Mayor Ford on Newstalk 1010, mass communicatin'.
Between Mayor Rob Ford pretending it was a "busy and productive week" at City Hall, and big brother Doug trying to convince us of the non-existent billion saved by the Ford admin (he'll bring the numbers to next week's show), it was business as usual on the Rob and Doug radio show Sunday.
Which is to say that the airwaves were being clogged with copious amounts of horseshit. For the Fords, reality is an altered state. The bigger the scandal, the bigger the lies seem to get.
Political scientists call the Ford brand of truthiness epistemological populism, which is just a fancy way of saying you can BS your way out of anything if you just keep repeating your lie often enough. The lie for the last week is that everything is honky-dory; that the business of the city is getting done.
The mayor has made a point at every media appearance last week not to talk about the crack allegations, and rehash the accomplishments of his administration since he took office. On Friday, he trotted out Toronto Community Housing chief Gene Jones and works chair Denzil Minnan-Wong to act as props in that regard. The battle of wills with the City Hall press corps is becoming a sideshow.
Short of the mayor being led to jail in handcuffs - that might not even do it - there's little anybody can do to save us from the inanity.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was making noises last week about intervening if necessary, but not necessarily intervening. Some members of the LIberal caucus are pushing Wynne to take drastic action, like cutting off provincial cash in a few cost-sharing agreements with the city to send a message - which even Ford foes acknowledge would be heavy-handed.
There's also talk of the province passing legislation to go back to three-year terms for councillors and mayors. The current turmoil provides a good argument for it. Four years may be one too many for any chief magistrate, and especially one who seems to have no problem taking the ship down with him, not to mention the damage he's doing to the city's collective psyche. (How long will it be until Toronto live down Ford?)
Legally, there's not much the province can do. There's no criminal investigation of the mayor, or we would have heard about it by now. And there's not likely to be one now that the incriminating videotape of the mayor allegedly smoking crack has vanished into thin air.
As long as Ford is showing up for work, and he has been - although whether anything is actually being accomplished is an open question - there's little room for Wynne to maneuver, despite the sabre-rattling.
Far be it for me to accuse Wynne of posturing. She, like most of the rest of us, is obviously concerned about the business of the city not only being done, but being publicly perceived as being done.
It doesn't look good when the guy who's supposed to be the chief spokesperson and salesperson for the economic engine of Canada is spending his days fending off questions about his alleged ties to gang members.
The trade mission to Boston has been postponed. At what point will sophisticated investors be deterred by the theatrics at City Hall? Former finance minister turned Bay Street mover and shaker Dwight Duncan made mention of the Ford drama as a distraction to a big biz audience last week.
The Globe offered in a commentary last week that the mayor is suffering from delusions, and that his tenuous grasp on reality is reason enough for him to resign, even if the crack accusations are not true. Some of the mayor's closest allies want him to take a leave of absence. Jaye Robinson has been particularly vocal.
But moral suasion isn't going to do it. Neither is political pressure, however much is brought to bear.
The mayor lives in his own world. He always has. He's running again in 2014. His will be the first name on the ballot, he proclaimed last week. Word is the Ford camp is already testing out campaign slogans. I hear "The party's over" is receiving good reaction among focus groups. Imagine Ford running on that one. Now that would be ironic, if it weren't so laughable.