If at first you don’t succeed, try something you’re even less qualified for? Not exactly conventional wisdom, but very little of that applies when talking about the Fords. For example, holding a press conference to announce you’re not running for office. Doug Ford announced earlier he will not seek to replace Tim Hudak, as leader of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario. Some Liberals may disagree but this incredibly good for everyone. My one month old daughter is more qualified than Doug. At least when she’s full of poop she acknowledges it, loudly.
During the provincial election, I made no secret of the fact I disagreed with Tim Hudak on any number of fronts. Were I the sort to have believed in his platform chapter & verse, I’d still say tactically he ran a bad campaign. None of that means he wasn’t qualified for the job of party leader.
For starters, on a personal level Tim is by all accounts a decent guy. I’d have to check but I don’t think he’s ever been described as a bully, a shameless opportunistic liar, or been forced by law to apologize for slandering senior police officials.
Politics is very much about personality but experience is equally key. Tim Hudak has been a member of the legislature for almost 20 years. Before being chosen as leader, he held various senior positions within the party caucus. Tim’s experience made him a logical choice for his party at the time. Then there’s Doug.
Doug frequently criticized John Tory’s lack of City Hall experience during the campaign. With even less Queens Park experience than he has at City Hall why would Doug think he was fit to lead? Doug frequently criticized Kathleen Wynne for being an unelected Premier. How could someone who doesn’t know how parliamentary democracy works honestly believe he’s fit to lead one?
The answer to both questions is simple. Doug Ford couldn’t spell hypocrite if you spotted him half the letters. This is evidenced further by his claims last week about the party needing to return to the “progressive” part of its name. The same Doug Ford who voted against community housing, fanned the flames of homophobia at any opportunity, and doesn’t believe children with autism should breathe fresh air, considered himself progressive. Ridiculous to the point of being offensive, Unfortunately, like selling chainsaws as kids toys, some people will buy it.
Those of us interested and involved in politics are often guilty of assuming the general public is as engaged and aware on issues as we are. We are confounded when blatant lies are believed to be fact and people vote against their own interests because of them. We protest, “don’t people know better?”
Doug is guilty of knowing damn well they don’t and uses that ignorance to his advantage. His sound bite sermons, serve as gospel to a portion of the electorate who’s political involvement begins and ends in a voting booth, if at all. Fortunately for the time being at least, he will preach them to no one.
There were many Liberals eagerly anticipating squaring off against a Doug Ford lead Conservative party. Visions of easy wins left many joking about donating to his campaign. Were Doug to win though, we all would have lost. Even running would have given him an undeserved, and dangerous pulpit. Doug’s entire approach to politics is as toxic as the snake oil he peddles as populist elixir. He poisons public discourse to the detriment of much needed serious debate.
The Progressive Conservatives are now free to elect a qualified leader, one with an honest respect for the difference of opinions so vital to any democracy. Political differences aside, the public good is better served with capable serious leaders at the helm of all political parties.
Besides, when Kathleen Wynne beats whoever the PCs elect now at least we can feel it was a fair fight.