Toronto’s bombastic, bulbous, booze-swilling, crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford is a national embarrassment to many Canadians, but the man might be doing his country a small favor.
Wildly entertaining news stories about Ford have streamed out of Canada all month. After vehemently denying that he had ever used crack cocaine, Ford had to fess up to use of the drug after a video in possession of Toronto police showed the mayor smoking a crack pipe. Caught lying, Ford had a wonderful explanation for his denial: At the time the video was shot, he said, he was way too drunk to remember the crack.
Ford subsequently admitted that, during his years as mayor, he has purchased and used other illegal drugs. The mayor downplayed that indiscretion by saying he is just a regular guy and, well, regular guys all have something to hide, so what’s the big deal? The Toronto Sun followed up with an allegation that witnesses had seen Ford celebrating St. Patrick’s Day last year by smoking pot, drinking half a bottle of vodka and bragging about the sex he was going to have with the prostitute partying with him.
Then, denying accusations that he had asked to perform oral sex on a female staffer, the mayor told reporters, “I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home. Thank you very much.”
Monday, the Toronto City Council stripped the mayor of much of his power, but Ford refuses to leave office, vowing to take the issue to court and wait for the judgment of voters when he is up for reelection in October. Ford told interviewers he still dreams of becoming prime minister of Canada. Wow! Could the joke writers at “Saturday Night Live” and the “Daily Show” be that lucky?
This guy makes Anthony Weiner and his crotch tweets look demure. He makes Bill Clinton seem circumspect. Rob Ford is such an outlandish buffoon that he is a challenge to cartoonists. How can any caricature exceed what this man does in real life?
Still, as I suggested, he may do one useful thing for Canada. The stereotype of all Canadians as passive, pale versions of robust Americans has pretty much been ripped to shreds. The stereotype was never entirely true, of course -- as anyone who has encountered a surly crowd of Canadian hockey fans can attest. Now, not only may Americans better appreciate that our neighbors to the north are a far more diverse bunch than we give them credit for, we must also admit they have produced a politician fully the equal of any outlandish lunatic we have voted into office.