Sometimes the stupidity of the Rob Ford camp and his media sycophants is just too profound for words. You'd think somebody, anybody, in what's left of the mayor's inner circle might have said publicly it's time for the mayor to come clean about his drinking problem after the Star bombshell Tuesday, March 26, about Ford embarrassing himself at the Toronto Garrison Ball last month, showing up, according to numerous sources, drunk, stoned or both. So out of it was he that organizers reportedly asked his aide to get him to leave.
On the morning the news broke, the mayor presented boxer George Chuvalo with the key to the city. If it's redemption Ford's looking for, it was staring him right in the face.
At the ceremony, Chuvalo told the story of his family's struggles with substance abuse. Two of his sons died from their own drug addictions.
"I guess I'm kinda like Rob," he said at one point. "And he's kinda like me. We take it pretty good in the punishment department and we keep punching."
Talk about synchronicity. The mayor couldn't have asked for a more karmic intervention. Everybody loves comeback stories, and Chuvalo's is one of the gutsiest.
The mayor could choose to write his own. A couple of months in rehab to deal with what has become a very public drinking problem and then back to fight an election: seems like the kind of narrative a public willing to forgive Ford's many transgressions would embrace. He might come out the other end more popular for having the courage to confront his problem.
But there may be too much riding on the Ford agenda at City Hall (or, more accurately, the agendas of the troglodytes around him) to allow him a prolonged absence to get his shit together. Seems the mayor's apologists, backers - whatever you want to call them - are being as dishonest with themselves as he is.
Ford is yesterday's news, politically speaking. There's nothing to lose, unless they're trying to protect whatever side deals they've got going, especially with all the talk of privatization and that casino deal hanging in the balance.
But it's also clear that Ford, who's known to be his own worst enemy, is refusing to admit he's got a problem.
When the tough question about the Star's story came up at the Chuvalo presser, the mayor went all too predictably into full denial mode, characterizing the report as "outright lies." In which case, we eagerly await that libel suit, Mr. Mayor, which doubtless won't follow.
Perhaps it was too much to expect an admission, with all those enablers around. Big brother Doug jumped into the fray, taking to the airwaves as he is wont to do at times of crisis to proclaim it all just part of the Star's vendetta.
Doug Holyday, the mayor's deputy, who can usually be counted on to dispense a little tough love when necessary, coughed up a fur ball on this occasion.
"I've never seen the mayor take a drink in his life," said Holyday. Of course not. Problem drinkers often make a point of keeping their boozing a secret. When they stumble in public, it's usually a cry for help.
Holyday, a long-time Ford family friend, later qualified his comments to say he hadn't seen Ford drink in the three years he's been mayor, but he then added, "Well, I don't know, the Star has its sources...."
The paper's account isn't easy to dismiss. Six people who attended the ball were quoted as saying the mayor was stumbling, incoherent and seemingly impaired. But the fact that these sources were unnamed and that others were quoted as saying they'd noticed nothing unusual about his behaviour gave Ford's friends in the media room to contest the Star story.
On that, two important points to consider.
Although they're not identified, the Star's unnamed sources, one among them described as a "prominent Ottawa Conservative," are risking plenty by coming forward. They might have to testify in court should Ford file suit. So they didn't enter into this controversy lightly.
Also overlooked by Ford's defenders is the fact that Boy Scout Councillor Paul Ainslie, an unabashed Ford supporter (though less so lately) and a member of the Garrison Ball organizing committee, was there that night and confirmed on the record that he told the mayor's chief of staff, Mark Towhey, it would be a good idea for the mayor to leave.
Truth is, the stories of Ford's late-night cavorting and drinking are no secret. They've been swirling for more than a year, coming from some of the mayor's closest political allies, including former staffers. But those antics seem now to have entered a new phase.
The week before, stories surfaced about Ford rambling incoherently on the subject of casinos to Orthodox Jews at an Eruv ceremony in the home of developer Mark Mandelbaum.
The mayor's unsolicited phone call to Newstalk 1010 on March 24 to opine on the ongoing trial of Richard Kachkar for the murder of Toronto police Sergeant Ryan Russell also raised a few eyebrows.
And, of course, there was Sarah Thomson's accusation that the mayor, acting shitfaced, grabbed her ass a few weeks ago at a Canadian Jewish Political Action Committee event. Ford's crew went full throttle with denials on that, too, saying Thomson was not "playing with a full deck."
In the Sun "exclusive" that followed to rebutt any suggestion that he's a philanderer, the mayor mentioned the distractions all around him at the event, the hundreds of folks lining up to take pics with him. "I'm not being conceited, but I had sort of rock star status there," he told the Sun.
Interesting choice of words, given what some of the mayor's friends have said about the cult of personality around him, and how it's gone to his head.
Some of them feared the mayor's recent legal "victories" on technicalities would embolden him. Seems like just yesterday those close to him were saying those travails had taught Rofo some humility. Obviously, we haven't hit bottom, yet.