Harold Ford tries out as a staff writer for The Onion

by: David Sirota

Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:50

I'm convinced this op-ed in the New York Post by Harold Ford, Jr. is actually an Onion article. I mean, it simply cannot be a genuinely serious article by a human being, much less a supposed "smart" politician. It absolutely has to be satire, if only because he's announcing a Democratic primary candidacy in the pages of an arch right-wing Rupert Murdoch rag.

But his comedy act goes beyond forum choice - it goes to the substance:

- As evidence of his allegedly deep roots in the state he says he's going to run to represent, Ford cites the fact that "I moved to New York more than three years ago, have been a New York resident for more than a year." Yes, "a year" - as in just one year.

- Ford says "I am pro-choice -- have always been since I entered politics almost 15 years ago" and "any assertions to the contrary are false." But what about nationally televised assertions to the contrary by, um, Harold Ford?

- Ford says "I remain committed to promoting gun safety and handgun control," then throws out a few regionally famous names of gun control advocates, and then expects us to forget his video address to the NRA convention, bragging about his membership in that organization - you know, the organization that has fought "gun safety and handgun control" policies forever.

- "Despite what critics say about me," Ford writes, "I enjoyed uninterrupted support from organized labor throughout my time in Congress." Right, I'm sure organized labor supported Ford when he voted for nearly every single job-killing trade deal that came through Congress.

For these reasons, I simply refuse to believe that this op-ed is anything other than Harold Ford's joke on all of us - his stealth tryout for a job at The Onion as that newspaper's Making Fun of Politicians As Dishonest, Opportunistic and Narcissistic beat reporter.

This must be the case, especially considering he's writing an autobiography whose title calls him a "David" facing down Goliaths. Yes, a guy who was literally handed a Memphis, Tennessee congressional seat from his daddy's political machine and then cashed in his seat for a high-paying vice-president job at Merrill Lynch has been an underdog all his life.

Again, this is Onion-caliber work, especially when coupled with this new New York Times article in which Ford attacks his opponent for opposing the Wall Street bailout, advocates massive corporate tax cuts and talks of his $1-million-a-year life of chauffered limousine service, lavish helicopter rides and pedicures as a Wall Street executive in New York City. Yes, that's right - he gets paid $1 million a year from a bailout recipient bank - that's $1 million in taxpayer-subsidized salary - and is running around attacking Democratic lawmakers for opposing the bailout, without even acknowledging how selfishly self-interested that could look.

This is why I say this is all a comedy routine. He can't be serious. He just can't be. Harold Ford is making fun of politicians like Harold Ford - it's meta humor. Ford is no senator - but he may indeed have a future as a comedy writer.

David Sirota :: Harold Ford tries out as a staff writer for The Onion

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Ta Da! This is such great work. Thank you so much for assembling and polishing this exposure of a hack (4.00 / 1)
a sellout hack, before he steals an election.

Before: The work to prevent bad things happening to our movement, political system and country, is something we have to work harder on. Your wonderful article is a perfect example of how to do it.

There have been grumblings about this potential 'candidate' here and elsewhere, but this is the way to do it.

Four sir, four.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

I didnt think your similar article needed backup, but other might have (0.00 / 0)
and if they needed, now they have it.

Thanks Adam for bringing the subject forward as well.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
You have to admit, the residency bar for US Sen from NY is pretty low ... (0.00 / 0)
I'm thinking Hillary and RFK.

(Gillibrand's from my Congressional district and I voted for her for the House.  I like her.  I can't explain why, but I do.  Maybe it started because she actually paid attention to the southern tip of the gerrymandered district, which is where I live.)

Indeed! (0.00 / 0)
I posted a similar analysis at Campaign Diaries. A few things I picked-up that aren't here:

However you want to characterize the motivations of Clinton's listening tour, she at least pretended to be interested in getting to know the many different constituencies and communities that make up her state. When asked whether he had been all over NYC (forget the state, we're just talking about the city Ford lives in), his response was stunning: "Asked whether he had visited all five boroughs, he mentioned taking a helicopter ride across the city with fellow executives." Seriously?! Could he not have taken the time to at least visit the five boroughs of the city he's lived in for the past three years before launching his campaign?! There are only 9 months left before the primary.

His statement about visiting New York via helicopter is stunning not only because it reveals how little he has taken the time to explore the constituents he is suddenly so committed to representing, but also because Ford appears completely oblivious to the fact that he might not want to make his entire life story about how much he belongs in the New York upper-class elite... What I found particularly depressing is the following sentence: "Mr. Ford said he had been emboldened by the response he had received from the public in recent days. Everyone - from the cabdrivers who shuttle him around the city to the executives with whom he rubs elbows on Wall Street - has urged him to run, he said." How much more oblivious can one be to the fact that one lives in a bubble, with no apparent awareness as to what it reveals that the main interactions with members of lower-classes he can think of involves his being driven around?

This is not just a matter of lifestyle: Ford makes no secret of the fact that his main political backers is Manhattan's financial elite - and of the fact that he wants to promote the policies that would help Wall Street executives. At a time in which voters are the GOP is banking on populist rhetoric and in which voters are clamoring for tougher policies towards banks and the financial sector, here is the entirety of the economic agenda Ford develops in this piece: "a major reduction in the corporate tax rate," "a payroll tax holiday to encourage hiring," support for last year's financial bailout and an opposition to "capping executive compensation on Wall Street."


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