Its Over!

It's over. Adam Giambrone pulled the plug on his bid to become mayor on Wednesday (February 10), caught up in.


It’s over. Adam Giambrone pulled the plug on his bid to become mayor on Wednesday (February 10), caught up in a “scandal.” At least that’s what some in the press are calling it.

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Turns out that salacious front-pager Tuesday (February 9) about young Giambrone allegedly getting a leg over on his City Hall office couch, having what he admits was an “inappropriate relationship” with one Kristen Lucas, was only the half of it.

There were other women. Who cares? The bigger problem is that Giambrone showed himself unable to tame the yelping dogs in the press pack out for blood when the first whiff of scandal hit the papers.

“This searing experience has taught me, I hope permanently, that a public career of integrity cannot survive deceit in your private life,” Giambrone told the assembled media.

Where were his advisers?

It shouldn’t matter one iota, of course, who Giambrone’s allegedly diddling, except for the fact that his lapse in judgment has embarrassed his live-in partner, Sarah McQuarrie.

But he compounded his difficulties by not coming clean from the outset.

It made his campaign look bush-league and unprofessional. Can anyone imagine a serious candidate for mayor leaving himself so open?

The big question: did Giambrone’s handlers fumble the ball? Or did Giambrone go rogue on them, too, not telling them there were other skeletons in the closet?

After all, he had some of the smartest people in the biz behind him: John Laschinger, Robin Sears and Patrick Gossage.

Within hours of the Lucas bombshell Tuesday, some in the business of spin were already saying it was hard to see how Giambrone could carry on, given the questions the affair had raised about his ability to think straight.

But the political calculus had been made by the Giambrone team: we’re okay as long as there weren’t more kiss-and-tells. A day is a lifetime in politics, the saying goes. And election day is more than nine months away. Giambrone’s handlers were banking on voters forgetting the entire affair. Besides, too many important people had hitched their wagon to Giambrone’s star.

The textbook way to handle situations like this is to get the aggrieved partner, in this case McQuarrie, onside. Political operatives say sometimes a marriage counsellor is called in to help the political couple in question reach the understanding they need to face the cameras.

If the partner sticks around, a very public matter all of a sudden becomes private. See Bill Clinton. See John Edwards before his most recent screw-up. “We’re working it out. I’ve forgiven Adam. So should you.” End of story.

Only there was no media conference with McQuarrie, no public fence-mending to restore the moral order.

Maybe that would have put an end to the talk of sex, and Giambrone could have lived to fight on.

Instead, his political enemies had a field day, making noises about the TTC head using taxpayer-funded premises for sex. The integrity commissioner had also been asked to look into Lucas’s claim that Giambrone revealed that TTC fares were going up before that info was official. Nothing would probably have come of that, since it was already in the public domain that ticket prices were rising, but it was another nail in the cross for those who wanted to see Giambrone’s mayoral aspirations crucified.

On Wednesday (February 10) it got worse. A producer for one of CFRB’s affiliates went public to say he’d been on a date with Giambrone a couple of years ago, and Giambrone allegedly told him he was bi. I repeat: who cares? None of this would have mattered if Giambrone had laid his cards on the table on day one.

The public might have been ready to forgive if it weren’t for all the equivocating. We expect pols to get caught with their cigars in the nookie jar. Shouldn’t matter as long as they’re competent administrators. Mel Lastman, some will remember, fathered two children out of wedlock and abandoned them, they say.

Rob Ford, another councillor contemplating a run for mayor (one conservative blogger says he’s in for sure), has had his own messy private affairs splashed across front pages. Remember that domestic assault thingy involving his wife a while back?

George Smitherman, the front-runner in the mayoral stakes, can tell some stories about his pills-and-powders days. And has to the press.

Even the usually half-cocked Giorgio Mammoliti was preaching restraint: “It’s his personal life, and I’d rather not be debating each of our personal lives,” he told the Sun Tuesday before more shit hit the fan.

Gotta think that more than a few politicians watching the Giambrone story unfold are thinking to themselves, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

enzom@nowtoronto.com

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