The rebound of Rob Ford

The news that Rob Ford has an abdominal problem changes everything about the Toronto mayoralty race. There he was, a confessed addict, vituperative night owl and bad-assed coach, yet one-quarter of the population was still behind him. Imagine the bump in the polls this recent diagnosis will bring him. It could be a sympathy vote, but any politician would happily accept such an outpouring.

In his biography of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, the father of Confederation who was assassinated in 1868, author David Wilson says that McGee’s death was his best career move. Before that, McGee had been in poor health and was almost bankrupt. His death rendered him mythic. Rob Ford’s illness has conferred a similar status upon him. Opponents are falling all over themselves wishing their former foe well. Even Marcus Gee, not previously a fan of Ford, was all but calling in his Globe and Mail column for readers to pray for Ford’s speedy recovery. 

If Ford chooses to stay on the ballot, whatever the final diagnosis, he might win in a walk. He can do meet-and-greets in his hospital gown, add Lourdes to his campaign stops and replace transit maps with x-rays of his innards. Who could refuse to vote for a man seeking not just redemption from his history but also the restoration of his health?

Update: There’s been cancer in my household so I feel for Rob Ford. But the sight of Doug Ford holding a news conference in front of his mother’s place, complete with emotional throat-catches, turned my stomach. The Kennedy clan had troubles, too, what with assassinations, suicide, and drugs. But the Kennedys treated public office with honour; the Fords see elected positions as Lego pieces to be passed about. The Kennedys had policy plans; the Fords have personal plans. They’re nothing more than the Trailer Park Boys, popular but a bit puerile.



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