Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At The Nadir

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.


Anonymous said...

We have witnessed this spectacle for quite a while now. It has moved from initially funny, to puzzling, to sad, to pathetic, to near farce. I'm not too sure where this Homeric saga is headed, but I wouldn't be surprised to find there is no bottom to this particular barrel.

Owen Gray said...

You may be right, Anon. The slide into Hell may yet have a long way to go.

Dana said...

No councillor's homes have been firebombed; none have had their vehicles torched; no vicious street beatings have occurred.

I expect there will be though.

And I expect about 40% of Torontonians will find that understandable and acceptable while Don Cherry shrugs and Stephen Harper waffles.

Not many years ago I was intensely proud of being Canadian.

Lorne said...

Without question, Owen, so many have so much to answer for. But will the public demand a reckoning, or will they just shrug and say, "What do you expect - thy're just politicians?"

Owen Gray said...

And now, Dana, when I see Ford interviewed on NBC or CNN -- or when I see Jon Stewart do a riff on Ford -- I cringe.

Owen Gray said...

One can only hope, Lorne, that enough Canadians will feel what Rob Ford obviously doesn't -- shame. And they will insist that he return to the family asylum.

Anonymous said...

@Dana: While we might not yet have reached the firebombing stage, don't forget what happened in several areas (Guelph, Toronto) in the last federal election.

People displaying Liberal signs had the brake lines on their cars cut, their garage doors vandalized, etc. Even Bob Rae had his car tires slashed at the same time as some of his neighbors. No arrests were made.

In other words, we are almost there. Surely we will be there with another five more years of Harper and his cohorts of Reformacons without conscience?

Owen Gray said...

It's clear these people have no respect for any standards of civilized behaviour, Anon. What counts is power -- and its retention.

Dana said...

Anonymous, I forget nothing. It's my curse.

gingersnap said...

Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989. Canadians should expect the worst of such as Harper. We went to war, so we wouldn't have the dictator Harper governing our country.

Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini had their degenerates doing exactly that, terrorizing to control the masses, just as Harper is doing. Remember Harper's Brown Shirts, at the G20 Summit? Exactly what the other Dictators did.

Harper is also a monster. Harper admires Hitler's Third Reich. Some Canadians are saying? Canada is Harper's Fourth Reich. Even Herr Harper's Ministers are the same sort of, gutless, spineless wonders. They crumble before Harper and cower under his hissy fits.

Harper has no,decency, honor, ethics nor morals, what-so-ever. Ford should be appointed to the PMO, he is after all, friends of Harper and Flaherty. Ford would fit right in with Harper's other degenerates.

Owen Gray said...

It was Ford's support that gave Harper his beach head in Ontario, gingersnap.

But you'll notice that Harper is staying clear of Ford now.