I attended last night's infamous debate, and have been reading about it all day. I just finished reading this piece in the Citizen which makes excuses for John Tory's lacklustre performance at the debate.
Ms. Blatchford is right about one thing, the spotlight, both literally and figuratively was on Doug Ford last night. Anyone in the room could see that Doug stood out under the spotlight, sitting upright and forward in his chair, ready for battle while his two opponents sat back in their chairs, comfortably in the shadows. Doug Ford's presence reached all of us at the back of the room, and while the people in the front row seats felt some sort of pity for John Tory and Olivia Chow by the end, we could hardly see them at all.
Here is what needs to be said, excuses aside, John Tory lost the debate last night. There is absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind I spoke to at the debate, or watching from home. Even from my seat in the back corner of the room, that much was clear. There is probably a lesson there to be learned, Doug Ford appealed to the back of the room and John Tory solicited pity from the front rows.
I won't bother to recap my piece ahead of the debate but I will say this, I was not prepared for what actually happened last night. Olivia Chow started off with vigour but then seemed to fade, John Tory was aggressive, and both attacked Doug Ford as if he were the frontrunner. There were no kid gloves for the debate newcomer.
I think many observers may see this as the beginning of the end for John Tory, the much anticipated point where he begins to lose as he has done so often before. But, it's not 1993, or 2003, or 2007, or even 2009, it's 2014 and Olivia Chow is not Jean Chretien, and Doug Ford is not Dalton McGuinty. John Tory has to survive the first round, like George St Pierre vs Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 and come back with 4 solid rounds, but he'll have to do it with a few cuts and bruises.
The pundits seem to believe that John Tory needs some sort of excuse for what happened last night. I won't have pity for John Tory like them, no kid glove analysis calling last night's debate shameful, demeaning, or any other similar adjective, he got knocked on his butt. Let's give the man credit for the battles he has fought, in politics and business. He got hit hard last night, he fell, we all saw it and were shocked, now he's prepared and will have to come back better and stronger.
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