Rocco Rossi? Now That's a Good Fella!
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Rocco Rossi? Now That’s a Good Fella!

You know what sounds like a great idea? Running an “attention-grabbing” ad campaign in which you equate winning the Toronto mayoralty with becoming Don. Seriously, communications-people-seeking-work-in-politics, this is your ticket. Find an Italian candidate, one who points to his roots in a hard-working immigrant community on a regular basis, running in an election where fiscal (mis)management and respect for taxpayer money has become THE ballot issue, and position him as a mobster.
You will get attention, we promise you.
Throughout this 2010 election cycle, one of the persistent, nagging questions has been: just what has possessed the people running these campaigns, exactly? Many of the leading mayoral candidates have some serious political heavyweights advising them, and by and large they have failed spectacularly at capturing our imaginations or guiding their candidates to anything resembling success. From John Laschinger at Pantalone’s earnest but lacklustre campaign to Bernie Morton’s tunnel-sized missteps in the Rossi camp, the tone-deafness most of these campaigns are evincing is astounding. Forget the arguably racist undertones in equating an Italian-male candidate seeking to project strength and leadership as a mafioso, on the level of pure strategy this ad has Rossi headed precisely in the opposite direction from the voters.
With this weekend’s polling numbers showing Ford’s lead solidifying, it is no wonder the campaigns are scrambling to capture public interest. This may do it, though not in the way Rossi might have hoped.
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