So Joe Trippi published a post, amazingly, defending Harold Ford's record, couching it in terms of "New Yorkers should have a right to choose."
After reading it, here's a few reactions:
1. First, Trippi doesn't come at this with clean hands and a unimpeachable good government interest. Don't forget he was chief strategist for Carolyn Maloney, who was in the primary until she dropped out shortly after. Let's not also forget he was caught astroturing for her without revealing who his client was, and sockpuppeting at DailyKos. So I don't trust his motives.
2. Normally I am a big supporter of primaries as instruments to move people to the left. Despite his pander on marriage equality, it is far from clear that Ford will run a campaign at Gillibrand from her left. What in the world would he have to say? He was one of the most conservative Democrats in the House and a member of the Blue Dogs. He ran against Pelosi from the right for Minority Leader in 2002. He ran a campaign for Senate that would make Creigh Deeds look like Donna Edwards. Then he became Chair of the DLC. Then he signed on as a Fox News contributor. Then he became Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch. Harold Ford embodies everything progressives fight against, so how in the world is this going to push Gillibrand to the left?
3. Gillibrand already has a challenger from the left- Jonathan Tasini. Sure, his campaign isn't very good, but notice nowhere in Trippi's piece did he mention Tasini or pushing Gillibrand to be more progressive. It depends on whether you actually want to push her to the left, or you think she should have a challenger just because you want her to have a challenger, in which case, like Trippi, it seems you pretty much support anyone who comes calling.
4. Trippi talks about democracy and the right to choose in an election. Here's what that ignores. Um, Ford might actually win! Harold Ford Jr. is a DLC, Joe Lieberman clone. I have no faith whatsoever he will be at all progressive while in the Senate. So I have no problem with keeping him from running.
So, it depends on what is more important to you- having a primary just so a Joe Lieberman clone can run, or keeping a Joe Lieberman clone out of the Senate. I know which I care more about.