To call Mayor Ford "embattled" is putting it mildly. Already derided as a notorious binge drinker enveloped in a cloud of continual controversy, Mayor Ford came under new scrutiny back in May when the Gawker website announced that it had been offered video that purported to show Ford smoking crack cocaine and sought to raise money to buy the video.
I am not sure precisely where "crack" falls in the ranked order of drugs that are bad for you to do, especially if you are a politician, but let's say that it, heroin, powder cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine are 1, 1A, 1B, and 1C.
In fact, crack is such a notoriously bad drug that at some point it became a perfectly normal response to ask, following someone's obviously wrong observation, whether the speaker was on crack:
A: "George W. Bush is the greatest president of my lifetime."
B: "Are you on crack?"
Anyway, this would have been a pretty easy thing to deny. First of all, do they even have crack in Canada? And besides, Rob Ford is, like most Canadians, a middle-aged white guy, and if there is anything we know about middle-aged white guys, it is that they prefer powder cocaine if they are rich and meth if they are not. So what if he pounds a fifth of Seagram's VO every evening? That's just a poor life choice. Crack is for people who are referred to as "Canadians" (warning: NSFW; see definition 2) by the waitstaff in American restaurants, not actual Canadians.
And Ford did deny it, and said that there wasn't a video because it never happened.
Except. Turns out, a few months later, that a video did surface, showing a guy who looked an awful lot like Rob Ford smoking something that looked an awful lot like crack cocaine from something that looked an awful lot like a crack pipe.
Now, at that point, once he knew there was a video, His Honor probably would have been well advised to throw in the towel. In fact, he was advised to do just that. Unfortunately, as the video establishes, Ford is actually a crack smoker, and that might have impaired his judgment just a wee bit.
So he denied it. I belong to the school of public relations that says that one should admit that which cannot be denied, and deny that which cannot be admitted. I have to admit that if, at that point, Rob Ford believed he had any chance at all at keeping his job, he needed to apply the second part of that rule.
But it was on video. On video.
So the first part of the rule got applied yesterday, when the Mayor finally admitted that yes, it was entirely possible, just a chance, mind you, but in the fog of one of his drunken stupors, yes, in fact, that crack pipe just might have touched his lips once or twice, but he just didn't remember it ever happening, probably because of the alcohol.
Now, this is just me, but if you are drinking so much that you can't seem to remember whether you smoked crack or not, you might want to back off a bit.
And if Rob Ford had had the good sense to resign, like any decent person would have done, that probably would have been the end of it. Soon he would recede into the fog of our distant collective memory, eventually showing up only as part of a Daily Double on Jeopardy! ("I'll take Whacked-Out Canadian Mayors for $800, Alex").
Of course, as we've already established, Rob Ford is a crack smoker. Resign? Pshaw. Never. He's sticking it out for Team Ford! In fact, he used his latest press conference as an opportunity to announce his bid for re-election.
Hey, you've got to respect the guy's persistence. When your behavior is so bad that "I was in a drunken stupor at the time" seems like the relatively better thing to admit, managing to get out of bed each day really ought to be considered a personal triumph.
But Rob Ford has some powerful enemies. I'm sure those enemies thought that the drug allegation (with video!) would be enough to do him in, kind of like when you find that creepy centipede you found in the corner of your shower and hope that a spray of water will be enough to flush him down the drain. But today, after seeing Ford clinging to the drain for dear life, they brought out the Raid.
During the drug saga, Ford was filmed coming out of his residence in front of a gaggle of reporters. He politely asked them to get off his property, and when they didn't immediately comply, he went totally bat-s--- insane on them, screaming like they were stabbing out his eyeballs to GET THE *&^#$ OFF MY @#(*$()* )(*$*(^$_)# @#$)$)(!#$*#*(! The blue streak could be seen and heard* from the International Space Station. To show it on American TV, CBS had to borrow the censor button usually reserved for making Eminem's raps suitable for radio play.
* - As Gravity reminds us, there is no sound in space. This is dramatic license.
That was bad enough. But let's go back to the videotape. Today, a new video surfaced in which His Honor is waxing poetic on what he is planning to do to someone, presumably one of his political opponents, or maybe a reporter, or an aide. Or, who knows, maybe just some random person on the street because--I've mentioned this before--he's a crack smoker:
I'm going to kill that f---ing guy. I'm telling you it's first-degree murder ... He dies or I die, brother. ... When he's down, I'll rip his f---ing throat out. ... I'll poke his eyes out. ... I'll make sure that motherf-----'s dead. ... No one is [going to] f--- around with me. ... Don't tell me we're liars.Now, who among us hasn't wanted to kill a motherf-----? We just usually have the good sense not to admit to it on video.
But Rob Ford has an excuse. He was "extremely, extremely inebriated." I'll bet.
I suppose it could have been worse. He could have been the mayor of San Diego.