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Ford's Opponents Need to Change the Channel

11/13/2013 09:08 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written over the past few weeks about one man and his hubris. While he was already famous, Rob Ford has recently become Canada's most famous media export, Chris Farley comparisons and all.

After two weeks of bombardment from Toronto's media outlets and prime-time coverage on major national networks across the world, Torontonians are beginning to feel like they're stuck in the hurricane without a centre -- there is no seeming reprieve in sight from the media circus or the antics of a man stuck in a spiral of self-denial. The assumptions by international media being made about the city and its residents are, in some cases, unfair and in others offer a strikingly accurate reflection of a culture mired in the polar opposites of apathy and Victorian era haughtiness with a dash of self-importance mixed in too.

But this is what we've wrought; a political train-wreck that everybody knew was approaching the moment Ford was elected but without the understanding of just how messy it would be. Smarter cities and citizens would have begun reviewing plans of succession and crisis action decades ago but Toronto's bravado ensures that half-measures are met with a cocked smile and self-congratulatory pat on the back.

It's a strange culture, our left hand holding down the cookie jar as the right attempts to smash it with a hammer regardless of broken digits.

Thus is the hubris of the Torontonian. More specifically, an arrogance that has guaranteed an inability to take extensive measures to save ourselves from poor candidates that don't inspire any confidence. What we're left with is a leader whose confidence comes from his ability to generate a cult of personality by sending out simple, strong and, no matter if they actually are or not, believable messages.

It would be laughable to pretend the city of Toronto isn't full of intelligent egos -- the I-told-you-so crowd has been right for years when it comes to Ford's bombastic nature and the latest crisis to come out of city hall has cranked the volume way past 11 -- for once drowning out the die-hards of Ford Nation.

As Ford continues to bumble forward, few people in Toronto actually want it to stop -- gleefully salivating over the impending destruction of Canada's most famous man while out of the other side of their mouths saying just how unfortunate this whole situation is and how they wish he would seek help. Ask for solutions right now and you'll have thousands of Torontonians screaming at you that they saw it coming all along while offering no actual forward momentum.

That's the real embarrassment; Ford opponents can't stop watching and gloating even though it might be the only way to avoid "Ford more years." As the attacks on Ford and his nation increase, the more entrenched the Nation become in proving they are right to support a guy with a couple personal problems.

In fact, handled with a deft master's hand, this would have been the perfect opportunity for those hoping to oust Ford from office by focusing on the lies, broken campaign promises and sketchy use of city funds. Instead Ford's most vehement opponents wanted to be proven right about a personally devastating video and, even after being vindicated, decided to keep screaming how wrong Ford and his supporters had been without proffering solutions or a succession plan.

This opens up a massive strategic lead for the Ford compact, their very opponents are the ones changing the channel from his fiscal irresponsibility's to his personal ones. A dangerous manoeuvre when the man's image still resounds with the average Joe as being just like them, no matter how far from the truth that actually is.

There is no question that Ford should step down but it isn't for his personal failings, it should be at the cost of his professional dishonesty and the creation of a sideshow that long ago made the spectacular jump to Broadway's main stage. Considering that this won't happen, aside from perhaps the release of the rumoured sex tape, 2014 mayoral candidates need to refocus their energy on building a better campaign because if they don't 2010 will be a bad case of déjà vu, especially when considering the incumbent advantage.

As much as Ford's actions have created a massive international media stir, there is no value in attempting to discredit Ford further without having that knockout punch prepared because this latest one that had been prepared only proved his Mike Tyson toughness. At this point, the only way to knock him down, aside from that potential sex video, is creating a better soundbite during the 2014 election and it doesn't sound anything like the messages being sent out over the past couple weeks by those that wish to depose him.

In a city defined by its inability to define itself, Mayor Ford has given Toronto an international identity. It's up to his 2014 opponents to either improve upon that identity or leave it to the brothers Ford to define yet another four years of scandalous behaviour. As Ford declared "I'm a sick motherf---er, dude." but he is the people's sick mother---er, something that can only change if his soon-to-be opponents are able to switch the channel back to his professional failings.

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