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Friday, October 22, 2010

George Smitherman wants to be the conductor on the Gravy Train and only you can stop him!

Adam Vaughan, the councillor for Ward 20, came by my house the other day, campaigning for re-election and...

On a personal level, Adam's a nice, sincere guy. I think he's wrong about quite a few things in his political stances. His support for the despicable Krystin Wong Tam, one of the people behind Queers Against Israel Apartheid, is inexcusable. Adam is one of the councillors who appears content with the Miller status quo and from what I inferred, he thinks Miller's greatest failing is that he hadn't effectively communicated all the wonderful things he'd accomplished during his time as Toronto's mayor.

Vaughan doesn't appear to believe Toronto needs spending cuts and that a lot of our financial woes and the deterioration of roads and infrastructure not being properly addressed is because of the city's growth and the costs of transportation.

Some of those transportation costs being due to the incredible waste that happened during the St. Clair street car construction that cost than 300% of its proposed budget. Vaughan's leftist council colleague Joe Mihevc, as Deputy Chair of the TTC and a principle proponent of that mismanaged disaster, bears a huge measure of responsibility for that, and hopefully the electorate in Ward 21 will remember that and put in an alternative like Shimmy Posen.

The conversation with Vaughan took a strange turn. Vaughn has pretty much a lock on his downtown Trinity-Spadina ward. He's not facing any serious competition, so he seemed more interested in investing his time, not to advocate for himself in his ward, but to advocate voting against Rob Ford as mayor.

It was bizarre. First Vaughan started making comparisons between Ford and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Obviously the comparisons were meant disparagingly and I interrupted Adam to point out that he was making a big assumption to posit that I shared his views about Limbaugh and Beck. (While I find neither  to be exceptionally profound individuals, I don't find their positions so outrageous as to share the socialist "progressives" assessment of their being devils incarnate.)  Adams' response suggested he wasn't taking me seriously. It appeared incomprehensible to him that an intelligent person couldn't feel the same way. Particularly an intelligent person who lived south of Bloor Street.

As I said, the conversation was a bit bizarre. Adam made some very cogent points about Ford's council record being less impressive than his campaign would suggest, and then he undermined his arguments, in my mind, by trying to suggest I shouldn't vote for Ford because of Ford's father's record as an MPP when Mike Harris was Premier.

Adam then proceeded with an argument that may play well with some of his constituents, but struck me as the ultimate in political cynicism. He brought Ford's having lied (or forgotten about) his DUI/marijuana incident 11 years ago in Florida and his drunken outburst at a hockey game. The cynicism of harping on those matters is that it suggests Annex voters are more concerned with image than substance. My concern is with having a mayor who is determined to get our roads fixed, our municipal costs down, and who isn't in the pocket of detestable unions like CUPE Ontario. I told Vaughan I don't care if Ford smokes joints during council meetings, as long as he can cut the waste at city hall.

Ford is still preferable to councillor who spends $13,800 on their website or one who launches libel suits at the taxpayers' expense.

As far as I was concerned, the conversation reached its nadir when Adam told me "Ford is like George Bush, he tells you he's smart, but he's not."

It became apparent then that I was speaking with someone so blinded by their ideology that it was impossible to recognize or acknowledge any truth beyond it. George Bush was the president of the United States for two terms. In debates, he bettered supposedly more intelligent opponents like Ann Richards and Al Gore. You may disagree with what he did, but one of the reasons for his successes was that he was faced by adversaries so arrogant that they refused to concede the fact that someone who disagrees with them might actually posses some intellect. And he mopped the floor with them.

Adam conceded that Smitherman is not someone people could bring themselves to vote for. That part of the conversation was like his tepid Smitherman endorsement. I like Joe Pantalone in the same way I like Adam. I disagree with him, but at least I know that I'm talking to someone who is communicating what they honestly believe. Vaughan's endorsement of Smitherman is not based on any enthusiasm for Smitherman but on an all-consuming abhorrence of Rob Ford.

The 'strategic voting' endorsements of Smitherman by Mihevc and Vaughan should be instructive to voters. Smitherman has lately been talking about himself as a "progressive" candidate. Those paying attention need no reminder that "progressive" is also a code word that Marxists and radical socialists use to describe themselves.

Is Smitherman a Marxist or a radical socialist? Absolutely not. But he appears to be someone who will make shady deals and talk out of both sides of his mouth to achieve power. He's a McGuinty Liberal. The "progressive" who is going to cut taxes and waste? Don't hold your breath.

Yesterday the Globe and Mail endorsed him. It was the least enthusiastic endorsement I have ever read from a newspaper.

Here is some of the Globe's "endorsement" of Smitherman:
"Mr. Smitherman is vague. The risk in supporting Mr. Ford is what he might do as mayor, the risk in supporting Mr. Smitherman is what he might not do. The latter of the two has failed to articulate a vision or a strategy of his own, and he could easily end up as a second David Miller..He is essentially a professional politician, an office-seeker with a taste for managing, but not for transformation."
One of Eye on a Crazy Planet's readers provided this rendition of what we could look forward to if Toronto doesn't have the sense to reject Smitherman

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