Is Rob Ford Toronto’s Sarah Palin? A five-point comparison
Rob Ford is in trouble again for blabbing sensitive information to the public. This time, his critics on city council are accusing him of revealing an $8-million judgment against the city by the Canada Revenue Agency. (Ford says he’s innocent, and, in any case, Pam McConnell said it first.) But the choicest bit from this latest Fordian brouhaha is the reaction of Adam Vaughan: “There’s a poll coming out [Wednesday] that says he’s in first place [in the mayoral race]… You want to elect Sarah Palin, you’ve got the candidate before you.”
Is it really fair to compare Ford to Palin? We’ve compiled this five-point guide.
1. Ethics troubles
• This latest incident marks the fifth time that Ford has been knocked for his conduct—of course, he may be found innocent of these most recent accusations. The first four times, the integrity commissioner found him in breach of the code of conduct: twice for using city hall letterhead for non-city business, once for saying on the radio that Adam Vaughan was peddling influence, and once for a recent real estate deal. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin was found by the Alaska State Legislature to have “abused the public trust” in a vendetta against her sister’s ex-husband, a state trooper.
• Advantage: Ford. None of his four-and-counting lapses rise to the level of Palin’s “troopergate.”
• Rob Ford has been on Toronto city council since winning his ward in 2000 and is presumably hoping to be mayor until 2014. Sarah Palin is a retired half-term governor and former mayor.
• Advantage: Ford. Never mind that Toronto has three times the population of Alaska. Even if we give Palin credit for her years in Wasilla town politics, Ford will have her beat by 2014 if he wins the mayor’s job. If she wants to get back in front, she’ll have to find something to do in 2012.
• Rob Ford’s family owns a successful printing business, and Ford uses his own funds to run his city hall office. Sarah Palin made around $12 million in one year alone and can literally command a private jet just to show up at your fundraiser.
• Advantage: Palin. Can we swim in your money pool, Sarah?
4. Personal indiscretions
• Ford has had two notable embarrassments: one at the Air Canada Centre, where he was escorted out for being loud and obnoxious—and possibly drunk—and another when he was briefly charged with assaulting his wife (the charges were withdrawn). Sarah Palin hid her daughter’s pregnancy from the public and was unable to answer even basic questions from Katie Couric.
• Advantage: Ford. Sure, both he and Palin have looked bad on numerous occasions, but Ford gets extra points for inadvertently getting a reporter to look rude and crude, even in comparison to Rob Ford.
• Both Palin and Ford are conservatives with a “just folks” image they’ve worked hard to build with their considerable wealth. Both have a simplistic view of the solutions they support; never mind Ford’s views on public health spending, how’s “drill, baby, drill” looking right now, Sarah? Finally, both have an older patron to thank at least a little for their political prominence: Ford’s father was a provincial MPP, and some old dude whose name we can’t seem to recall was running with Palin in 2008.
• Advantage: Actually, when put that way, they really do sound a lot alike. Let’s call it a tie.
Rob Ford, 4-2. Looks like Adam Vaughan was off the mark—Ford’s not quite as ridiculous as Sarah Palin. Kudos on besting the Wasilla hockey mom who was almost vice-president.