So here we are in the final week of the campaign. In 6 long days, this campaign of 2010 will become our 4yr. hangover when whichever of these dopes we elect will take their turn fucking over one part of the city or another. Probably several at a time. Bumbling, blustering Rob Ford will take great pride in teaching downtown residents a lesson in much the same way Joe Pantalone will ignore the 50% of the city or so who evidently don’t give a shit about public transit or bike lanes. Smitherman…well, he’ll piss off everyone equally. The left will self-righteously attack him for lying about being a progressive. And because he’s a Liberal, he’ll inevitably infuriate the right with a graft scandal or two.
You wish we had a 4th option? Well, so do I. But the job of Mayor of Toronto is a sucker gig and the really smart people don’t fall for a sucker gig. And no amount of bullshit ballot ranking systems are going to fix that. You want to attract talent, you have to make the job worth having.
While pondering my unenthusiastic support of George Smitherman (read my quasi-endorsement) I’ve come upon a few revelations that I’d like to share with you tonight.
First, the split between Ford/Smitherman/Pantalone is virtually identical to the current split between the Tories/Liberals/NDP, both federally and provincially. Coincidence? Not fuckin’ likely as in all 3 cases the 3 options represent the roughly the same thing. Ford/Tories represent the rural/suburban voter who perceive themselves perpetually as victims. Smitherman/Liberals represent middle-of-the-roaders (middlers) who decide by choosing not to decide, seeing both alternatives as too extreme. And NDP/Pantalone…they’re the urbanites who feel like they have all the answers, yet no one’s listening. They also feel terribly victimized. Difference between the victim complex of the Ford supporters and Pantalone supporters is how it manifests. Ford supporters get angry. Pantalone supporters get indignant. And neither side realizes it, but these emotions feed off each other. The angrier the suburbanites get, the more indignant (and exasperated) the downtowners get; the suburbanites perceive this exasperation as arrogance and get angrier…and so on and so on.
The only thing they have in common is that they like to take shots at the people in the middle (Smitherman/Liberal supporters) for being lazy sheep, which might cause the middlers some angst, if they were even paying attention.
Second, the tact of the left to attack the middlers only emboldens the right. Remember, the people in the middle aren’t listening; they aren’t looking for an enemy or a friend. They’re just looking to get by. Sometimes their middle candidate is a fellow sheep and sometimes he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing…whatever, who has time to pay attention let alone care? Torontonians have a rep for walking the city looking at their shoes. This is the political manifestation. So when Pantalone attacks Smitherman supporters for being fearful dupes, the only people who hear them are Ford supporters, who (as I stated previously) just use it as justification for hating all “self-righteous downtown elites”. I know it makes Pantalone supporters feel good to crap on the Smitherman vote, but it’ll be worth exactly ZERO come election day.
And what of the Smitherman supporters who are calling Panatalone a Ralph Nader? They’re bleating a bit too much to fit into my sheep analogy, no? Well, here’s the kicker…they aren’t actually Smitherman supporters. They’re secret Pantalone supporters who either don’t want to look stupid to their friends come election day or maybe just wish Pantalone was Miller (or Giambrone), instead of his 2nd choice also-ran successor. Whatever their motivation for making a lot of noise, it’s a misdirection. Mark my words, real Smitherman supporters don’t say a goddamn word.
And what of me? I came out and supported Smitherman and I’ve suggested Pantalone should drop out. Does that mean I’m not really a Smitherman supporter? Well, yes.
I’m a scared lefty…just like all the others…difference is, I’m not scared of Rob Ford. I’m scared of the political divide in Canada. I’m scared of those polling similarities and mostly, I’m scared for what they’ll mean for Toronto in 351 days.
You see, I’m not basing my choice on civic issues. I’m basing it on the provincial election calendar. In 351 days, we’ll have Tories in Queens Park and then it won’t matter one fucking bit who’s the Mayor. We’ll be fucked…completely. So if we don’t have some dough out of the province by then it’ll be years before we see another dime. That’s a problem. And it’s one that I think only Smitherman has a chance of addressing. And it’s a slim chance.
So here’s where I come to the inevitable conclusion and the equally inevitable minor change in tune…
I don’t want Pantalone to drop out. I promise I’ll never suggest it again. If he did there’d be a big downtown part of the population going unrepresented and that’s not democracy. People deserve a candidate. (If only the lazy pricks voted in greater numbers). Also, I won’t suggest that a Ford mayoralty will be the death of the city. It won’t. And it gives him too much credit to suggest otherwise.
Finally, I’ll reiterate that in the steering of civic issues at a council level the Mayor doesn’t have much power…it’s a sucker gig. His greatest power is as a representative of the city to the upper levels of government, see David Miller and Transit City. And if you see things in that way, as I do, Smitherman is the best choice. Not a sure thing, but a good bet.
Yeah, I’d rather vote for someone else too…but who are they? Name them… Fuck it, name one person. Anyone? Bueller?