The strategist is Nick Kouvalis, the incompetent politician is John Tory. According to the Toronto Sun:
“The man behind Mayor Rob Ford's winning 2010 campaign is poised to work against him this year.
Nick Kouvalis will be working for John Tory's mayoralty campaign if the radio host and former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader decides to run, a source told the Sun.”
Two years ago, I attended a seminar at the Manning Networking Conference on political strategy led by Kouvalis, Tom Long (Mike Harris’s architect) and Guy Giorno (Stephen Harper’s former Chief of Staff). I left that session riding a mile high. I thought: so there are campaign strategists out there on our side who actual do Get It. They’re not all a bunch of pathetic, lame-o Red Tory appeasers.
“Kouvalis helped Ford sweep into the mayor's office in 2010 and served as his chief of staff for the first few months of his term.”
Rob Ford’s 2010 campaign was one of the most perfectly run political campaigns I have ever witnessed. It was the Six-Day War of politics. Prior to 2010, whenever strategists intoned that message discipline was one of the most important factors in campaigning, that the only way to get your message across to the people is to repeat it endlessly and refrain from getting sidetracked on peripheral matters, I said yeah, yeah, but I didn’t really Get It. Rob Ford’s “stop the gravy train” message changed that. It permeated every aspect of Toronto’s culture. Even the most thoroughly apolitical were well versed in it. I said, oh, so that’s what you guys meant.
“Reached for comment on Wednesday, Kouvalis would only confirm that he believes Tory - who lost the 2003 mayor's race to David Miller - can win the 2014 election.
‘John Tory can win this election because he is fiscally conservative, can get support for his plans and get the votes through council,’ Kouvalis said.”
Kouvalis is a very smart guy, one of best in politics. But he is dead wrong here. In 2003 I also thought Tory was a competent politician. But his bumbling, disastrous reign as head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party forever dispelled me of that notion, and it should have done the same for Kouvalis and any other sentient being. I could write articles about Tory’s bumbling (and I have: here and here), but suffice it to say, John Tory’s performance was so breathtakingly incompetent, on so many different levels, that he forever disqualified himself in my eyes as a viable candidate for any office. I think he is possibly the most incompetent conservative politician that I know of (though John Boehner is currently making a good run for that title).
By propping up a useless candidate with a brilliant campaign manager, all Kouvalis will succeed in doing is to convert an also-ran joke into a spoiler. Thanks to this misalignment of the stars, Olivia Chow may be able to sneak into office from the left.
And then, the residents of Toronto had better start praying.