, 02.05.2018 04:36 PM

Ten reasons why everyone should take Doug Ford seriously

When I quit the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign – because she’d not told the truth to the media, among other things – guess who was the first person to call me down in the States?

Doug Ford.

“Warren, old buddy,” he said.  “We’ve had our differences, but I want you to chin up.  Rob and I like you and respect you.  Let’s get together when you get home.”

When you’re a political chew toy, you tend to remember calls like that one: you remember who called, and who didn’t.  So, we stayed in touch after that.  We did TV political panels together, and we talked pretty regularly. I told him he shouldn’t run for mayor again, because John Tory was doing a great job, and John would cream him.  He should run instead to be Premier, I told  him.

There’s clearly a market these days for populist conservatives who defy the conventional wisdom, and say what they think, I told him.  And there were lots of reasons why he’d be a formidable PC leadership candidate.

Here’s ten.

  1. Doug’s working hard:  Every plugged-in PC is telling me the same thing: “Doug’s working the phones.  Doug’s reaching out.  Doug’s doing all the right things.”  He’s doing what a candidate has to do, in a race as short as this one: he’s working his tail off.
  2. Doug’s disciplined: I think his musings about scrapping a carbon tax are a mistake  – we need it (as a province) and his party needs it (because it finances their entire platform).  But apart from that, he hasn’t blown any feet off, and he’s saying the kind of stuff card-carrying Conservatives love.
  3. Doug has early support: Planning a rally this early in a campaign is a big risk: it takes a lot of time and hard work to get hundreds of people to come out to one of your events.  Well, Doug got out thousands out for a Toronto rally last week, and in a very short time frame, too.  It gave him momentum, and the visuals were pretty stunning – not everyone there was an old white guy.  At all.
  4. Doug’s evolved:  A few weeks ago, I watched TVO’s fun Political Blind Date show, because Doug and Jagmeet Singh were on, and because I like both of them.  Jagmeet was engaging, warm and likeable, as you’d expect.  But so was Doug – big time.  I was shocked at how he had evolved as a politician.  Gone is the shouty city councillor, always being forced to defend his brother’s bad behaviour.  In its place was a HOAG – a Hell Of A Guy.
  5. Doug’s better at retail:  The TVO show also revealed something else.  You could tell that the participants in the broadcast – the Dippers who agreed to the match-up, and perhaps the TVO producers who came up with the idea – expected Doug to be what he had always been: a bit of circus act, a trained bear riding a tiny bike in the centre ring.  Someone to be laughed at.  Well, guess what?  He was way better in the mano-a-mano segments than Jagmeet was. Way.
  6. Doug has a USP: A Unique Selling Proposition, that is.  It’s easy to see how to some disengaged voters – that is, 99 per cent of voters – would see Kathleen Wynne, Andrea Horwath, Caroline Mulroney and Christine Elliott as all kind of the same thing.  You know: female, centrist, careful, establishment.  Doug is none of those.  He offers the only clear alternative, for the voters who are after one.  (Voters are always after one.)
  7. Doug gives quote: The guy is a quote machine.  The microphone loves him.  He never uses a 20-dollar word when a two-dollar word would suffice.  He never uses jargon and acronyms and Newspeak.  He talks about values.  He knows facts tell – but stories sell.  Doug Ford is a one-man media machine.
  8. Doug dominates vote-rich GTA:  An important Mainstream poll – little-noticed in last week’s madness – apparently showed that only one PC leadership candidate was very strong in the part of the province that decides who gets to be government: Toronto.  In 416/905, he dominates.  That matters.  Remember: his brother crushed George Smitherman, and Doug came within 60,000 votes in his mayoral run.  Ford Nation knows how to win in GTA.
  9. Doug ain’t dumb:  I worked for a populist-type politician who everyone – from the Martinites to the media – always dismissed.  They always put him down.  They always said he was dumb, when he was way (way) smarter than all of them.  Doug Ford, so far, is running a very smart campaign.  If he can keep his mouth under control, he’s got a real shot at winning.
  10. Doug is reaching out:  He did with me.  And I know he’s reaching out to many others who have criticized him in the past: “The door is open,” he’s telling them.  “Just walk through it.” In a leadership race – and in an election – it’s all about connection.  Doug is connecting.  He’s reaching out.

Can Doug Ford win?  Damn right he can.  Underestimate him at your peril.

23 Comments

  1. Frank Dumas says:

    I’m not on team Ford but in one text you made me realize that I might be prejudiced.

    On the carbon tax comment: not all conservative refuse to admit that humans contribute to climate change, HOWEVER we can disagree on the solutions. Ontario residents are already suffering high energy costs. Other solutions could be more efficient than a carbon tax, even an imperfect cap & trade would be better.

  2. Robert White says:

    11. Doug Ford is a stage prop for Mila (((cough))) Caroline Mulroney who is being processed for PC Party coronation by the likes of Peter Van Loan & Lyin’ Brian Mulroney who are elite former federal politicians. In the case of Lyin’ Brian Mulroney we can safely characterize him as a disgraced former federal politician that embarrassed CANADA on the international stage of politics due to his penchant for Black Money, Influence Peddling, & lying to the Canadian people.

    12. Can Doug Ford win the provincial election when the Federal Conservative Party brass are engaged in a coronation of a former PC Party bosses’ daughter?

    Nope, and not a snowball’s chance in Hell.

    RW

    • Pedant says:

      Mulroney never embarrassed Canada and it was his finesse and negotiating skills that gave Canada such a beneficial NAFTA deal. The Americans could’ve taken us to the cleaners, but they didn’t thanks to Mulroney and Clark. One of only two world leaders (the other being Thatcher) requested in Reagan’s will to speak at the President’s funeral.

      The “Irish Eyes are Smiling” bit was silly but now with PM Selfie doing things like photo-bombing highschool kids taking prom photos (so creepy), I’m quite nostalgic for a PM whose silly gags at least involve some talent.

      • Robert White says:

        It must be nice living in your head with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the leprechaun from the 60s Lucky Charms commercial.

        Note: I come from the same Punk era as Kinsella, Strummer, Ramone, & the rest of the Punk riffraff that was borne out of 60s phoney Beatlemania.

        RW

        • Pedant says:

          1) I was born in 1980.

          2) Like the rest of the Baby Boomers, you took the money and ran. don’t act like you’re so virtuous or rebellious.

          3) I’m going to enjoy observing Caroline Mulroney’s long career in public life. Unlike PET’s sprog, she is imbued with superior intellect that will shine through long after her beauty fades.

          • Robert White says:

            Unlike my fellow riffraff punkers I, for one, pretty much sat in my parents’ basement for my whole unemployed so-called ‘working’ life. I ended up taking care of my parents in old age, and then after they died I got stuck taking care of my Functionally Retarded older brother. Presently, I am indigent, on Anti-social Assistance, and I’m selling my inherited antiques to survive. I don’t have a pot-to-piss-in, and I have never had any Disposable Income whatsoever in my lifetime.

            I’m selling my last Slingerland Radio King, and I sold off all my woodworking machinery so I’m down to the meagre amount of tools I had back when I was in my 20s.

            In terms of virtuosity I am one that has never broken the law, and I’m a confirmed Anglican. My driving record is spotless, and I care about people, and all life.

            In terms of rebellion, I’m an adherent of Aristotle who accused me of being a political animal. My favorite drummer is Gene Krupa, and then Keith Moon follows second. Krupa was a pothead like me, and Moon was too rebellious to survive the 70s. My favorite Economist is Professor Emeritus Karl Marx, and I have been barred from the CBC website for the foreseeable future.

            If getting barred from the CBC website is not a true indicator of rebellion I don’t know what is, motherfucker!

            just kidding… 😉

  3. Willie P says:

    Does Doug have a #MeToo moment somewhere in his past that could trip him up? Don’t know, but just askin’

  4. Pedant says:

    I just learned today that Doug has already confirmed he is seeking a seat. I had assumed that he’d wait until the leader is selected and, if he won, he would then work out which existing candidate would step aside. I thought he was only in it to lead, but not to be a mere member of the PC caucus.

    He will be running in Etobicoke North (he hasn’t yet clinched the nomination, but that’s just a formality).

    I give him tremendous credit for this. Etobicoke North is a very (VERY) safe Liberal riding in the NW corner of Toronto. Ford Nation notwithstanding, this is not the place any Conservative would wish to run. Either of the other Etobicoke ridings (E-Centre, where his Ward 2 was located, and E-Lakeshore) would have been leagues better. He is cutting his provincial teeth in very inhospitable terrain and he is counting on the Fords’ municipal popularity (Ford easily beat Tory in this part of the city in 2014) transferring to provincial politics. It’s a gamble.

    If Ford wins, he’d be representing one of the poorest seats in the city while Kathleen Wynne represents the richest (Don Valley West).

  5. Miles Lunn says:

    As much as I hate to say this, definitely you have a point. I think he absolutely can win the PC leadership race although probably the biggest barrier is the short time frame. If it were a longer race, he would probably be the frontrunner as more time to sign up new members. That being said, he doesn’t have a lot of room for growth on subsequent ballots so he has to either win on the first ballot or come fairly close. Also he needs to hope Elliott comes in third as he is more likely to pick up some of her second choices than that of Mulroney. If he doesn’t come first on the first ballot he is finished.

    As for the general election, there is plenty of ammo to use in attack ads against Doug Ford unlike Elliott or Mulroney thus choosing him is a big gamble. That being said I have found often when the right chooses someone the left thinks is unelectable they just assume they will defeat themselves and don’t try hard thus I think the biggest risk is the Liberals and NDP just assume he will defeat himself and taking that approach would be a mistake. But if they hit him hard, he can be taken down whereas with Elliott or Mulroney, the Liberals and NDP need to hope they stick their foot in their mouth otherwise they will win.

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    After Trump, anything and everything is possible. I too believe that Ford could pull it off. IMHO, it’s not the length of a campaign that’s crucial. Rather it’s building up momemtum day in and day out and multiplying its force steadily with each passing day. Ford could conceivably do that and win.

  7. Sean says:

    Considering that Doug and Rob were Toronto politicians who ran on exploiting people’s dislike of Toronto itself (specifically the downtown part), winning over the suburbs should be a piece of cake. I always thought their support was much stronger outside of Toronto.

  8. James Curran says:

    My money is on him to win….unless OPC has some mechanism to screw him during leadership. I’m happy to take all bets.

  9. David Ray says:

    C’mon Warren. Just because someone calls you as Ford has and that time Harper did does not undo the damage they could/would do to our fragile democracy…

    How many foxes does it take before a henhouse becomes a foxhouse?

  10. Ted H says:

    DoFo is still an a**hole, a blowhard and like Trump and extremely ugly example of a (human being?). But as P.T. Barnum said, “no one ever got rich overestimating the intelligence of the public” or something like that. He is a wealthy business owner and of a business he inherited, did not grow, and he talks about the “elites” to the morons stupid enough to think he has their back. Well people deserve the government they get but I don’t deserve this POS nor do I want to even see his face.

    • Pedant says:

      I think someone was triggered 🙂

      I had a nice laugh at this part : He is a wealthy business owner and of a business he inherited, did not grow, and he talks about the “elites” to the morons stupid enough to think he has their back.

      Replace “inherited business” with “inherited trust fund”, and “talks about elites” with “talks about feminism”, and who does that sound like?

  11. Jeremy says:

    Best case scenario for Wynne

  12. Willie P says:

    “The same polls show that Ford turns off a lot of voters. Fully 45 per cent of respondents said they had an unfavourable opinion of Ford, more than double those who had a favourable view of him. An Ontario PC Party led by Ford will have a big favourability deficit to overcome.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-ontario-pcs-polls-1.4520530

  13. Kathy says:

    I’m a total idiot.

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