It’s a script we’ve seen played out time and time again with fallen celebrities and politicians who wish to regain their public reputations.
And this is the strategy that beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tried to exact earlier this week. By all accounts, admitting his use of crack cocaine should have been the turning point in which Rob Ford started his journey to redemption.
But it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, an embarrassing video of Ford on a drunken rant hit the headlines, he lost his weekly radio show, and the late night TV jokes just kept coming.
It’s because his apology lacked one vital ingredient: sincerity. Yes, Ford did admit to taking drugs and promised he would never do it again, but he failed to take ownership of his actions. Instead, he claimed diminished responsibility because he was in ‘one of his drunken stupors’.
That his drunkenness, not the drugs, is the actual issue at hand was lost on no-one, except Ford. Dr. Raju Hajela, a Calgary family physician who specializes in addiction, told news website CP24.com that denial is a psychological defense mechanism that includes rationalization to provide an explanation for one’s behaviour.
Ford continues to ignore calls to step down and is determined to run again for mayor in the next election.
Following a week from hell for the man, his family and the people of Toronto, the media is now reporting that Ford is ready at least to take some time off to get help. This could be a winning strategy.
If he emerges from rehab fit and well, and ready to publicly admit his drinking problem, his chances at the polls are as good as, probably better than, if this whole sorry mess had never played out.