, (even with people literally pointing at me and laughing in Montreal), and we’ll survive Ford.

    This city is pretty much run by committee anyway, which is why the same issues that were being argued about when I moved here 28 years ago are still being argued today.

    The biggest difference I can see is nobody can call us “Elite” anymore. Not by a long shot.

  24. 24 greysheep Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Mike Harris and Jim Flaherty were at Ford’s victory party. Shudder.

  25. 25 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Bruce

    nobody can call us “Elite” anymore

    That’s our Brucie, always looking at the upside 😆 😉

    You’re right, Toronto’s world is far from coming to an end. We’ve lived through both conservative and liberal mayors — David Crombie was a PC, and he was one of our most popular mayors evah! — and no apocalypse.

    I envy the editorial cartoonists at the Sun and the Star, though! 😆 Ford has a face made for caricature.

  26. 26 JJ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    greysheep – It doesn’t surprise me at all that there would be a sense of kinship between Ford and Harris. The Harris government’s “common sense revolution” was the beginnning of grassroots conservative populism in Ontario, even though Harris was a PC.


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