16 November 2013

Is it Irrelevant that Rob Ford is a Conservative Politician?

You might have seen some funny clips about the hapless Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

He is the overweight politician who has a weakness for legal and illegal substances.

He was shown swearing obscenities, shouting death threats, smoking crack cocaine and doing an assortment of stupid things while completely drunk. He is out of control and so far no one seems to have the power to stop him or push him out of the office.

If you haven't seen the clips and are curious, feel free to Google them, I will not provide any links.

To me, he is just another bully fallen on hard times. And like all bullies, he thought he was untouchable and he lied for a long time to cover up his aberrant and at times illegal activities.

Also typical were his insincere apologies when he was caught and his subsequent threats against witnesses.

So far, there is nothing of interest for this blog.

What got my attention was the simple fact that none of the international news outlets I read reported his political affiliation. Even if I knew very little about him (and I don't know much, though enough to score 14 out of 16 in this quiz), I could guess from his "cutting taxes" platform that he was a conservative politician.

And to me this is a very salient fact: like all conservative politicians Rob Ford is big on law and order. Yet here he was buying crack cocaine, buying marijuana, driving under influence, making death threats.

How is that not part of the story?

I realize that Toronto requires mayoral candidates to run as nonpartisan individuals. But his previous political affiliation should have been relevant.

The BBC said nothing. Reuters had several pieces on him but never mentioned his party. New York Times was also silent.

Canadian media outlets seemed to know his affiliation but did not usually report it unless it had something to do with other parties. For instance, Globe and Mail mentioned his assumed political identity in relation with Ontario Liberals' posture in the scandal, but even then, it used a vague language:
One MPP acknowledged that the party appreciates the awkward position in which the scandal-prone mayor places the opposition Progressive Conservatives, the party with whom he is most closely identified and aligned.
His otherwise long and detailed entry in Wikipedia was also less than direct. It said:
After Ford Sr.'s death, Rob has maintained political connections with the provincial PC party and the federal Conservative Parties. A picture of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris with Ford's father adorns the mayor's office.
It is quite possible that he was not officially a member of the Progressive Conservative Party (the most oxymoronic conservative party name in history) but by all accounts he was affiliated with them.

Why not mention it?

My pet peeve is that when it comes to conservative politicians, like diaper man David Vitter, the contradiction between their beliefs and their actions (family values vs having sex with prostitutes in diaper) is downplayed and the situation is presented as a human drama.

When it comes to liberal politicians like the execrable misogynist Bob Filner, the underlying hypocrisy becomes the cornerstone of the story.

Rob Ford is a conservative.

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