In Saturday’s Globe and Mail, the normally serious columnist Marcus Gee devotes an entire article to mocking John Tory’s inability to pull the trigger on his political mayoral campaign.
For a year now, John Tory, former campaign manager for Kim Campbell’s disastrous 2003 federal campaign, former managing partner of Torys, (his family law firm), former Rogers Media exec (family friend), former failed Ontario PC provincial leader, former losing mayoral candidate against David Miller, has permitted his name to be considered as a possible replacement for Mayor Rob Ford.
Yet respected political pundits, who may have initially considered Tory a better choice for mayor than Rob Ford, are now having serious doubts about Tory’s suitability.
Edward Keenan of the Toronto Star has called Tory’s failure to launch both incompetent and disingenuous. Gee’s brilliant satirical article, “Run for Milk? John Tory is Absolutely Certainly Thinking About It” holds Tory to further ridicule.
Over a week ago, I covered much the same ground as Gee in my Huffington Post article,
“Potential Mayoral Candidate John Tory Stumbles Even Before Reaching the Political Gate”,
But Gee has skewered John Tory much more humorously.
In this funny article, Gee imagines a conversation between Tory and his wife, Barbara, in which Barbara simply asks John Tory to bring home some milk.
Gee then has Tory launch into an hilarious, totally irrelevant discussion about milk and the advantages of milk and that Tory is in favour of teeth:
“I’m all for milk. Good stuff, no doubt about it. Great for the teeth. And I’m all for teeth, too. Hard to do without teeth, though. ……”
In further response to Barbara’s increasingly desperate pleas to bring home milk, Tory replies:
“Well, let’s talk this through. I certainly have nothing against the idea. And if I don’t bring home the milk, who will? It’s just one of those basic obligations that all citizens have to shoulder, no matter what their station in life (and I’ve been very fortunate, I’m first to admit). Many a time my father would say to me, John, get on your bike and run up to the corner for a quart of skimmed milk for your mother. And I’d do it, no questions asked, I can tell you. On the other hand, if I make a habit of stopping for milk on the way home, what happens to the poor milkman?”
Please note, that Gee, who has been an observer of John Tory, for decades has captured the essential John Tory. Tory knows he is a nice guy. He loves to talk and hear himself talk. And Tory likes to look at and argue all sides of the issue, to the point of irrelevance. And as a substitute for decisive action.
Gee, talking through, Barbara, reminds John, that milkmen have stopped delivering milk over 40 years, and implicitly criticizes Tory for apparently being out of touch as yesterday’s man.
“Barb: John, they stopped delivering milk about 40 years ago.
John: Fair enough. I stand corrected. So it’s not a question of employment.
Barb: No, it’s a question of bringing home the damned milk.
John: Now, Barb, no need to raise your voice. One of the promises I made when I went into public life was to avoid the kind of shouting and name-calling that turns people off politics. There is no reason two people can’t disagree without being uncivil. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Barb: The milk. Can we get back to the milk?
John: What about it?
Barb (through gritted teeth): Can … you … get … some?
John: I understand completely what you’re saying. We need milk. I get that. I don’t disagree. I wouldn’t even be thinking of running for mayor if I weren’t ready to take a stand on important issues of public policy.
Barb: Run for mayor if you want. Run for Grand Vizier, for that matter. Just bring home the milk.
John: Absolutely, but …
Barb: (hangs up).”
Gee’s little absurdist play exposes the basic weaknesses of John Tory, as a political leader. In his effort to be a nice guy and everyone’s friend, Tory has failed to take a firm and unequivocal stand on any of the important issues, affecting the city of Toronto, ie subways vs. LRT, the dismantling of part of the Gardiner Expressway, and the proposed Porter Air expansion.
Gee also anticipates that Tory’s major platform is that he is not Rob Ford and that he can get along with the rest of Council. He promises to be civil and conciliatory.
Tory fails to realize that the times and the City need tough, strong and decisive leadership.
Not dancing around the City Hall flagpole, singing Kumbaya.
And the more Tory dithers and talks around and avoids any serious subject, according to Gee, the more people will hang up on Tory, in favour of other stronger and more forthright candidates.
I am not suggesting that John Tory’s campaign is D.O.A., but the patient is bleeding profusely and the prognosis is not good.