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Friday, September 24, 2010

Smitherman's toast

Really, when was the last time anyone blew a lead like this (other than Paul Maurice's Leafs, of course?)  I think this sums up George's campaign about as well as anything:

There's a line between between chutzpah and arrogance, and with the suggestion that the anti-Ford vote should coalesce around him, I'd say George has just crossed it.

He started out as the front-runner, without much vision but with plenty of establishment backing and a big-time attitude of entitlement. Then when Rob Ford's message (stupid and simplistic though it is) started becoming the defining storyline of the campaign, he joined Rossi and Thomson trying to out-Ford Rob Ford. Andrea Addario sums it up beautifully:
The credible alternative to Rob Ford is not a candidate that panders to the same parts of the city’s lizard brain. Any campaign that successfully counters Ford’s rage, in both its incoherent and specific forms, needs to reach the progressive, compassionate heart of Toronto – the Toronto that rejected Mike Harris and still rejects Stephen Harper.
Is that George Smitherman? Not looking likely. In his craven bid to appeal to the same destructive anger as Ford, he threw away the opportunity to be that alternative. Smitherman has embraced spending freezes, privatization, and tax cutting. What’s the message here? Look at me! I’m just like Rob Ford! But I live downtown, so I’m somehow less scary? It hasn’t worked.
Time to face it, George: you're toast. You've gone in only one direction since the campaign kicked off, and you've had plenty of time to turn it around, so there's really no reason to think you've got any growth potential. Time to call it a day.

Update: The lady's got the right idea, although if this is true, she's leaning toward the wrong Italian. Take the hint.

Update 2: The lady's not for turning. Even if the car's heading for the cliff ...

Update 3: Globe curmudgeon Marcus Gee is writing as if it's a two-man race now. And George isn't one of them.


  1. The point I was trying to make on Twitter is that Gee is suggesting that neither Pantalone or Ford is suitable. He states there should be a "happy medium".

    In your tweet you said that Smitherman would not be included, so by your logic are you stating that this would, therefore, leave Thomson and Rossi as the potential choices Gee is referencing?

  2. Michelle:

    I'm not so sure I'd read Marcus's column that way. There is, of course, room for reasonable people to disagree, and you're entitled to interpret it any way you like, but I suspect that any inference on your part of an endorsement of either Thomson or Rossi is based largely on wishful thinking.

    What the column suggests to me is that Marcus sees two competing visions in the race: Ford's on the one hand and Joe Pants's on the other. To that extent, I think he's right, although I don't necessarily agree with the rest of his analysis. I think he's setting up a false equivalence between the two, painting them as competing extremes so that he can bring it home with the reliable old "truth lies somewhere in the middle" cliché. It's intellectually lazy.

    But the chief significance of the piece, I think, is in the fact that he doesn't bother to mention anyone else.