Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Former Rep. Harold F. Ford, Jr.
Harold F. Brown, Jr., who served five terms in the House of Representatives and narrowly lost a race for the Senate in his native Tennessee, now lives in New York and is seriously thinking about running for the Senate again -- this time in a New York Democratic Primary against the current appointed cypher, Kirsten Gillibrand.
As a New Yorker with a vote in that primary, I say, go for it, Harold!
Ford is a smart, tough, dynamic, young (39) guy with deep experience in politics and government and mainstream liberal Democratic views on most issues, anchored by his southern background and chairmanship of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. Ford says that if he runs, he would campaign as a strong independent in the mold of the late Daniel Patrick Moyhihan who would fight for New York and take no guff from his own party's leaders, including Harry Reid and New York's senior Senator, Chuck Schumer.
This would be in marked contrast to Gillibrand who, after being appointed a year ago by accidental Governor David Patterson at the end of an embarrassing process, seems to have disappeared except to phone in her vote for whatever Harry and Chuck want. Her juvenile deference to the preening Schumer is especially annoying to New Yorkers, since she's got the seat that was held by a series of tough cookies from Robert F. Kennedy to Moynihan to Hillary Clinton. Shouldn't a Senator from the Empire State at least be noticed for something in the course of a whole year? Not Gillibrand.
The knives are already out for Ford. It's said that he's not a New Yorker, which is true except for the last few years. But Bob Kennedy and Hillary Clinton had even less time in New York. For my money, Ford's experience and qualifications trump Gillibrand's, even if the latter's ancestors founded New Amsterdam.
Ford's moderate record in Congress in Tennessee is already being used against him by New York City liberals who have pledged their troth to Gillibrand. It's really laughable, since until last January, Gillibrand, as a member of the House from an upstate district, belonged to the Blue Dog Coalition, supported the NRA and held a host of conservative positions. She's flip-flopped on all that to head off a primary challenge from one of several downstate liberals who hoped to capitalize on her ideological deviationism. So it's hard for her to point the finger at Ford for making the same "adjustments" to some of his positions.
When push comes to shove -- and I think it has already come, with the recession, the terrorist threat and multiple wars, and all the other pressing problems we face as a nation -- I'd rather have a guy like Ford who's willing to step up to a fight as my Senator than an opportunistic tool like Gillibrand.
What's your take on Ford? Post a comment.