Harold Ford Walks Into The Gay Lion's Den, Gets Mauled
by Charles Lemos, Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:50:06 PM EST
Made my day to watch the loathsome, despicable Harold Ford getting his comeuppance as he tried to address the New York City Stonewall Democratic Club.
Though there is a part of me that would like to see him run so that he could be politically disemboweled, I'd just assume that he go away now and spare us the trouble. Harold Ford, Jr. is in my book simply odious, representing everything that is wrong with American politics - a man utterly devoid of principles other than his own self-aggrandizement, a political mercenary who sells out to the highest bidders, a journeyman whose path in life has been to trod on the weak and defenseless as he secures the privileges of the rich and powerful, an unthinking elitist corporatist hack of the worst kind, a lapdog that makes the most pampered poodle look like a junkyard dog, a scion of a political dynasty who treated his Memphis district as his own personal fiefdom and his avenue for self-enrichment. As a Wall Street veteran, I simply cannot imagine how Harold Ford adds to the bottom line of Merrill Lynch. He's there because of his political connections not because he possesses any financial acumen.
Earlier this month, Jonathan Chait of the New Republic wrote on the vain search for Harold Ford's principles. Here's a taste, the full article is to be savored, every last word a delight.
Ford comes from a family that seems to regard politics as a lucrative profession. His father, a longtime member of Congress, was indicted (but acquitted) of bank fraud. One uncle was indicted for corruption, and another was convicted of insurance fraud. Harold Jr., groomed at elite institutions like St. Albans in Washington, always trod a more respectable path. After inheriting his father’s House seat in 1996, Ford cultivated a centrist profile to keep himself viable for statewide (or national) office. He endorsed constitutional amendments requiring an annual balanced budget, outlawing gay marriage and flag burning, and permitting organized classroom prayer in public schools. Shrewdly claiming a seat on the capital markets subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee, he raised copious sums from Wall Street executives, who, in turn, he favored by endorsing tax breaks for capital gains. Ford attracted a series of mostly favorable profiles in the national press, highlighting his charisma and centrist stands as a model for a new generation of Democrats. “Rigid ideology makes it easier to resist good ideas,” he declared.
Ford’s career, alas, did not proceed quite as hoped. Even admirers regarded him as “undisciplined and immature,” as a friendly Democratic strategist told The New Republic in 2002. Much of Ford’s reputation centered around his personal life. (He’s “known on Capitol Hill for robust socializing,” as The Washington Post delicately put it.) Ford ran for minority leader, only to be crushed by Nancy Pelosi, by a vote of 177-29. To the extent that he now receives any sympathy from the base of his party, it is because he was the subject, during his 2006 Senate run, of a vicious ad featuring a comely blond saying “Harold--call me.”
Ford’s transition to a new political milieu has entailed some awkwardness. Only a few years ago, he was filming ads in church, posing in front of a Confederate flag, and touting his “Tennessee values.” He now seems to regard his former constituents as racist hillbillies. “There was so much bad racial stuff out of Tennessee on Obama,” he tells Maureen Dowd. “I think my marriage is more accepted here than it would be in Tennessee.”
Ford now embraces gun control and gay marriage, the latter of which, until recently, he wanted to ban via constitutional amendment. After calling for sealing the border and attacking President Bush from the right on immigration in 2006, he now takes a liberal stance. What about the border fence he favored? “Even if we had a fence now, we are not going to stop it,” he told The New York Times, not explaining why he had supported such a futile gesture in the first place.
Ford had so much difficulty explaining his intellectual evolution that, at one point, he gave an interview to the Daily News only, as the paper reported, “under the condition that the questions be limited to his rationale for running, and not issues.” (Southern voters may be interested in solutions, but, apparently, Northern voters aren’t.) None of this is to say, however, that Ford’s prospective candidacy lacks ideological content. He is running as the voice of Wall Street. The financial industry deeply resents the Obama administration and congressional Democrats who, after bailing them out to prevent a broader economic collapse, are attempting to impose regulations to prevent such a recurrence and demanding that the large banks pay back a portion of their subsidy. Casting about for a champion, Wall Street’s eyes turned to Ford.
When I think of Harold Ford, I think that somewhere there is a pond missing its scum. If he does run he'll give me the pleasure of eviscerating him day in and day out though I am sure that I will have stock up on blood pressure medicine just to get through the campaign. The risk of a heart attack is tempered by the immense satisfaction that I would derive from seeing this worthless political hack get demolished in the primary. The last thing we need in this country is a personal errand, or is it errant, Senator in the Senate for Lawrence Tisch which is when you cut right down to it is what Harold Ford's candidacy represents. He's a gopher for Wall Street. Not just lacking principles, the words self-esteem and integrity are wholly absent from Harold Ford's vocabulary.
Here's a trip down memory lane courtesy of Brave New Films.