Vision Quest VI

It’s Thursday. So you know what that means. Time for another Vision Quest. Toda—

But wait, you’re all saying, probably. Vision Quest usually happens on Friday. What’s with the Thursday Vision Quest? It’s throwing my equilibrium all off.

Well, the thing is, with just 4 days before election day, we needed to set aside 3 for our mayoral endorsements. So, we decided to push the last of our Vision Quests ahead by a day. Hopefully, this won’t be a constant source of disappointment to those who then keep thinking it’s Friday, only to have the fact that it’s actually just Thursday constantly thrown in their faces.

And to be clear: this in no way should be viewed as an official endorsement. This is not an endorsement. This is not an endorsement. Nope, not an endorsement.

Vision Quest VI (Thursday and final edition): George Smitherman!

Nicknamed Furious George, but for those of us with more leftish hues, what Smitherman should be better known as is, Infuriating George. Smart, thorough and tirelessly hardworking, he should’ve been everyone’s (who wasn’t backing Rob Ford) easy 2nd choice for mayor. Yet, it’s as if he made it deliberately impossible for us to take to him, seemingly intent to alienate and provoke us, almost as if it were part of a… diabolical plan.

The rube in me, who treats everything on the level, no subtext, no ulterior motives, saw the unfolding Smitherman campaign as a bumbling, stumbling mess. Determined almost, to repeat the exact same mistakes as his former boss, Barbara Hall, in the 2003 election, going from frontrunner to a distant 3rd place. He practically disappeared there during the spring and summer months, threatening to become another big name bust.

But then it clicked into place as soon as it was announced that, in fact, Rob Ford had become the candidate to beat. In mid-September, his victory was pronounced as pretty well inevitable, his almost 25 point lead was viewed as insurmountable. A collective OMG!!! arose from the general populace. What are we going to do?! This can’t happen. We need to elect Anybody But Ford!!

Cue the sounds of horses approaching from the distance, the arrival of the cavalry. Fear not, good people of Toronto, your white knight riding to the rescue. George Smitherman is here to drive the evil Rob Ford gang back to the wilds of Etobicoke. Our hero!

Pure brilliance, if a little disturbingly calculating. A truly post-modern campaign that smartly up-ended the big name, early front runner dilemma. Tactics trumping substantive thinking and the need for any sort of comprehensive complete policy platform. In 2010, that may be all that’s necessary to become mayor.

Had Smitherman Our Saviour then arrived and stood up vigorously to the radical, right wing retardedness of Rob Ford, it may’ve been a done deal. Instead, George lurched right, aping much of the Ford anti-City Hall populism and firmly embracing the modus operandi of another former boss of his, Dalton McGuinty, who has built his entire political career on the notion of being only slight less bad than the Mike Harris era Conservative government. Vote for me because I’m not as bad as that guy.

George Smitherman. Just another unprincipled, scheming politician with a hollow core. But hey. At least he’s not as bad as that other guy.

And as the campaign winds down, he then has the balls to try and castigate those who haven’t fallen into line behind him, portraying them as the villains if he comes up short and Rob Ford wins this thing. Holding a gun to the city’s head, his endgame now consists of, vote for me or this guy gets it.

Yeah, that’s the guy I want as my next mayor.

So repellant has Smitherman’s tactics become that I refuse to cut him any slack or give him the benefit of doubt on anything. We were rightly reprimanded by a commenter on our post a couple days ago who pointed out that we misrepresented Smitherman’s rejection of safe injection sites. His position on the issue is much more “nuanced”. Fair enough. But at this point, we cannot grant him anything resembling nuance. We can only see the darkness.

To us George Smitherman is simply a political hit man, dispatched from Queen’s Park to quell a restive and vocally frustrated city that has become noisy in its displeasure with the contemptuous disregard and mismanagement at the hands of its provincial overlords. He doesn’t want to lead Toronto. He wants to keep it in its place. In that, he is no better than Rob Ford.

The company he keeps is Tory blue, through and through, including Harrisites, many of whom wouldn’t be considered friends of Toronto. Ralph Lean, best known in political circles as a David Miller band wagon jumper whose very public break with the mayor last fall helped grease the way to the mayor’s decision not to seek re-election and opened the floodgates of anti-City Hall sentiment that Smitherman slid in on, is a key part of his fund raising arm. And the fact that Barbara Hall has babysat George’s son does little to alleviate our growing mistrust of Smitherman’s intentions.

He wants us to merely settle on him as our next mayor. It could be worse, he tells us. Rob Ford. Yes, he’s right. It could be worse. On the other hand, it might not be. There’s much of the devil you know at work right now. And if George Smitherman can’t win this thing based on his own merits, well, maybe he just doesn’t deserve it. For 10 months or so, all we’ve asked is that he prove to us that he does. Four days before election day, George Smitherman has come up woefully empty on that account.

angrily submitted by Cityslikr

5 Responses to Vision Quest VI

  1. Selwyn Firth says:

    Well it took you long enough to clue in to the identical twins known as FordSmitherman. Neither of the twins has the capabilities to understand what is wrong with the city and either will try to appease special interest groups as has been done for the past 40 years. The insanity at city hall will still continue only with a slightly different flavour. The media has been controlling the message (remember Marshall McCluhan) and the sheep are following right along, oblivious of the danger that lies before them. The problems that will occur will be couched in terms of progress,green and its cost effective.
    Intelligence is not appreciated by any but the intelligent. One can only pity the fools.

  2. lifeonqueen says:

    There’s a problem with your supposition that Smitherman was “dispatched” from Queen’s Park: it assumes there’s a political cost at the provincial level to pissing off the City of Toronto.

    There isn’t one.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear lifeonqueen,

      No, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke don’t see that assumption in our supposition at all.

      What we see is an increasingly fractious relationship between Toronto and the province under the Miller administration with calls for more powers for the city and/or increased responsibilities re-assumed by the provincial government, and a former Deputy Premier of Ontario and the city’s most powerful MPP coming into town and belittling, demeaning and diminishing the municipal government at every opportunity. A wholly condescending attitude that denotes, playtime’s over and the children should now run along and let the grown-ups take over. Why else would Smitherman insist on taking jabs at Pantalone’s height if not to portray him as small and child-like?

      That’s what we meant when we used the word “dispatched”.

  3. Esn says:

    I can’t bring myself vote for Smitherman for the simple reason that I can’t figure out who the heck I would be voting for. The man seems to have no ideas of his own, except to give in to the slightest pressure coming from somewhere else. He is a hitman, not a visionary. I first got this impression when I saw a long interview with him on some local TV channel back when he was health minister, and nothing since then has changed my perception.

    Time and time again, he has “gone with the flow” set by someone else who’s bolder and smarter (why do you praise Smitherman for being smart? He’s a high school dropout for goodness’ sake! Even Ford at least took some college).

    Smitherman likes having instructions. So if I vote for him, I’m not voting for HIM but for whoever exerts the most influence on him when he’s mayor, and I don’t know who that will be (well, there have been some hints, such as his visit to China, and his promise of $100 mil from the province). His latest campaign message of “vote for SOMEONE who’s not Rob Ford” is very appropriate.

    I really don’t like anyone who’s running very much. I think a lot of voters feel like, one way or another, they’re having a bad decision shoved down their throats. Just one of the things that ticks me off: all of the leading candidates pledged back in May to have more religion in city politics: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontomayoralrace/article/807324–city-hall-has-left-god-rossi-declares

    • Andrew says:

      Liberals are political chameleons…you don’t know if you are getting a crunchy conservative outer layer or a hard left of center topping. In either case, you still get the warm steamy crap of an an elitist filling.

      Be warned Toronto, the first bit might be tasty, but will a horrible aftertaste in your mouth.

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