The Long, Strange Journey of Toronto's Crack-Smoking Mayor
The mayor of Canada's largest city admitted to smoking crack but has no plans to resign or go to rehab. The news has been a boon for late-night comics.
Equal parts political scandal and personal tragedy is the revelation that Toronto police now have a copy of the videotape showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Ford has apologized repeatedly, and the expressions of contrition just might work. Not because Ford is an image-savvy well-coached politician. He is not. He is often an unscripted train wreck. The media cannot get enough. Nor can his constituents.
In fact, Ford's approval rating actually rose five points to a respectable 44 percent after the police service announced it had the tape. He says he has no plans to resign or go to rehab. He does plan to run for reelection next fall.
Observers in Canada attribute his enduring popularity to the so-called "Ford Nation" phenomenon. His loyalty owes much to the loyalty he engenders for being an ordinary, every man -- someone his constituents can see themselves having a beer with.
Still, the fallout from this Canadian curiosity in the week's news has been a boon for late-night comics but there is an underlying sadness to the whole thing, as you can see in this Dispatch video extra.