Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Harold Ford Starts His Campaign With A Long List Of Easily Refutable Lies


Lieberman-like conservative Harold Ford

How long will Democratic campaign operative Joe Trippi be able to ride on the goodwill progressives feel for Howard Dean's? He starts his boneheaded post on why New Yorkers need a Harold Ford candidacy with "As the campaign manager for Howard Dean..." Give me a break!

He says he thinks "it's important to have independent voices in the Democratic Party," which means Harold Ford should run. In what way is one of the worst corporate shills and Wall Street patsies in the Democratic Party "an independent voice?" Jonathan Tasini, who is also running for that Senate seat, is an independent voice. Harold Ford, president of the DLC, is a Republican voice in the Democratic Party.

"Primaries," posits Trippi, "allow for real debate about issues, new solutions and new ideas, and they allow for the challenging of stale thinking that often takes hold in a party’s establishment." I agree 100%. But what does that have, by any stretch of the imagination with Harold Ford? Even where he has been at odds with the Democratic establishment-- he's anti-gay, anti-choice, pro-war, pro-torture and generally adamantly opposed to efforts that favor working families over our corporate overlords-- he's trying to curry favor with New York State Democrats by noisily doing about-faces on all those issues. His old positions were all well and good for Tennessee, where those attitudes get quite a bit of truck, but in New York... Ford has been busy re-writing history to paint himself as pro-choice and pro-gay. Unfortunately for him, his career long voting record is widely available.

Harold Ford is an independent voice in the Democratic Party the same way-- the exact same way-- Joe Lieberman is an independent voice in the Democratic Party: no way at all. If Harold Ford was white, he would have left the Democratic Party along with the rest of the reactionary Democrats who joined the GOP in the last few decades. He didn't have that option. His OpEd in yesterday's NY Post is filled with delusion. He claims people are falsifying his record. Here's his record, and here and here or is the congressional record false?

"New Yorkers deserve a free election," he asserts oh so boldly. No wonder Tennessee is so happy to not have to worry about this weasel ever coming back to plague them again!
I am pro-choice-- have always been since I entered politics almost 15 years ago. My cumulative grade with NARAL during 10 years in Congress was right at 80 percent. Any assertions to the contrary are false.

Ford has always been known as a liar. He's still a liar. NARAL doesn't even issue cumulative voting record scores. And yesterday they took issue with Ford's bullshit; Nancy Keenan, their president:
"Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. today claimed that he is pro-choice and has a cumulative record of voting with NARAL Pro-Choice America 80 percent of the time during his tenure in Congress. NARAL Pro-Choice America tracks every choice-related vote in Congress, but we don't issue cumulative percentages of lawmakers' voting records. What's clear is that Mr. Ford did not have a consistently pro-choice record during his decade in Congress. On some of the most difficult reproductive-rights issues, such as the Bush Federal Abortion Ban and the anti-choice Child Custody Protection Act, Rep. Ford cast anti-choice votes.

"In March 2009, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for election to U.S. Senate in 2010.  As a member of the House and now a member of the Senate, Sen. Gillibrand has compiled a fully pro-choice voting record. We are proud to support Sen. Gillibrand's campaign and will continue to do so regardless of who considers a primary challenge to her."

Media Matters also noticed a pattern of false assertions littering Ford's pathetically deceptive OpEd-- and, as they routinely do, rebutted lie after lie, primarily by quoting Ford. For example: "No, No. I was not pro-choice at one time, we don't have votes like that in the Congress... I'm pro-life, I'm pro-life Tucker. So I mean, I don't run from that." He sure is now. We'll let you know as soon as Trippi is officially on the payroll. Meanwhile Ford is building his brand all over the media, even beyond the confines of his boosters at Morning Joe. His NY Times interview last night seemed, if only inadvertently, to emphasize that he is as far from being "one of us" as if he was from Saturn instead of Tennessee. The vice chairman of Merrill Lynch/Bank of America lives in a very different NY than the one I was born and raised in.
On many days, he is driven to an NBC television studio in a chauffeured car. He and his wife, Emily, a 29-year-old fashion executive, live a few blocks from the Lexington Avenue subway line in the Flatiron district. But Mr. Ford said he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab.

Asked whether he had visited all five boroughs, he mentioned taking a helicopter ride across the city with fellow executives, at the invitation of Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner. “The only place I have not spent considerable time is Staten Island,” he said, adding that “I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.”

Asked about his baseball loyalties, he responded: “I am a Yankees fan,” and added that he had yet to visit Citi Field, the home of the Mets.

He has breakfast most mornings at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, and he receives regular pedicures. (He described them as treatment for a foot condition.)

Mr. Ford declined to discuss what he is paid by the bank, but publicly available data suggests that he earns at least $1 million a year. Asked what role outsize pay packages played in fueling the financial crisis, Mr. Ford said he objected to capping executive compensation on Wall Street. “I am a capitalist,” he said. “I believe that people take risk, and there are rewards if they do well; they should lose if they don’t.”

What risk did he take that merits the kind of excessive salary he's getting from Merrill Lynch, which clearly hopes he'll follow Rahm Emanuel's footsteps into power where he can serve their interests? I guess the helicopter rides over the other 4 boroughs could be a risk-- or maybe the pedicures could result in an infection. Blecchhh. Kirsten Gillibrand is looking better by the minute.

Let me finish this discussion by quoting a couple of relevent paragraphs from Glenn Hurowitz's excellent book, Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party about why Ford is viewed-- even by other ConservaDems-- as a complete and toxic loser. The short version: inauthentic, then, now, always.
In a December 15, 2006 article, the cognitive scientist George Lakoff, famous for his groundbreaking works Don’t Think of an Elephant and Moral Politics, analyzed how Democrats could win in the south. He compared the loss of Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. to the surprise win of North Carolina congressman Heath Shuler, who ousted long-time arch-conservative Charles Taylor. Lakoff notes that while both Ford and Shuler were anti-choice, anti gay marriage, and anti-gun control, they presented themselves in very different ways. Lakoff cites an NPR interview in which reporter Melissa Block asked Shuler if his conservative positions on social issues would “fit in” with the Democratic Party. “It isn't about, necessarily, the social issues,” Shuler replied. “It's about protecting American families and American jobs, making sure that we increase the minimum wage and that we do things that encompass the entire nation and that will bring our nation together… [making] sure that we protect our country, and our God’s great creation, be good stewards of the land, and start providing health care that everyone can afford.” Shuler’s response deemphasized those issues on which he was more conservative and instead emphasized the progressive agenda that helped get him elected. And he stuck to that once he started casting votes-- sticking with his party on 92 percent of party loyalty votes; lower than average, but still quite high).

Ford, in contrast, tried to win by convincing voters that he was the more conservative option, basing his platform on conservative issues and a conservative framework. “He ran enthusiastically using conservative code words,” Lakoff writes. "Personal responsibility, strong moral values, character education, pro-family, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, eliminate abortion, and so on. He was trying to convince good ‘ol boy Tennesseans that he was one of them… he didn’t come across as authentic, and authenticity is the name of the game.”

Ford played the “Who’s more conservative?” game-- not surprisingly, the real conservative Republican won. Meanwhile other red staters (like Montana’s Jon Tester) were able to take advantage of the anti-Republican climate by running on a progressive agenda and emphasize their differences with Bush and the Republicans. So while Tester beat a heavily-financed incumbent in a state more Republican than Tennessee, Ford couldn’t do it even though his race was an open seat. 

Despite Ford’s disastrous strategy and defeat, James Carville actually spearheaded a campaign to make him DNC chair and replace Howard Dean (who had been largely responsible for the 50 state strategy of distributing resources around the country that helped relative dark horses like Shuler and Tester to win), where he could bring his losing politics to the nation. Fortunately, the Democrats actually in charge of electing the DNC chief decided they didn’t want a loser to replace a winner, and kept Dean on. But the Democratic Leadership Council had no such compunctions about hiring a loser. And so on January 25, 2007 the DLC named the Ford to be its head. It was a perfect match between an organization that had brought a failing strategy to the Democratic Party and a man who had ridden their failing strategy to actual defeat-- and apparently hadn’t learned his lesson.

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At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Mikbee42 said...

Maddow is one of the most intelligent people in this country imho. but this gets her off message sometimes when she loses her point in tiny minutiae that only a genius like her can convey.
still i totaly agree with her!!!
despite the HUGE disappointments obama has shown, with the party of no and never, determined to see America fail, we should realistically asses the good things that happened.
Really think if the straight lie express was a year into his presidency!
great work rachel
thanks dwt
obama please do better!
reward democrates like Grayson.


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