Do Not Forsake Us, John Tory

June 3, 2010

Draft John Tory for Mayor?

So asks Royson James in Tuesday’s Toronto Star.

Draft John Tory for Mayor??

Apparently the tongues have been wagging about it for months now in the mouths of “unnamed armchair quarterbacks, radio talk show hosts” (of which John Tory is one) and “political pundits” (of which Royson James is one). “Average citizens and king-makers regularly fill Tory’s ears and stroke his ego by pleading that he run,” so James claims. I’m assuming that the “average citizens” are regular listeners of Tory’s radio show who, once vetted, are allowed on air to plead for Tory to reconsider his decision not to run for mayor. The “king-makers”? Step out from behind that curtain, Royson James. You’re just referring to yourself in the third person again, aren’t you.

In the impolite circles I run in, there’s been very little begging, pleading or praying for John Tory to get into the race and claim his rightful crown. And, as has been stated in the early pages of this site, I was a John Tory supporter back in `03. So there’s no overt hostility toward the man. It’s just that, nothing he did in the political arena subsequent to that instilled in me any fervor to see the man as mayor of Toronto. What have others seen that I’ve missed?

Have the candidates who are running proven to be so underwhelming that we are left to merely clutch at straws in the hope of becoming more excited and energized about the race? Even Mayor Miller who, by the time last summer’s garbage strike finally wound up was thought to be so unelectable that even someone like George Smitherman would defeat him, is now thought of having a good chance of keeping the mayor’s chair if he had another election fight in him. It’s an appealing prospect if for no other reason than to watch both Royson James and Sue Ann Levy’s heads explode, Scanners style, if that were to occur.

Instead of hitching our hopes to ultimately disappointing ain’t-gonna-happen wagons, however, maybe we need to reconsider why voters aren’t rushing en masse to embrace any of the mayoral candidates. Much has been made about the lack of a unifying, invigorating figure from the left of centre since David Miller’s announcement last fall that he would not be running for re-election, and again after Councillor Adam Giambrone’s implosion earlier this year. There’s been a stampede of candidates to the right. Yet, voters remain under-wowed.

Could it be that the problem isn’t so much the messengers as it is with the message itself? After nearly 6 months of campaigning and listening to an unrelenting stream of anti-incumbent, anti-government rhetoric from 5 of the 6 front running candidates, maybe the song just isn’t resonating with a majority of voters. If conservatives are really honest with themselves, they would have to admit that the dilemma they’re facing right now is that Councillor Rob Ford is the one candidate that is saying out loud what they’d all like to be saying: too much taxing, too much spending, too much government. That’s their message coming from the wrong messenger and, to paraphrase Barack Obama, no amount of lipstick on the pig, either with Rossi, Thomson, Mammoliti or Smitherman, can mask it. It seems that regardless of how fed-up everyone insists that the electorate is with the present state of things, not enough of them are willing to chant the conservative mantra.

So how exactly is bringing in another centre-right candidate with a dearth of new ideas going to change that fact? As opposition to the exiting Miller regime begins to soften and his Deputy Mayor, Joe Pantalone’s campaign begins to find its sea legs, maybe right wing candidates need to realize that the political ground isn’t as fertile for them as they had originally hoped, no matter how hard they plough or the number of farmers there are willing to pitch in and help toil in the field.

hopefully helpfully submitted by Urban Sophisticat