Rob Ford is an addict.
Crack, cocaine, booze, attention -- the mayor appears to love them all. But it's the lies that concern me the most.
The drugs hurt the mayor. But the deceit hurts the city.
At this point, Ford has lied so much, about so many things, that Toronto wouldn't come to his aid if there was an entire pack of wolves at his door. Then again, we don't even know where his door is right now.
When Ford announced last week that he was headed to rehab, Toronto let out a sigh of relief. For a moment, it felt like our year-long trip down the Fordian rabbit hole was at an end.
A week later, we're wondering if he's even in rehab at all.
Tuesday, Ford was spotted at a Tim Hortons in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. There have been other sightings around the city. We know he's not in Chicago, where he initially went, because he turned around at the border. Why? The Fords won't tell us. But I'm willing to bet it has something to do with smoking rocks.
Doug Ford said Wednesday that the Tim Hortons sightings were a case of mistaken identity. It was really him at the Timmies. He says there are pictures. Except none of them are on the internet.
What should we believe? That the witnesses are confused about the appearance of the most famous man on planet Earth right now? Or that a man who said the following might share his brother's fixation with fibbing:
-- Don Peat (@reporterdonpeat) March 28, 2014
And now the guy who thinks handing out $20 bills in public housing projects is a legitimate campaign tool, wants us to leave his brother alone. He says the doctors at rehab are pleading for the media to stop. That journalists are putting the other patients at risk.
Normally, I would be sympathetic. But the Fords are not normal. They are pathological liars.
If Ford had gone to rehab last year, after the first time he was caught on tape smoking crack, I would have been happy to leave him alone.
Instead the Ford brothers lied again and again and again. Then they lied about the lies. They lied so much that they birthed an entire genre of journalism devoted to debunking their deceptions.
In such a situation, it's reasonable to expect more information. When we hear that the mayor thinks rehab is "amazing" and that he's making calls to constituents and that the whole thing reminds him of "football camp," it's only natural to have some questions.
Questions like whether the mayor is getting treatment for his problems with crack and cocaine. Or does his therapy revolve exclusively around alcohol? Because booze is the only substance Ford seems willing to admit he has a problem with. Booze and maybe burgers.
Because beers and burgers are a problem that Ford Nation can understand. And Ford's supporters in the sprawling suburbs have always been the intended suckers for the subterfuge.
For the longest time, an allergy to the truth was a competitive advantage for the Fords. While their rivals on council tried to explain the finer points of policy the Fords simply fibbed about how much money they were saving.
When reporters caught them in lies they doubled down and denounced the media elite for their witch hunt against the common man.
They understood that most people who commute from the burbs every day don't have the time or the inclination to follow the latest budget battle at City Hall. But they do listen to talk radio.
And for the longest time it worked. You can see how they got hooked. The Fords got high on the lies. Right up to the highest office in the city. Doug could almost smell Queen's Park.
But after every high there's a come down.
Even the most committed Fordaholics aren't buying it anymore. There's no more pretending when the mayor is holding a crack pipe on the front page of every newspaper in the country.
And yet the Fords still won't tell us the whole truth.
They evade even now, when it's obviously in their best interests to come clean and put the rumour that that the mayor isn't in rehab to rest.
But they're addicted to the lies.
And it's long past time we staged an intervention.
Follow Michael Bolen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelbolen