Photo by Victor Biro / Alamy
Rob Ford's pick to win the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos, look good to go all the way after this weekend's dismantling of the Patriots. It may be a Mile-High Super Bowl weekend for the mayor two weeks hence.
Betting on football has never been Ford's strongest suit, despite the fact that he claims to have played the game a ton. But these days the odd bet on the U.S. Sports Junkies show is about the only thing helping Ford keep his sanity. That is, when he isn't making a nuisance of himself crashing ice storm recovery meetings with GTA mayors, or showing up on yet another cellphone video shitfaced and speaking in Jamaican patois. That's right, the mayor's gone and embarrassed himself again (See page 19 for the details).
So much for all those hours Ford has been spending working out in the gym that had him thinking that all he has to do to win in 2014 is shed a few pounds. That'll prove to the doubters that he's serious about getting serious about being mayor.
Yup, Ford's got the election thing down. Interesting logic: he has no choice but to make nice, given the trouble he's in, but he wants to set the terms of his redemption. Call it Ford's sidestep program. But while it may be strange to equate weight loss with political rehabilitation, we've seen this script before. It was budget time 2012. It didn't work then for Ford and losing weight won't make him any fitter to hold office now.
Some media friends still believe Ford can lay rightful claim to the mayor's chair despite his having been stripped of his powers. Undaunted by the loss of almost all his support on council, they saw his performance during the ice storm as his comeback. The rest of us alleged Ford haters are just suffering from Rob Ford Derangement Syndrome.
Twitter trolls and Ford Nationalists are back with a vengeance online. They've taken up the cause with renewed vigor in a social media effort reminiscent of the heady days of Ford's 2010 mayoralty run. Apparently, he wasn't kidding when he said it would be war.
And yet outside of the hardcore, does anybody care what Ford has to say? How many believe in that economic boom the mayor is trying to sell in the face of record unemployment in Toronto?
The business class is looking past Ford for someone to lead the Big-C Conservative charge in 2014. The Toronto Region Board of Trade's Think Twice, Vote Once campaign sure smells like a declaration to the public at large that the business case can't be made for Ford as mayor.
Speaking of the important business of the city, that was an interesting radio conversation on Monday, January 20, between Olivia Chow and John Tory, the (undeclared) frontrunners, the polls tell us, in the race to replace Ford. Chow was appearing on Tory's Live Drive to flog her new book, My Journey.
As political debates go, it wasn't all that exciting. The striking thing about it was the tone, which was downright conciliatory. It's the way politics is supposed to be - earnest and maybe a little boring for most.
Certainly, it was a tad deceptive. The camps behind the two potential candidates have been busy behind the scenes running recon missions aimed at stopping the other from running. A tricky thing, politics.
But for a moment, at least, those listening in could imagine what a mayoral race with Chow and Tory in it might sound and look like. Somehow, I couldn't see Ford in that picture as anything but out of place and out of his depth.
On the agenda at this week's Economic Development Committee meeting was a possible 2024 Olympics bid, but a funny thing happened. The committee voted unanimously against it and talked instead about the need for more money for public transit and affordable housing, two areas in which the Ford administration has dropped the ball.
The fact that it's an election year may explain this new emphasis on investment in services at City Hall as opposed to the cuts mantra Ford rode into office. The budget fight Ford is spoiling for at council is poised to fizzle.
If Ford really wants to cut the waste, he'll do us all a favour and drop out of the race.