Knowing when to take a hard line

In Toronto, my native born city, they elect a mayor of a more libertarian persuasion so he is hassled and harried for smoking crack cocaine as captured on a video something like a year ago. He has, in fact, been hassled and harried by the good and the just since the day he took office. I’m not even sure he can be prosecuted for what he did, but that won’t get the dogs called off.

The Mayor can be removed from office only if incarcerated or through a defeat at the polls, legal experts said. Police have said there is nothing in the images that could lead to an arrest.

Something of the nature of Rob Ford’s politics might be discerned from this which have just now come back into fashion:

Yes! Toronto’s underground hit of 2010, our exclusive Vote For Rob Ford – He’s Not A Communist shirts are back, by popular demand (thanks to a mayor who can’t stay out of the news). Unofficially issued in limited numbers during Ford’s winning election campaign, this one has been unavailable since then. Members of Ford Nation can show their support for their beleaguered Mayor by buying one and wearing it around ‘left-wing pinkos’! (as Don Cherry puts it).

Meanwhile, in New York, there is a story of another mayor who has just been elected. At long last a Democrat and a breath of fresh air as this story reports a version of which you can find in just about any media story anywhere in the US and here as well.

De Blasio has campaigned hard against the yawning gulf between rich and poor, ‘a tale of two cities’ and for minority rights.

He has traded heavily on his family.

Like the Clintons, he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, have run as a package. Poet, editor, feminist and activist, she is a constant fixture by his side.

Their 16-year-old son Dante, instantly recognisable by his halo of Afro hair, has been credited with helping to turn around the campaign with an emotive TV ad about how great his dad is.

Deeply touching, heartwarming no doubt. But for a more nuanced approach, you might try this from a less than mainstream source:

Described by CNN as the ‘unabashed liberal,’ de Blasio is actually to the left of Barack Obama, in the sense that de Blasio didn’t disavow his communist background once it came to light. At least Obama tried to cover up his ties to communist Frank Marshall Davis.

De Blasio had scrubbed the Marxist connections from his campaign website, an omission that momentarily captured the attention of The New York Times. But once these connections and controversies came to light, he embraced his sordid history. He still embraces liberation theology and his work for the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

He’ll fit right in with the new breed of American politician and he will certainly get a good press. Glen Reynolds has the right attitude:

PUTTING TOGETHER A FILM FESTIVAL IN HONOR OF DE BLASIO’S ELECTION AS MAYOR OF NEW YORK. So far I’m planning to show Death Wish, Taxi Driver, Fort Apache, the Bronx, and Escape From New York. And maybe Serpico. Any other suggestions? . . .

But there are still scandals and the media are maintaining their proud tradition of holding politicians to an appropriately high standard as shown here:

The Washington Times newspaper announced that it is ending a regular column by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul following a series of plagiarism charges against his work. . . .

‘We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column,’ said Times Editor John Solomon in the piece announcing the decision. [I have added the bolding.]

As is well known, every politician researches and writes their own speeches and newspaper columns. Unlike lying to the public over the IRS, Benghazi, the NSA, the effect of changes to a major piece of legislation affecting the health of a nation, an oversight of this magnitude is a hanging offence and they were of course absolutely right to take the hard line they took.

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