The Columnist's Trilogy
Let's try and figure out why Gord Henderson has this fixation on Bill Marra. He had it before Bill even decided to run and he has it again now.
I know that Eddie has greater ambitions that have to be protected from any negativity but there is an easy way to smoke out what Bill's real intentions are. Surely the E-machine's Eminence Grise has figured out how to do it so that we do not have to be bothered by any more Henderson "Marra" columns for awhile.
Over the past week, we have seen three interesting stories that all impact Bill in one way or another:
Story #1 (The good cop Henderson)
- Henderson's Favourites "But I believe Ward 4 would be better served by Bill Marra and Ed Sleiman. Marra has convinced me he'll be a constructive influence and ally of Mayor Eddie Francis and won't play an obstructionist role. I believe him. I also believe it's important to keep him in the game and maintain his currency as the most likely heir in 2010."
Story #2 (The let's build up Eddie again Henderson)
- The Battle Plan "Look for border infrastructure, the Zalev scrapyard and Windsor Airport to top the must-do list when Mayor Eddie Francis and his new council meet with a facilitator in early December to draw up a battle plan for the next four years."
Story #3 (The bad cop Henderson)
- A clear message "Bill Marra's supporters were warning him as far back as May that a rematch with Mayor Eddie Francis would be an exercise in futility because of the mayor's lofty approval ratings in phone polls and focus groups.
According to a source close to Marra, polling conducted among various demographic groups in May, with the assistance of University of Windsor researchers, revealed Francis was untouchable...
the former Ward 4 councillor's closest friends and supporters, including influential fellow Liberals, urged him to reclaim his old seat and position himself for a mayoral run in 2010 when Francis departs."
What does this all mean: Bill, be a good boy and don't bother upsetting Eddie's grand plans and we will not destroy your mayoral goals for 2010. Eddie is untouchable and so don't even think of going there as Leader of the Opposition.
Why the E-machine is so afraid is beyond me if the Mayor is so invincible. I guess that they know that Eddie really has a glass jaw. One good punch and he is down for the count.
They know as well as we do, that Dr. Dave, with no campaign other than a 2-week one with no money and only a Chicken suit as publicity, received about twice as many votes as private pollsters had predicted. If Eddie was allowed by his handlers to debate in public, Wonham’s numbers would have gone even higher. They also know that with virtually no criticism of him for the past 3 years, the public does not know the true story behind the failings at City Hall---the airport “red ink” is the tip of the ice-berg. They are bound and determined to keep it that way at least for the next year so Eddie can run for the PCs with an unblemished record against Sandra (or maybe even federally for the Conservatives if Comartin retires).
The person who is Gord’s source also knew that Marra’s name recognition was unbelievably high 5 months before the election, over 80% I am told. He also knew that the public's mood was that Eddie had accomplished nothing but the blame was put on the shoulders of the Councillors. Bill could have capitalized on that and beaten Eddie badly with Eddie’s poor record. Bill is one of the few people politically who could handle Eddie in debates as we saw last time around.
Could you imagine what Bill could have done with the Ice Track arena going to Tecumseh! No, there is something more that kept Bill from running than being afraid of Eddie’s numbers. We may find out what it is one day. But I suspect I know who was the main influence in Bill not running.
We are in a war preparation mood right now for Eddie’s big battles ahead--body counts, flooded the ward, foot soldiers who ensured supporters trooped to the polls, army of volunteers, irresistible force, powerful machines.
Gord talks about the “armies” that helped out Bill and Ken. Presumably Ken’s army, since Ken supports Eddie, are there in waiting in reserve and would be used to “hurt” Bill if Bill dared defy the E-machine. Yet it was acknowledged that Sleiman did well with friends and family only. I think the armies were more like paper tigers.
Bill, if he dares consider being an Opposition, will be painted as a Liberal so that “The CAW, especially Big Daddy's Local 444” will have a target next time around too. It was just a subtle hint since Gord did say that it was a “triumph by a diverse, non-partisan Marra team, not, as some suspect, a Liberal victory orchestrated by Energy Minister Dwight Duncan.”
As an aside, there was no “slate” of candidates but the Liberals ran at least 3 of them or perhaps 4. As for Dan Petoran, he was groomed for bigger and better things so he should be happy with his numbers as a rookie. Name recognition for next time and learning the ropes. As for Ice Track, McNamara’s winning percentage in Tecumseh was greater than Eddie’s!
The accepted wisdom is that Bill will sit back for a few months rather than making it appear that he is a potential rival to Eddie. He will be quiet, working in the background with the new Councillors and his old colleagues as the consensus builder that he was in the past. He should not rock the boat he will be advised. If that is what he is being told then his advisors are wrong! Are they the same ones who hurt him the last time he ran for mayor by making crucial mistakes and who hurt him this time too by telling him not to run for mayor? Bill needs to get rid of some of his friends who have agendas that are not necessarily good for Bill. They are using him for their advantage, not his!
In any event, Bill will not be allowed to follow that plan. There are 2 things that Eddie can do right away to neutralize Bill and to find out his true feelings and what he wants in the future. Eddie can know within weeks whether he has a friend or foe. And we can learn what Bill is made of and what happened to him over the past three years.
In the first place, the E-Machine can….wait a minute. I am not going to help them. Let them—and Bill---figure it out for themselves. I will let you know if and when they do!