Politics / Woods
He Can't Make It in New York: Harold Ford Takes a Beating in the Media
by Jeff Woods
on Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 1:35 PM
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In a New York minute, Harold Ford Jr. has plunged from media hotshot to has-been. It started with breathless New York Times speculation that he might challenge New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, but quickly devolved into pointed criticism of the possibility as a ridiculous idea. Now, Ford's taking flak from all sides as a carpetbagging egotist. At best, he's a talented guy who was born in the wrong place (um, that would be Tennessee). A Dem operative who's talked to Ford says he's really interested only in "creating buzz" for himself.
In the latest, Newsweek's Alessandra Rafferty suggests our Harold was faking all his conservative positions throughout the years (no, could that be true?) and dismisses his political future out of hand. Helpfully, she offers a career change possibility. That is, if he's looking for something to do.
The sad thing is that, like so many Democrats from moderate states and districts, one suspects that Ford may actually not be all that conservative. Democrats throughout the South and in rural districts take positions on gun control, gay rights, and abortion that you suspect they don't really believe. Maybe Ford should have just moved to New York a lot earlier, but now he's caught between a state that will probably never elect a black Democrat and a state that won't elect an anti-abortion Democrat.
But he is telegenic--with his moderate politics he'd be perfect as Fox News's token Democrat, like a reverse Joe Scarborough.
NARAL Pro-Choice America New York likes Ford so much they made this video about him:
Update: Ford apparently isn't taking no for an answer. He's talking with a pollster (he needs one) and he hired a flack to make this statement:
"Harold is not going to be bullied or intimidated. It's good for New York to have a dialogue. It's good to have credible candidates exploring this race. So what are they do afraid of? Let's be clear: New York needs a senator who will fight for jobs fight to improve our economy, fight for small business and have the independence to stand up and do what's right for our state, regardless of what the party bosses in Albany or Washington want."
Update II: The New York Times, continuing to love on Ford no matter what everyone else thinks, reports: "The vivid language and assertiveness in the statement suggest that, unlike other Democrats who considered challenging Ms. Gillibrand, Mr. Ford will not retreat because of pressure from party leaders or the White House. In fact, he seemed to openly question their intrusion into a potential primary fight."