Joe Stalin Indeed

“These people are all two steps left of Joe Stalin”.

Seriously? That’s how the mayor of a major metropolitan city referred to councillors who didn’t vote for him? He said it out loud, on the radio?

Now, I get that Mayor Ford was simply blowing a dog whistle to his supporters who may’ve been hearing stories that their dear leader was losing his ironclad grip on city council. Bully boy politicians can never appear weak and be diminished in the eyes of their baying, rabid following. Whenever the mayor is in need of bolstering his image among the faithful, he inevitably turns to John Oakley and talk radio for a good fluffing.

But consider the circumstances that led to yesterday’s interview.

Yes, the mayor lost some key votes last week that mayors just shouldn’t be losing on such a crucial matter as the budget. A handful of councillors that usually could be counted on to back Mayor Ford when the chips were down didn’t. The optics looked bad. Perhaps for the first time in his tenure as mayor, Ford lost control of the agenda by losing control of the narrative.

A blow certainly but hardly a fatal one. The budget that passed was a Mayor Rob Ford budget through and through, chock full of cuts, reductions and spending decreases. He got what was ultimately the talking point he wanted. For the first time in the history of mankind, the city of Toronto is spending less this year than it did the previous year.

To use a football analogy, because the mayor loves his football, I was going to say that Team Ford had to settle for a field goal but in reality, they scored a touchdown and missed the extra point. Not because of a blocked or flubbed kick but because they decided to run it in for two points and were stopped at the goal line.

Now, a reasonable and responsible politician would’ve looked at that, polished it up a bit and began trumpeting it as a triumph. Hey, folks. We got most of what we wanted. We’re changing the culture down at City Hall. That’s how democracy works.

Instead, Mayor Ford went back on the offensive, trying to vilify all those who dared defy him. No consensus builder, he. You’re either with the mayor or you’re against him. My way or the highway.

In fact, his blather leading up to the Stalin reference was even more revealing. “You either vote one way or the other down there [City Hall]. You’re either on the right side with Conservatives and Liberals or on the left side with the NDP”.

Such a stark, black and white worldview is the mark of the far right wing. There is no middle ground with them. Dissent, disagreement is treachery. Compromise means defeat.

Mayor Ford is incapable of being gracious even in victory. Imagine the monstrous nastiness awaiting us once he’s really and truly defeated and sidelined. A politician that cannot accept the occasional setback and learn from it is not a politician comfortable with democracy. Total victory is not possible, nor desirable, in politics.

At least it isn’t in non-totalitarian political systems.

Joe Stalin, Mayor Ford?

Pot? Let me introduce you to kettle.

Back in the USSRly submitted by Cityslikr