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.