So let’s get this clear.
Much of Toronto thinks Rob Ford is a disgrace as mayor and should resign now that his escapades with drugs and shady characters appear to have been verified.
And a good part of the city appear to think he’s still a rock star as mayor — and as with other rock stars his alleged scandalous behaviour can be forgiven. Even secretly enjoyed.
Funny thing, it seems most of those voters who want him out now are those who have wanted him out all along while his remaining supporters among the citizenry are those who have been members of Ford Nation all along.
This is how scandals work. Those politically opposed to the purported perpetrators use the revelations of sex or drugs or misused expense accounts as weapons for political advantage — to get their opponents forced or tossed out.
And what happens in the end? More often than not, we end up with someone to take their place with similar policies, but without the personal baggage.
Because the politician was discredited, not their politics.
The media and much of the public are certainly justified in calling for Rob Ford’s head.
But if he leaves — or is pushed out — as a result only of a furor over his addictions and personal gaucheries, his policies may be picked up and carried out by a Ford-lite candidate.
A large portion of Toronto’s population is sure to be left thinking Rob Ford’s economic policies have been good for Toronto, his transit plans are set to benefit Toronto’s long-neglected suburbs, his measures have stopped the elitist rule of Toronto and he’s kept taxes in line — it’s just too bad his pampered opponents have been able to take advantage of his human weaknesses to stop him from doing all this good.
Even midtown’s Karen Stintz, who is a leading contender for the mayor’s chair after Ford, says she supports his economic agenda and implies she would be able to carry it out better than he.
If not Stintz, some other candidate will be running in the next election under a “respect for taxpayers” and “stop the gravy train” kind of banner. Or several candidates.
We have to expose these ideas for the reactionary twaddle they are before it’s too late.
Ford’s serious opponents should now concentrate on showing how harmful his economic policies have been for Toronto, how he has created a mess of transit that’s going to hurt both the suburbs and downtown for years to come, how he hasn’t even kept taxes down and is guaranteeing further increases in the future — at all levels of government.
Discrediting the man is not enough.
We have to demolish his backward politics.