Rob Ford declared "outright war" on Toronto's City Council yesterday -- comparing his situation to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. Never mind that the analogy was inappropriate and stupid. Inappropriateness and stupidity are two badges Ford wears proudly. Andrew Coyne writes that Canadian politics have reached a new low:
Something snapped at Toronto City Council Monday afternoon, and it wasn’t just Rob Ford’s cerebral cortex. Watching the mayor and his brother strutting about the council chamber — ignoring the speaker, taunting other councillors, shouting down city officials, screaming insults at spectators, the whole carried out with an air of anarchic glee — was to sense the last tether connecting our politics to some sort of civilized norms breaking under the strain. We are adrift now, floating wildly, with no idea of where we will end up.
We have now reached the holy grail of modern Canadian Conservatism -- unbounded ego, sailing on a sea of evasion:
We have seen, by turns, the remorseless apology (“All I can do is apologize and move on”), the bargaining for time (“I have nothing left to hide”), the pseudo-legal clam-up (“I can’t say anything, it’s before the courts”), the non-denial denial (“I do not smoke crack; I am not an addict”), the Clintonian verb-parsing (“you didn’t ask me the right question”), the claim of diminished responsibility (“in one of my drunken stupors”), the appeal to impossible standards (“I’m not a perfect person”), the appeal to no standards (“everybody does it”), the invocation of class envy (“all these rich and elitist people … they’re the biggest crooks around”), the plea for sympathy (“this is the second-worst day of my life, after the day my father died”), the declaration of pure, all-devouring solipsism (“I love this job”). And that’s just a partial list.
It's all about burying evidence in a rhetorical cloud. And the rhetoric is nothing more than bile -- brainless, spiteful contempt. Conservatives have made book on that bile -- and we have arrived at the bottom of the barrel.