Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2013/ 10 Kislev, 5774
Toronto mayor says he's embarrassed; what about Chicago?
By John Kass
JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) When it comes to the antics of mayors, why does Toronto have all the fun and Chicago is left in the dust?
Not only is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford a confessed crack smoker, he's now on a newly released video saying he wants to tear out a man's throat and pop out his eyes.
In the video recorded on a cellphone, an inebriated Ford stands up, belly swinging, shouting that he wants to "kill" an unnamed man.
"'Cause I'm going to kill that (deleted) guy," Ford says on the video. "No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die. … I'll rip his (blanking) throat out! I'll poke his eyes out."
This has caused an outrage in Toronto, where Ford, a conservative, has spent months demonizing reporters and denying that there ever was a video showing him hitting the pipe. He finally admitted it a few days ago.
"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," Ford said.
Once he admitted he hit the pipe and drank too much, an amazing thing happened. Ford's popularity increased.
"It's extremely embarrassing," Ford sheepishly confessed Thursday after the kill-the-guy video came out. "The whole world is going to see it."
Yes, it might be extremely embarrassing for you, Mayor Ford. But what's truly embarrassing is that now the American news media are scouring the nation's cities wondering how their mayors score on the shame-o-meter.
The San Diego Union-Tribune put out a story the other day asking: "More embarrassing mayor: Rob Ford or Bob Filner?"
Filner, you may remember, was accused by a series of women of being a sexual harasser. There were theories that Filner may have been a sociopath because he refused to show shame. But finally, he left.
Any day now, Detroit will ask the same thing, since former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was recently sentenced to 28 years in federal prison on corruption charges in that now-bankrupt city.
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry hit the crack pipe, too, and famously shouted about a female witness, "(Rhymes with witch) set me up!" Naturally, he was re-elected.
But who cares about San Diego and Detroit and Washington?
These are minor cities when it comes to mayors. To Chicago, the land of real mayors, this Ford business is truly embarrassing.
Our Chicago mayors, to my knowledge, have never smoked crack on video, nor been caught in a drunken rage saying they wanted to rip someone's throat out and poke out their eyes.
I'm not saying it never happened I'm just saying there is no video.
Instead, our mayors have another hobby besides crack and drinking and talking about poking people's eyes out.
Our mayors occupy themselves by running the city into the ground, loading billions of dollars of debt on future taxpayers, putting their friends and relatives at the public trough.
Some Chicago mayors have long associations with unsavory characters of organized crime, what we call the Outfit.
One Chicago mayor, "Big" Bill Thompson a puppet of Outfit boss Al Capone once threatened to punch the king of England in the nose.
And during the height of Prohibition, Thompson brought a couple of white rats onto a stage to fill in for his political rivals in a debate.
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley never got drunk while threatening to rip out a guy's throat and poke out his eyes on video, not even me at least that I know of.
Yet he was known to make scary faces in adopting his terrifying "Mayor Chucky" persona and would rage at length about reporters wanting to "scrooten" his undershorts.
But that's all in the past.
Our current Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the one who worries me.
If there's one mayor in America who needs to cut loose, it's Mayor Rahmfather.
He's wound so tight that sometimes you think he'll bite right through his teeth.
The man never seems to relax, except for that one time last summer when he danced seductively with the back of a chair at a Robin Thicke concert in Grant Park, the mayoral pelvis animating a video that went viral.
But that's not as embarrassing as wanting a political enemy dead.
Unfortunately for Toronto, there was no cellphone video showing Emanuel when he was in his most demonstrative period, a knife in his hand, pantomiming the killing of political enemies in 1992.
According to news accounts of the time, Emanuel was in Little Rock, Ark., working as Bill Clinton's chief fundraiser, letting off some steam at Doe's, a campaign hangout.
"Revenge was heavy in the air," wrote The New York Times as it described the scene.
"Suddenly, Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remember it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.
"Dead!" he screamed. "Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!"
I can just see him, stabbing the knife into the table, the other Clintonistas laughing, calling out the names of enemies, the knife stabbing, stabbing, stabbing.
Would that video have gone viral?
Yes. But Emanuel would never have apologized.
That would have been a sign of weakness.
If Chicago had to choose between a mayor who gets lit up on video or a series of mayors who methodically, soberly spend us into fiscal oblivion, the answer is clear.
We'd take oblivion over shame every time.
That's not embarrassing, is it?
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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.
© 2012, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.