The Star’s Rossi-coloured glasses

The Toronto Star seems to have an early pick for mayor – and it's not Smitherman

He may be the frontrunner, but the early signs are not good for George Smitherman.

The presumed chosen one in the race for mayor may end up being the frozen one – and done in by none other than his “Liberal” friends at the Star.

Check out Thursday’s coverage: an editorial taking a shot at Smitherman for doing the “two-step” – advocating for road tolls on one hand, and promising to nix the city’s licensing fee on drivers.

While darts were being flung Smitherman’s way, the Star was creaming all over the other so-called “Liberal” in the race to be mayor, Rocco Rossi.

Gotta ask the obvious: Will Rossi be the Star’s man come election day?

It’s very early days yet, but Thursday’s Rossi love-in in the Star was too obvious to ignore.

First there was a story in the GTA section on how Rossi drew “first blood” at an unofficial mayoral debate in Etobicoke Tory country Wednesday night.

Oh yeah, the crowd just ate up Rossi’s Transit City trash talk. Many people came up to shake Rossi’s hand afterwards, take buttons, don’t you know.

The Star’s Rossi raves didn’t stop there.

City Hall ball buster Royson James weighed in with a pretty little ditty suggesting Rossi has a legitimate claim to the “outsider” label he’s trying to cultivate – even though he’s the consummate political insider, a backroom boy with a knack for raising money from the monied classes.

But the Star’s piece de resistance was the space given up on its op-ed page to conservative columnist Michael Taube, a former speechwriter for Stephen Harper, to heap more praise on Rossi.

“This Tory is backing a Liberal,” the headline screamed, as if that should come as any surprise.

Rossi is a “Liberal” in party affiliation only. His budget-cutting views – see sell-off of Toronto Hydro, speech to the Empire Club, etc…- are decidedly more Tory.

Interesting, too, is the Star’s choice of Taube who, if memory serves, had a brief run on the Star’s op-ed page a few years back and was ditched when, word has it, his Western-inspired conservative views didn’t quite jibe with the Star’s socialist sensibilities.

The times they are a changin’.[rssbreak]

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