Everyone Knows Toronto's Mayor Is a Drunken Lout, but the Real Scandal Is That He Smoked Crack Once?

Office of the MayorOffice of the MayorWhich is more troubling: that Toronto's mayor has smoked crack on at least one occasion (as he admitted today) or that he attempts to mitigate that transgression by saying he has a habit of getting so drunk that he does stuff like that without remembering it? I'd say the latter should be more worrisome to any Torontonian whose mind is not clouded by arbitrary pharmacological prejudices. Here is what Mayor Rob Ford told reporters today, after months of questions prompted by a video that seemed to show him sucking on a crack pipe:

You asked me a question back in May, and you can repeat that question. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I—am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably, in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago....

I wasn't lying—you didn't ask the correct questions. No, I'm not an addict, and no, I do not do drugs. I made mistakes in the past, and all I can do is apologize, but it is what it is....

I don't even remember. Some of the stuff that you guys have seen me—the state I've been in? It's a problem.

No kidding. The New York Times notes "several public occasions during which Mr. Ford acted boorishly and appeared to be impaired." Now he is saying—in his own defense, mind you—that he frequently stumbles around town in a stupor, so what do you expect? For all we know, smoking crack is the least of what demon rum has driven him to.

As exercises in blame shifting go, I prefer Marion Barry's complaint, upon being caught on tape in a similarly embarrassing situation, that the "bitch set me up," which had the virtue of being true. By contrast, Ford says he "probably" did what he is shown doing on video and furthermore that it was "about a year ago," but he can't really be sure, what with all the out-of-control drinking. He combines that wishy-washy confession with a Clintonian claim that he spoke the literal truth when he misled the public. At least Ford did not say that he lit the pipe but did not inhale.

Still, despite crack's fearsome reputation as a drug that inevitably enslaves its users, there is little reason to doubt Ford's assertion that he is not an crack addict. As I noted yesterday in my Forbes column, the vast majority of crack users do not become heavy consumers, and those who do typically cut back or stop on their own. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, just 3 percent of Americans who have tried this supposedly irresistible and inescapable drug have smoked it in the last month. Furthermore, research by Columbia neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart shows that even heavy users can moderate their behavior in response to incentives—something Ford evidently has trouble doing with respect to alcohol. If a drug is interfering with Ford's ability to do his job, that drug does not seem to be crack.

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  • ||

    How the hell did this guy even make it to being mayor in the first place?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Ford promised to:

    Scrap the city's vehicle registration fee and land transfer tax.
    Dedicate transit resources to building subway lines instead of light rail.
    Phase out streetcars in favour of low-emission buses.
    Contract out city services.
    Do away with the "fair wage" policy when contracting out.
    Cut city staff through attrition.
  • Almanian!||

    OK - so he's Brian Dennehy's wussy, pussyterian cousin, but Ida voted fer 'im.

  • ||

    Huh. OK, I can see that being a winning platform. Did he also promise to be hilariously drunk a lot?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Well, they knew he went to Carleton. "Where the K stands for Quality Education"

  • C. Anacreon||

    Hey Archduke, we've got a half-dozen "healthcare professional" people from Toronto coming to see our hospital in the Bay Area on Thursday (they want to observe our methods). Any advice? Shall I open the morning meeting with a Rob Ford wisecrack?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Yes you must.

  • GILMORE||

    my favorite line of his re: the excuse for hitting the pipe (was this apocryphal? or an actual quote?) =

    "well, I was really really drunk at the time"

    That's pretty awesome.

  • johnl||

    I would vote for him.

  • Stephdumas||

    We could ponder the same question about Coleman A. Young, Kwame Kilpatrick, Marion Berry. ;-)

  • Almanian!||

    He kinda looks like Brian Dennehy's pussy, douchetarian cousin. Slap the shit outta that wuss motherfucker.

  • C. Anacreon||

    He also looks like he could sumo wrestle Chris Christie.

  • Warty||

    "What fuckin' satanic clown orgy did you just crawl out of?"

    "Toronto."

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    meh

    I expected more.

  • JeremyR||

    I don't think it's the actual crack smoking, so much as breaking the law so brazenly.

    If you are a politician, you should really follow the laws, or fight to repeal them.

  • ||

    breaking the law so brazenly

    William Blair, the TO police chief, said that "there was nothing in the video that would support the laying of a criminal charge".

  • ||

    Neither?

  • ||

    I am Lord Garth! Master of the universe! You doubt me only because I have not as yet had my coronation.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I don't understand why I'm supposed to have an opinion on a mayor in Canada with a drug problem. Let me know when he throws a baby or a dog off a bridge or sells a homeless shelter to a fancy pants developer. Until then... who the fuck cares? In the good ol' US o' A we've got paramilitary police brutalizing and/or killing citizens with the staunch backing of clear-headed political elites who'd likely wouldn't know how to smoke crack if it came with an instructional billboard and I'm supposed to give a single shit about a fat mayor smoking crack in moose country.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So you went out of your way to write a post about how you don't care?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Yeah. So what? So did you.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Hugh Akston, you should know better than to argue with a half-man, half-machine. They are pre-programmed to do Tu Quoque.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Racist!

    Eh!

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I'm just surprised Rob Ford doesn't wear a Maple Leafs jersey. In a country where the people are abnormally insane about hockey, Toronto is king. I can't even explain it. The saying 'hockey is Canada and Canada is hockey' is pretty accurate.

  • Gordilocks||

  • Gordilocks||

  • SQRLSY One||

    “Fucking squirrels.” If the squirrels don’t fuck, how in the hell do you EVER expect MORE of them thar cute little critters to show up & steal all of your bird-seed? HUNH?!?!

  • Irish||

    You asked me a question back in May, and you can repeat that question. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I—am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably, in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago....

    In my defense, I haven't been sober since 1985. I could have spent most of the last year drinking bleach and I wouldn't even know it.

  • GILMORE||

    ""Have I tried it? Probably, in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago....""

    So I guess that's not an apocryphal quote. Even more awesome. Better would be if the ending of that sentence were =

    ..."Or last week. Fuck if I know. I party pretty hard dude"

  • SQRLSY One||

    Q: Did ya hear about the queer Irishman?
    A: Yes, he liked women instead of whiskey!

  • Bradley Strider||

    Seriously. The guy has a long record of getting drunk and acting like an asshole, and yet we're supposed to be upset over the one occasion where (far as we know) he just stands around smoking crack?

    That's an improvement. Hell, I'd make it part of a rehab program.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Bitch set him up, eh?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    The real scandal is those mismatched eyes! It's like they stitched two fat bastards together down the nose!

  • entropy||

    Which is more troubling:

    The fact that you think either one is troubling is most troubling.

    This dude rocks. I say we forge his birth certificate and say he was born in Hawaii so he can run for POTUS.

  • SweatingGin||

    There was that Saturday night live sketch of the guy who went on a bender and woke up as president.

  • SweatingGin||

    There was that Saturday night live sketch of the guy who went on a bender and woke up as president.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Is that the one where the guy kept repeating himself?

  • SweatingGin||

    I don't know, I was blacked out for most of it.

    This was totally squirrels, I didn't double-tap the button or anything.

  • Kill all the economists||

    The New York Times notes "several public occasions during which Mr. Ford acted boorishly and appeared to be impaired." Now he is saying—in his own defense, mind you—that he frequently stumbles around town in a stupor, so what do you expect? For all we know, smoking crack is the least of what demon rum has driven him to.

    Well, so what? The US has had at least one alcoholic president that I know of (Grant).

    What's the worst a drunken mayor can do? It's not like a mayor has a nuclear arsenal at his disposal. Unless he tries to invade New York on a bender, what's the problem?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Not only was Grant arguably an alcoholic, he was a damn good President. Like Lincoln said, find out what he drank. We should send a case to Washington for general distribution.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Alberta's best Premier was arguably Ralph Klein, an absolute alchoholic that paid off all of Alerbta's debt.

  • Brian||

    It's no problem he's constantly drunk: he pays aides and advisers to do the thinking for him.

    What? You want a drunk politician micromanaging everything? Politicians have neither the time, the training, nor the acumen for that. See Obama.

  • SweatingGin||

    When drunk, I like to micromanage a playlist. Or YouTube.

    Obviously I should at least be a mayor of a major city.

  • SweatingGin||

    I can't believe how insensitive all these shitlords are. Mayor Ford is clearly trans-sober. It means he is a sober person stuck in the body of a drunk. Learn something, sober oppressors.

    http://transsoberidentity.tumblr.com/

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    You wanna know the best thing about Ford? He's the mayor of Canada's wealthiest and biggest city and one of the largest in North America!

    He ain't running a rinky-dink town.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    is.

  • Winston||

    In case you are wondering how this guy became mayor here were his main two opponents:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Smitherman

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Pantalone

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Sez Smitherman was a drug addict. Nice.

    Who says Canada is boring?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuXdfuSkJus

  • Atanarjuat||

    I tried crack a few times. It ranged from fake/watered-down to "holy shit, I feel fucking amazing". No interest in trying it again, really. I guess the whole addiction boogeyman, plus wondering what the hell's in it, kinda turns me off. Made my hands shake like a motherfucker though.

  • Winston||

    Also no comments that two Montreal Mayors have been forced to resign in the past year due to corruption?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Montreal is bad news when it comes to corruption. Not only that, one of the guys who was forced to step down - Applebaum - was arrested (I forget for what) and angled to get his pension while being held.

    Now Montreal elected a Liberal party hack to lead the city. Basically, they voted for the same crap. Idiots.

  • Winston||

    Aren't you an Anglo business owner in Montreal? You have my sympathies.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Thank you.

    But I'm not Anglo. In Quebec they - the retards - designate me as "Allophone."

    Anglo applies to English stock. Franco to French and Allo to everyone else.

    But I don't use them.

    I'm Canadian and don't give much thought to Quebec.

  • Winston||

    You are an allophone then? Oops. Well even more sympathies then!

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Was he drunk or on crack when he shot Jesse James?

  • ||

    I wouldn't have a problem with it if his government didn't lock 1000s of people (mostly poor minorities) in cages for the exact same fucking thing.

  • David R||

    Every time someone argues for expansive executive power, I'm going to think of the unimpeachable Rob Ford.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I think Obama should be using that excuse a lot more.

    "I may have been in a briefing when I was told about NSA spying/IRS abuses/Fast and Furious/Obamacare problems/etc. but I would have been in such a drunken stupor that I didn't remember what I heard. So you can't blame me!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Bitch set me up"

    vs.

    "I was in a drunken stupor."

    Barry still has the edge here.

  • Paul.||

    Everyone Knows Toronto's Mayor Is a Drunken Lout, but the Real Scandal Is That He Smoked Crack Once?

    No, the real scandal is that he's the mayor of Toronto.

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