Not really. That’s the folklore, but not really. He had already decided that he wasn’t running. People were asking him to reconsider, and John had said that he wasn’t running. At the same time, I wanted to make sure he wasn’t running, and so we played politics.
This is what Nick Kouvalis is saying today. And here's what he said November 5th, 2010:
"Anybody know who Karen is, the Twitter account that was a fake person? Well, that person called into the radio show and challenged his integrity again. And then John decided not to get into the race and that was a huge victory for Rob, so he took John out and Rob won because of it."
In the new version, Tory was out anyway - Kouvalis was just playing games to make sure that was true.
In the original version, he cleverly boxed Tory out of the race. If that's folklore, it's folklore he created.
I'm less fussed about the fact that he's changing gears - all people do that, all the time. New positions are regularly defined as refinements of old ones (floor-crossing being my favourite example). We want to see ourselves in different lights at different points of our lives and can/do interpret the past in ways that are convenient for our present (if not our future, but that's why we have cognitive dissonance and confabulation in the first place).
Kouvalis could be reinterpreting his past for public consumption alone - that's what spinsters do - but it's possible he's trying to convince himself as well.
What would make me think that?
While he still comes off as supremely confident in this interview, his wording borders less on arrogance than we've seen in the past. Additionally, he's less belligerent and more proactive.
Instead of “Be very careful, the Speaker did not find ‘Nick Kouvalis’ tactics reprehensible,” we have "Please write my whole answer and not part of it here: no, he wasn’t a good mayor, but he did do good things."
There may have been faked calls and other shenanigans in this campaign - I've no doubt there was. What's more interesting is the fact that Kouvalis isn't talking about those things; in fact, this is the most policy-oriented interview he's done that I've read.
People age and mature. They are influenced by the company they keep, and clearly Tory runs a completely different ship than Rob Ford did. At the same time, some tigers never change their stripes, but recognize the benefit of appearing as though they did.
The variant of Nick Kouvalis we see in this interview is not the same one we're used to. Whether maturity, context or an ability to read the landscape and know what's going to work in one's interest for the foreseeable future, this says something.