Following widespread news that Toronto Police are in possession of the alleged Rob Ford crack cocaine video, there has never been a better time to read the essential backgrounder to Rob Ford's increasingly wild and erratic mayoralty.
When people talk about recalling politicians, it's usually because the politician delivered something other than what they advertised, and the voters voted for--lies, frauds and infidelities. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, however, is exactly what the voters endorsed. They elected him with full knowledge of his obstreperous history as a city councillor, his inability to play well with others, his one-track mind and one-track message. His opponents warned voters that his platform was mostly wishful thinking. But Torontonians voted for him anyway.
The story of Rob Ford is the story of what happens when voters--the supreme authority--throw a wrench into the gears of democracy and elect someone who can't govern, and manifestly never could. Ford's mayoralty has forced Toronto to reconsider questions that seemed settled long, long ago. What kind of city chose this man to take the helm? Where does a mayor derive his mandate--from the voters, the polls, or talk radio? Does it matter if a man is a national embarrassment if he's popular at home?
Unwittingly, Ford has made possible a resurgence of the urban values that unite conservatives and liberals alike, galvanizing citizens in a way the city hasn't seen in some time. This is The Gift of Ford.