As a campaign strategy, let’s call it risky; a roll of the dice gambit.
On Monday, rumours started seeping out about personal indiscretions on the part of councilor and mayoral candidate, Adam Giambrone. After a quick acknowledgment of an inappropriate but seemingly non-sexual relationship, news broke of a much wider swath of far more intimate liaisons on Giambrone’s part. By Wednesday morning, we were in the middle of a full fledged sex scandal.
And who says municipal politics is boring?
If managed right, this may ultimately work to Giambrone’s favour on at least 3 levels.
One, for the time being at least this mess has supplanted the TTC chairmanship as the biggest obstacle to Giambrone’s campaign for mayor. Nobody’s talking about his supposed ineffectual stewardship of the organization right now as the number of dalliances he was involved in continues to grow. Even if he is compelled to step down as the chair (or Mayor Miller demands it), it can be blamed on the scandal rather than him blanching in the face of criticism about his performance… errr, with the TTC, that is, rather than on his office couch. See? A nice little sleight of hand.
Secondly, with the chorus of ‘young’, ‘boyish’ and ‘inexperienced’ peppering press coverage of the candidate, his serial philandering might serve as a counter-intuitive counterweight, if you will. While I might have skewed older than the 20 year-old who was the first to go public, the infidelity moniker (especially of the multiple sort) has a certain old school, Hugh Hefner feel to it. It’s amazing Giambrone was able to get anything done in his official capacity with that many balls in the air.. as it were.
He has now given himself a Kennedy-esque hue. No longer simply this overly ambitious, grasping, policy wonk, boy wonder but the quintessentially flawed figure with his very own grown-up, personal demons. It is the stuff of political myth making legend, torn from the pages of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
Thirdly and, perhaps, most importantly, Giambrone’s maneuver might fully push the Toronto Star into straight-up irrelevancy if the paper wasn’t already plowing that field. In choosing to be point on this story, the Star has revealed itself to be little more than a tabloid rag and purveyor of crass, yellow journalism. They’ve injected an element of prurient moralism that frequently mars politics in America but seldom finds much traction here. It is lazy, detrimental and, ultimately, more damaging to the Star’s credibility than to that of Adam Giambrone. Or, at least, should be.
Rather than run from that, the well-regarded Royson James vigorously embraces his paper’s descent into the mud with his editorial today. It is the absolute height of sanctimonious self-righteousness, erroneously equating personal comportment with professional competence. History is littered with figures who were less than ideal people but somehow still managed to compose brilliant music, write masterpieces of fiction and ably steer the ship of state. JFK averted nuclear war with the Soviet Union while adulterously fucking his brains out. Simply because they failed to meet the Royson James Moral Code of Uprightedness does not disqualify them from serious political consideration.
If all this does derail Adam Giambrone’s political career, hopefully the integrity of journalists like Royson James and newpapers like the Toronto Star will crash and burn too. While the choices the candidate made in how he lead his personal life should’ve only affected those directly involved, the decision of the Toronto Star to make political hay of it is far more injurious to society at large. When news and information take the backseat to salacious sensationalism and gossip, we are no longer informed citizens but simply sad, bug-eyed peeping toms.
– erectfully (morally speaking) submitted by Cityslikr