Rob Ford Smoked Crack but Can He Bounce Back?

Mayor Rob Ford talking to reporters

Can Mayor Rob Ford bounce back after coming clean and publicly admitting that he did indeed smoke crack? This revelation follows months of denials from Toronto Mayor Ford that he was not smoking crack in a video with other users. According to Ford, the incident was a one time thing, saying he was influenced to partake in the drug use in the midst of a “drunken stupor.” He maintains he wasn’t lying when reporters asked him about the allegations, saying that they “didn’t ask the right questions.”

“I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a rape of video. I want to see the state that I was in.” said Ford, talking to reporters Monday. The evidence surfaced after Gawker and the Toronto Star reported the existence of the tape in May of this year. A media frenzy descended upon Mayor Ford and his campaign for re-election, with Toronto city citizens baffled as to how a Mayor could allow himself to openly smoke crack on camera.

Rob Ford’s refusal to drop out of the race for re-election has pundits and critics stunned. Meanwhile, city councillors have been calling for Ford to take a leave of absence and co-operate with the police investigation into the incident. And despite all that has happened to Rob Ford since his initial denial and then retroactive confession of smoking crack, his approval numbers actually went up.

Oddly enough though, this isn’t the first incident of a Mayor or political candidate smoking crack and surviving. Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was caught on camera smoking crack in 1990, which landed him a 6 month prison sentence. After his release, Barry was not only elected to the D.C. city council in 1992, but was then re-elected as Mayor of D.C. in 1994, where he served from 1995-1999. To top this, Barry, much like Rob Ford, claimed he was the victim of a drunken haze when the crack smoking incident occurred.

Former Mayor Marion Barry was caught smoking crack in 1990
Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was caught smoking crack, but was re-elected as D.C. Mayor in 1995.

While you might think smoking crack is the worst possible thing a public servant could do, there are other political mishaps which have landed politicians in the dustbin of history. New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner experienced this firsthand when his campaign was plagued by his online sexting habits, after it was revealed that, not once, but on several different occasions Mr. Weiner had sent lewd photos to strangers on the internet, even after coming clean and claiming the sexual advances would stop. This faux pas reeked havoc on Mr. Weiner’s campaign, and he ultimately lost in the primaries.

While Rob Ford is still in the infancy of this controversy, one thing remains to be seen; whether or not he can bounce back from this scandal and reclaim his seat as Toronto’s mayor. His candid and seemingly genuine confession and plea for forgiveness lent him some considerable credibility with voters. It seems as though Ford’s openness about his drug use in light of the evidence has put him back on a path towards redemption with Toronto voters.

When looking over the history of this scandal, however, this new found honesty still doesn’t change the fact that Rob Ford had initially lied about the allegations. Perhaps Ford hoped it would all just go away; that the evidence would be swept under the rug, or somehow the tape’s findings would be inconclusive. Unfortunately for him, the former did not come to fruition, and instead he now has to live with this crack cocaine laced stain on his political record.

If Marion Barry has shown us anything, it is that, when it comes to the world of politics, you can openly smoke crack, go to prison, and bounce right back with almost no problem. If Mayor Rob Ford was looking to solidify the demise of his campaign, perhaps he should have sexted a nude to his lover.


Editorial by John Amaruso
CTV News
BBC News
Washington Post

You must be logged in to post a comment Login