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What good could possibly come of a Rob Ford mayoral campaign?

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City Councillor Rob Ford would make a terrible mayor, but that doesn’t mean he’d make a terrible mayoral candidate. Here at City State, because we enjoy political spectacle, we are openly encouraging him to mount a campaign. One fellow hack in the city hall press gallery said a Ford candidacy would unleash a “public shit show.” The most likely result of such a campaign would be that we’d get to watch Ford hang himself. But there is some evidence that Ford can be a crafty politician at times, and he could make life uncomfortable for his opponents. To give you some idea, I dug up this clip of Ford debating Mayor David Miller last September, in which Ford manages to drive Miller bananas.

To put the clip in context, it is taken from council proceedings last September 26, in the midst of the controversy over last summer’s cuts to city services. The city had already announced that community centres would be closed on Mondays, but at council that day, Miller tabled a motion to reopen them—and the knives were out for him. According to council’s rules of procedure, every councillor was allowed to grill him for a full five minutes (which is an eternity compared to the paltry few seconds that opposition MPs get during Question Period in Ottawa). It was probably Miller’s toughest day on council in his entire tenure as mayor, but he handled himself well in the hot seat—until Ford’s turn came.

Watching the video, it’s hard to tell if Ford is an honest-to-goodness rube or just playing the role. On the surface, he seems to be merely hacking away at his usual hobby horses: overspending and perks. But whether by design or by accident, he manages to disguise complicated questions as simple ones, then looks down his nose at His Worship’s appropriately complicated reasoning. Miller, who is smarter than anyone on council, cracks under questioning from his inferior, displaying both his temper and his sense of entitlement. If I were George Smitherman—or, at least, the version of George Smitherman in some parallel universe who is mounting a campaign to unseat Miller in 2010—I’d want Rob Ford to run, too, just to share the load of mucking up the incumbent.

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