A Scrubbed Toe in the Race

Harold Ford Jr., the transplant with the Tennessee driver’s license who was raised in Washington, D.C., professes that he loves, loves, loves, loves New York.

Comments: 125

  1. Maureen Dowd, how can you write a smarmy column like this and still sleep at night?

    Haven't you seen the NARAL video? Didn't you manage to catch the Brave New Films video, or Ford's nauseating panegyric to gun ownership "so I can protect myself and my loved ones" that the Daily News exhumed yesterday.

    No more credibility for you, Toots. You belong to the Rattners now.

  2. Mr. Ford doesn't need to justify why he's the way he is and where he came from. If people don't like him, they wouldn't vote for him anyway, despite his explanations. The fact he seems to feel compelled to explain his personal life (unless there's immorality involved) instead of his policies on how he's better at helping New Yorkers, worries me.

    Thomas Huynh
    Sonshi.com

  3. ..."Being a Wall Street bonus baby is not a plus. “I’m not running from the fact that I worked at a bank and brought in clients,” he said. “Am I proud of everything that went on? Of course not.”

    ERRRR, Harold! I think being a "Wall Street bonus baby" is much, much worse than having severe athlete's foot! I'm guessing there are a lot of New Yorkers who feel the same way. I think you need to spend some time getting over yourself!!!

  4. I hate to break it to Harold Ford, Jr., but (1) he has more in common with Martha Coakley than he does with Scott Brown. And (2) he has more in common with John Edwards than he does with Barack Obama. And (3) he has a lot in common with Sarah Palin.

    To wit, he is (1) out of touch and (2) phony. And (3) he can see Staten Island from his helicopter.

    The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

  5. Maureen, my compliments.

    As I read the column, I kept anticipating the snark. The sarcasm, the cynicism. There wasn't any - and there shouldn't be.

    New York has a venerable tradition of adopting distinguished out-of-staters and Senatizing them.

    Bobby. Hil. Even Daniel Patrick.

    Of course, Moynihan had the vision to emigrate from Oklahoma to New York for an anticipated future Senate run at the age of six. But he was uniquely gifted as a visionary.

    I think Harold will do just fine. He will have to sell himself to his new constituents-to-be. Caroline couldn't overcome the sense of privacy she inherited from her mom. No fault anywhere there - just that NY is a tough crowd.

    Kirsten is a decent person. So, actually, is Roland. And so was Paul - bookended between Teddy and Scott.

    But incumbent is incumbent - and interim is interim.

    And - in the NY State of mind - they are very distinct.

  6. Harold Ford Jr. has every right to run. He will run into the following calculus: balancing against the clear carpet-bagger objection will be the question of how good, how smart, how big a candidate is he, does he, personally, have clout and talent on the order of a Bobby Kennedy, and Daniel P. Moynihan, a Hillary Clinton? He just rise sufficiently to that level. Sen. Gillebrand will, it appears, have to earn election to a first full term, as it's abundnantly clear Rep. Ford wants to be New York's "Junior" Senator.

  7. Descriptive Dowd writes abundant alliteration ("hub of hip," "happy harbringer," "Svengali Schumer") on Harold's habits and preference for pedicures. Necessary? NO!

  8. No thanks, Harold. You may have friends on Wall Street, but you're not a New Yorker yet.

  9. Here's what decided my vote against Harold Ford: "I eat at places like the Coffee Shop more than I eat uptown."

    Although I have walked by it many times, I have known better than to step into the Coffee Shop, and nothing I saw going on there tempted me in the least. It's difficult to imagine a less authentic place. I am not going to help him, but I will say there are hundreds of places uptown (even upstate!) that would serve far better as touchstones for a wannabe New Yorker. All he has done is display his ignorance.

    Don't spend of your own money on this campaign, Mr. Ford. It's a losing proposition. But I grant you, New York is full of the gullible wealthy begging to be relieved of some of their money. So if you don't have anything better to do with your time, have at it.

  10. Many folks living in New York are 'transplants'. They come here because we are a city and state that opens its doors. They come here because we are a business and financial center of the world.

    Ford has proved himself to be a smart, intelligent and purposeful politician and political commentator. He is also apparently a successful businessman.

    What's not to like?

  11. As I understand, he is not for bank reforms, for more tax cuts for the rich and industry... one might as well vote for ... republican

  12. Maybe his loss for Senator from Tennessee will be a blessing in disguise.

  13. Ummmm ... Harold ... New Yorkers like their carpetbaggers to have a certain cachet, such as a big name like Kennedy or Clinton. New Yorkers usually don't buy Fords.

    Plus, Bobby Kennedy ran for the New York senate seat in 1968. Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962.

  14. A historic race: On one side, a charming smooth-talking black man new on the political scene, claiming to be more progressive than he really is. And, on the other side, an ambitious white woman, supported by the establishment, who frequently tries to be more conservative than she really is.

    Oh and Harold Ford and Kristen Gillibrand will have an exciting race too.

  15. Exhibit A why the Senate is dysfunctional. Aside from Senators Feingold and Sanders, the rest of the lot fails miserably at providing what the average American needs.

  16. Anyone from Memphis will tell you, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, and you should see this guy's tree. His father, brothers, uncles, cousins have more arrests, indictments, imprisonments, and convictions than the general population of Brushy Mountain State Prison. The name Ford in Memphis is synonamous with graft, corruption, cronism, nepotism, and just about any other ism you'd care to look up. No doubt, he's faster than a speeding sheriff's car, but his family, flip-flops, and foul-ups will NEVER land him in the U.S. senate. Especially from a savvy blue state like N.Y. He knew he'd never get anywhere in red TN, and with his last name, it's hard to imagine him getting much on his own anywhere. Stay far away from the Fords. A lesson learned. P.S. You can do you own googling on Ford family in Memphis Tennessee.....

    FP

  17. I like Kirsten Gillibrand. But Harold Ford Jr. deserves a shot. No way I want to lose this race. Let them shake hands and fight it out, and may the best Democrat win.

  18. We used to have brain power people like Moynihan and Bobby Kennedy. Now we have to make a choice between a blond, super ambitious woman with no record or achievements, or a hustler black guy- also with no record or achievements- who will go anywhere and say anything to get power. Indeed, it’s a depressing sign of the times we live in now.

  19. I like Harold Ford. But, I'm no longer lving in Manhattan and I am conservative on about as many issues as Ford.

  20. Ford should get his history straight. Eleanor Roosevelt was dead two years when Bobby Kennedy decided to run for the Senate in 1964. It was JFK's Presidential run in '60 that ER opposed. She liked Adlai.

  21. Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962, and was too ill even to acquire an absentee ballot to vote for Bob Morgenthau for governor that year. RFK ran for the senate in 1964. Her opposition was to JFK, perhaps swayed by the powerful slogan, "Lose Three with Adlai." Great New York reform politics.

  22. Excuse me Ms Dodd. Didn't you think it odd when Ford stated that Eleanor Roosevelt was against Bobby Kennedy running. She died in 1962 and I see no reference in her biography or letters that she was not supportive of Bobby Kennedy. She initially did not support John Kennedy because of her loyalty to Adlai Stevenson.
    Ford is an oily DLC Democrat. He has always swayed with the political wind. He has not figured out that the DLC has no power in their philosophy or their politics. I wouldn't call him charismatic but smarmy. I am a Democrat and would not vote for him unless his foe was Inhofe or some other crazy Republican. Well, I know that doesn't give me much of a choice.

  23. How could Eleanor Roosevelt oppose Bobby Kennedy running for ANY office since she died in 1962, way before Bobby ran for US senator in '65 and then for president three years later? Does this guy know what he's talking about? Not only does he not know his history, he can't keep his spin straight.

  24. Ford is better at choosing omelets than exploiting Eleanor Roosevelt. She died 2 years before Bobby ran for the Senate -- so she could never oppose him. Perhaps his memory was fogged by the fumes of toe polish and helicopter fuel. Also, as a Memphian who grew up with the Fords, and who admired his father, I know from two decades of working with them, that the courage and feistiness Ford Senior embraced is nowhere near Junior-- which makes me quite sad. To have Junior attempting to replace Kirsten Gillibrand is like casting Shirley Temple to play Meryl Streep.

  25. From the first day I arrived in New York City I felt as if I had found a home. There was a FREE concert in the park in Brooklyn... Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which was one piece of classical music I knew at the time.
    Most of the streets were numbered, and the subway went everywhere 24/7/365. Everybody came from somewhere else--usually from foreign countries, and usually from a lot farther away than Tennessee.
    I got a job, an apartment, a boyfriend, another job, another apartment, another boyfriend. I met 2 or 3 or 4 thousand people and not a single one of them ever made me feel like an outsider. I felt at home in New York City, and I will always feel that it is my city.
    This may be what Harold Ford is feeling. I lived in Cambridge for 4 years before I moved to New York, but I felt like a New Yorker almost immediately. I had never really felt part of either Cambridge or Boston.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that my dad's name was also Harold Ford, but he had blue eyes, not green)

  26. Harold Ford Jr. joined Merrill Lynch as vice chairman in February, 2007, long before the Crash in October, 2008. Merrill lost $27 billion, took billions in taxpayer bailout money, and was being sold to Bank of America. Ford and the board of directors still approved $3.6 billion in employee bonuses. Ford is part of the problem. He says we need to put New York first, but he really means to put Wall Street first -- which is not the same thing. He's not independent; he's just a Republican in sheep's clothing. And he's certainly nobody's idea of a Democratic senator from New York.


  27. Just an observation about Ford's comment concerning Eleanor Roosevelt and the Bobby Kennedy campaign. Mrs. Roosevelt was not anti-Bobby; she was just NOT pro-Kennedy because, when Jack Kennedy received the Democratic nomination to run for President, Mrs. Roosevelt was entirely committed to Adlai Stevenson. Thereafter, she never did warm up to the very aggressive Kennedy political campaign style.

  28. This man is the perfect example of everything that is wrong with politics-smug, entitled, slick and utterly self-centered. Note that he said virtually nothing about the rest of the universe-it is all about him. And it sounds like you just lapped it all up.

  29. Harold Ford is one of the sleazier politicians to come along in a long time but Maureen is in love with him, just as she was in love with Obama (whom she now dislikes with great intensity) and, apparently, Scott Brown. Girl, where is your judgement?

  30. I don't think he has any core beliefs...he's a chameleon. And while I respect those that change opinions from what they've learned or from life experience, I don't believe that's the case with Ford.

    He is one step too smooth. And half again too cool. I think he loves himself much more than he loves the rest of us New Yorkers.

    New Yorkers need people who will fight for us. I trust Senator Gillibrand (actually more than I trust Schumer) and I believe she has broadened her views to include all of us in her representation of New York.

    She deserves another term, and should Ford choose to challenge her, I am sure she will win with landslide like numbers.

  31. Why does someone with so little NY history think he should be the Senator from NY?

  32. I simply do understand why Ford is running for this seat other than pure ambition.

    Both Hilary Clinton and Robert Kennedy were considered carpetbaggers, but they did not run against an incumbent senator in their own party.

  33. This column presents no reason at all for readers to care about this guy. Could someone explain why he matters?

  34. Ford was the son of a congressman. Not all children drive their grandmother to "...beat the [expletive] out of us with an electric cord”.

    And not all men comment on their careers, and their success, by saying "“Am I proud of everything that went on? Of course not.”

    Why should a man like this be trusted as a United States senator?

  35. Mmmm.....one's an ex-tobacco lawyer and the other is a self-entitled, power-hungry career politician who has (taken his father's congressional seat, grew up in the insular capital area political environment (he's lived more in the capital area and suburbs than Tennessee OR New York), who's also a lawyer and married a fashion designer almost a decade younger than him. Fun being a democrat is it not?

    Moreover, after he loses an election and has a chance to get real work, he's GOES TO WORK FOR ONE OF THE BIGGEST FAILURES AMIDST THE FAILURE THAT WAS BANKING DURING THE YEARS HE STARTED THERE. He had enough money to go start a school, teach, or he could have shed light on the lack of jobs, the developing poverty, the debt (to which the ineptitude of his bank contributed). But, no, he moved to Manhattan, married a 26-year old blonde, and worked for a bank. He could of fought slum-lords or the such with his fancy law-degree, but no.

    And, this represents how democrats want to win the consciousness of a nation?
    DOES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY EVEN CARE ABOUT WANTING TO APPEAL TO WORKING CLASS ANYMORE?!

    Ford is going to cost this race about $15million more and he'll probably lose -- I'm sorry perhaps he's charismatic enough to be competitive but I can't see an ex-banker riding a tide of popular support to overthrow a female incumbent and stopping a centrist Republican challenge.

    His self-importance will cost $15million at least in extra political spending, taking up the airwaves with more inane ads and souring politics even more. It's $15million that won't go to cancer research, Haiti, or the such. All that, for his eventual loss.

    All because some politician's kid feels like he wants to be Senator. It's not surprising in the least that the best and brightest of our country stay away from politics. I'm a Democrat, but if Ford is even capable of drawing $$$$ or being competitive, it's sickening.

    Why Ms. Dowd did you feel the need to write about him also?!

  36. If Senator Gillibrand wants to win this primary and general election she needs to be a woman of the people. Competing with a Wall Street banker for Wall Street money is just not a winning strategy. If she shows she has the common touch and an excellent grasp of the issues she'll do fine. Heck, she only has to look towards the very recent past, at what Hillary Clinton did to woo NYers. This is one race that the white woman should beat the mixed race man.

  37. Don't you think one "Rudy" in N.Y.S. is one too many ? Will mr. Ford
    turn out to be the first Democrat Tea Bagger ?

  38. Oy! Harold Ford Jr., and Absorbine Jr. I wish you hadn't stepped into that. Not very pleasant for the sufferer or the reader. But he is a helluva guy who wuz robbed in his last political attempt. I hope that as a reverse carpetbagger he can get elected in Noo Yawk.

    Fred Robson, of depression-proof Fairfield County

  39. In today's anti-Wall-Street mood, it is inconceivable that Ford, who may be able to sell a snowball in a blizzard, has a snowflake's chance in hell of winning the election from New York. We would much rather have a tea-bagger than a carpet-bagger (Hillary is one of us, you know). Ford has wisely kept his Tennessee driver license and may well want to stop pretentiously bragging about the sights and smells of New York City. With an attractive lady like Gillibrand, who needs another hot male senator?

  40. Was it necessary to point out that Ford has a pretty blond wife? Is she the same pretty blond from that Tenn campaign ad? The one who said *Harold call me*?
    Algore ran as a Tenn farm boy, but he was brought up in a DC hotel and, instead of *The Coffee Shop,* hotel room service provided his meals.
    I like Harold for many reasons but he is not very truthful about one issue. I know interracial couples in Tenn who live very securely and comfortably there. But heck, if a little white lie like that will help him win in New York, more power to him.

  41. I've heard some of the comments about his pedicures and I see nothing wrong with it at all.

    Uhhh... What's wrong with getting your feet scrubbed? I swear I get so tired of the "unwashed masses" thinking that a bar of Ivory soap and Corhhuskers Oil is the only thing you should ever use in your life -anything else is just trying to make you seem - "worldly" or "elitist"

    This isn't the Back 40 and Ma & Pa Kettle waiting on their order to arrive from Sears and Roebuck on the next train has passed a long time ago.

    I'm originally from Mississippi and I'm also in a interracial marriage, but I live in Baltimore where it is a bit more accepted, but the Bigots reside here as well, of all colors and creeds to be sure. I'm more Obama and white collar and I can totally understand why he resents those that smeared him in Tennessee.

    To be honest it's time for those small minded Corn-pones to join the rest of the world. I don't apologize to anyone for who I am nor with whom I sleep with, he shouldn't either.

  42. He loves the smell of New York... he loves the subway. I wonder if he loves the smell of the subway.

  43. It's hilarious to see how hard Maureen Dowd tried to keep her cool with Harold Ford, Jr. but was sucked in, anyway. Let's hope other women are wiser about his unctuous charm when it comes time to vote in a Democratic primary.

  44. I mean can I say that the toe and foot stink issue is a bit "TMI"!

  45. I am left wondering what is the point of this column. Was Ms. Dowd trying to tell us not to support Mr. Ford for the senate? It seems that Ms. Dowd never writes about important ideas, policies, or broad issues that plague or interest us. He seems pretty much stuck in the rut of writing snarky, speculative, gossipy stuff that is intended to taint people.

  46. I am so sick of these carpetbaggers coming to NY. Isn't there anyone from NY that can stand up? This seat is a joke!

  47. Despite weeks of interviews and various meetings about town, I'm still in the dark about what Harold Ford can do for the State of New York.

  48. Where does Ford stand on having pedicures covered by health insurance?

  49. I never liked Harold Ford. He is too slick and clever and glib. He defended the Iraq War as necessary. Sorry, but he reminds me of John Edwards. I do not trust him.

  50. What was the point of this article? I don't see one. I do not recall ever seeing anything this insipid and inane from Maureen Dowd. Shame on Maureen Dowd for writing this vapid tripe and shame on her editor for not rejecting it!

  51. Gillibrand's seat belongs to a woman.

    No man should take it.

  52. “I’m not comparing myself to Bobby Kennedy by any stretch, but he was opposed by the liberal establishment, too,” Ford said. “Eleanor Roosevelt was the biggest opponent to him running.”

    Didn't Eleanor Roosevelt die in 1962 while Bobby Kennedy was serving as Attorney-General in his brother's administration? How did she manage to be the biggest opponent to his run in 1964? Did the NY Democrats hold a seance?

    If this is the darling of the NY political class, all I can say is wait and we'll pack up Arnold and Maria and send them on the next bus.

  53. So, no sarcastic remarks? Is this to say you endorse Ford, Ms. Dowd? He gets a better rap from you than Newsom.

  54. You go, Mr. Ford!

  55. He has not mentioned anything about the China Problem and the fact that Both Clinton and Bush are responsible for this treacherous act.
    Seems like there is an agreement among the Politically astute not to
    mention the fact that we have outsourced our industrial base to China and they simply don't dare mention it.

  56. What's with the University of Michigan shtick? He went to Penn.

  57. I would prefer if every time I look at Harold Ford I could not see right through him.

  58. how precious. why don't we democrats just shoot ourselves in the head right now, and do the country a favor.

  59. Bobby Kennedy was a "carpetbagger". Hillary Clinton was a "carpetbagger". What's the problem? This is New York!

  60. Ford has about as much chance of winning as a snowball has in a Tennessee outhous. He seems to have smoozed Dowd. Not a word about him voting for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, twice. And for being anti-abortion and for registering to vote in NY just last year ago. She seems to take him at his word that he's no comparing himself to Bobby Kennedy. You can be sure he was. He sees himself as a polished, gleeming star in the political firmament. Lots of people come to Ny thinking they're going to knock us dead. We aren't fooled by him nor are we fooled by Dowd who sees herself as a Washingtonian who just has an office here. Why, oh why, does the Times pay her that gigantic salary and expenses to get taken by a phony like Ford. Hire Digby.

    And Ford is cynical about any black constituency he thinks he might have. It's the black women who get out the vote in the cities of NY and they don't like him, not just because of his white wife but the kind of white wife he chose. A fashionista with big social aspirations. A Hillary Clinton she ain't

  61. So is this garden omelet a good egg or a vegetable? Who knows?

    I do know this: before I came out of the closet, even I was staunchly anti-gay. Although it appears that he may have changed his mind on this and other issues just to sell himself to a New York world view, I'd like to know more about him. And if he is a good egg? So much the better for New York.

  62. A pleasure as usual Ms. Dowd,I am not surprised you snagged one of the hottest interviews in the city. Or is Mr. Ford already passe in the hub bub of Manhattan? I am rather ignorant of him as a person, vaguely familiar with his politics. I suspect he would get my vote, if for no other reason than how he was treated in Tennessee during his last election. I lived in the south for 10 years and there is still an element of "how dare that uppity black man" that comes out on election day. Who knows if that's why he lost, but you can never discount that totally, south of Mason/Dixon. Based on what the Senate just did with Health Care, the gentleman from Alabama holding 70 appointments hostage, and the ridiculous filibuster rule, how could Ford do worse? What was once considered the world's greatest deliverative body is now a mish mash of tiny fiefdoms in sparsely populated states obstructing any meaningful change that is badly needed in a country that is floundering on the rocks of mediocrity. We lead the world in destructive power and debt, with the former including self destruction. How could Ford make it worse? I recall election night, November, 2008, and feeling that our country had made a big step and was ready to show the world that we were ready to take our rightful place back as leaders of the free world. The last year would indicate otherwise. Smart bombs and phony financial instruments continue to make a few thousand people incredibly wealthy and undermine democracy here and abroad. So Senator Ford, if that be the case, I dare you to due worse. I don't believe you are that talented.

  63. Come on, Maureen. You can write something that is actually meaningful. Are you saying that Ford is as phony as a reliable Toyota accelerator? Or, are you fawning over him the way you did over then candidate Obama only to find out that the slicker-than-Willie Senator's greasy politics make him a chameleon?

  64. Who would want a job in that chamber of horrors known as congress? Completely dysfunctional, everything is for show without regard to the legitimate needs of the nation. Bribes and blackmail are the order of the day. These people have no shame taking earmarks and engaging in constant fundraising to entrench themselves in their seats.

    I won't go on. It's all yours Harold. But will you be any different?

  65. What was that all about?

  66. yeah, whatever. We don't need another blue dog on the democratic ticket. It is high time to get a party that can vote together!

  67. Did he ever call Imus?

  68. What a terrible person this guy Ford. He has no right to run for the office in NY.Only Chuck "very senior senator" has right to nominate NY Senator. He knows what the best for NY.He knows how great health bill was. To bad he couldn’t clearly explain advantage of the bill or reluctance to coronate Ford. Doesn’t have good verbal skills. Strong silent type. Down with democracy. Who need elections.

  69. And how exactly does the fact that the "'Regency on Park Avenue[is](where Rielle Hunter famously picked up John Edwards by calling him 'so hot')'" enhance the story?

  70. First, one can see that La Dowd hails from D.C., and not New York, despite her regular appearance in the NY Times: love, in these parts, we wear sneakers, not "tennis shoes", which are only worn by just about everyone else in the country. We persist in our singular orneriness (ornery singularity?). We also insist on "soda" rather than the "pop" used by just about every other American west of the North River (Hudson).

    Then, one realizes just how tired everyone is hearing about Harold Ford's pedicures; and his candor in discussing the state of his "athlete's feet" conjures graphic images more suitable to high school gross-out jokes than to elevated political discussion, even satire.

    Then, one marvels at Mr. Ford's tentative offering that New Yorkers MIGHT be more accepting of an interracial marriage than Tennesseans -- Harold, old sot, New Yorkers couldn't possibly care less. When we can amusingly suffer the antics of both Don Imus and Al Sharpton, an interracial marriage here and there is positively pedestrian.

    Then, one must raise an eyebrow at Mr. Ford's defense of the hard-wired nature of sexual orientation, and his curiously emphatic claim of his own heterosexuality: there is such a thing as protesting too much.

    Finally, despite my grudging respect for Schumer (balanced by contempt for his ideology), and my inability to take Gillibrand seriously on anything, I can't believe that New Yorkers are going to seriously consider another contender for Senator who actually is willing to eat an egg-white garden omelet.

  71. "I’m a heterosexual. I don’t know what anyone can say to me to make me sexually be with a man."

    An interesting statement from Mr. Ford.

    All that was left out from the statement, was the understood, if not spoken, "Ewwwwwwww and shuddering of his head, followed, quickly, by "I am straight...really I am."

    Indeed, of all the ways to relay his latent support of gays, does not Mr. Ford have the political savvy to realize he just did it in a strikingly homophobic way. Underlying his statement is, well, a phobia of the sexual act between two men.

    I understand that he is heterosexual, and that he may, in fact, be so revulsed, but really, could he not find a better way to relate his support to those gays he presumably would like to vote for him?

    Why do some straight me feel the need to assert their manliness even as they support gay rights.

    It just doesn't sit right with me.

    This gay man is not buying what he is selling.

  72. It frightens me that a lightweight such as Harold Ford could be considered seriously for any public office. Maureen referred to his "buttery way"; I think of him as a snake shedding his past views.

  73. i am thankful that mr ford changed his mind on what kind of rights and recognition an lgbt person like myself is entitled to.

    i wish he had had his self-introspection on matters of sexual orientation a bit earlier; does he seriously believe that i, along with my fellow progressives, will forget that he voted twice to write discrimination into the federal constitution ??

    it looks like he either lied then (twice) or is lying now (which is worse? i don't know), in both instances because of political expediency. though i realize that's the way things all too often work in our political system, i cannot believe this guy has such little regard for my rights, that he'd use them for said political expediency. even politicians must have a modicum of principles.

    his unbelievable change of heart is underscored by his moving to new york because his own marriage would be "more accepted here than it would be in Tennessee". if you lived discrimination yourself, how can you be so blind to that suffered by other, equally situated people ??

    he's a smart, non-religious-fundamentalist person. this was a blatant political calculation. i'd have more respect for him had he owned up to it. i can't wait for him to run so he can lose. and though that may seem mean, it's the only way i'll relieve the injury and the insult i experience by his intention to run. maybe in 2016 i'll have a change of heart.

  74. To paraphrase an old T-shirt:
    NEW YORK NEEDS HAROLD
    LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE

    or c. kennedy.

  75. And this column about the egg white eating, should keep his socks on in bed, looking for a more accepting place to raise a biracial family, not quite proud of his banking past, Obama-redux was written why? Oh yeah, he likes the smell of the subways...as he's flying over them in a helicopter. Thanks for the laughs Mo. Another truly inspiring political
    operative with a social conscience.

  76. °Sounds like Ford knows how things work in New York and Washington, and has a sense of humor. To see some videos that show how things work (with humor) check YouTube keyword AOE11776. Remember, follow the money!

    Would he be a better Senator than the current one? Probably. Supports sensible positions (gay marriage, for instance).

    Understands money -- could be good or bad, but FDR successfully put Wall Street pirate Joseph Kennedy in charge of policing Wall Street (Joe Kennedy set up the SEC). Hope Ford opposes Afghanistan war, supports single payer healthcare and term limits.

    bill benton
    www.realamerica.webs.com

  77. Ford likes the smell of the city?
    If I worked for a bank that pays me very, very well I would love the smell of the city.
    This transplant smells.

  78. "A scrubbed toe in the race" reads like a fat foot in the mouth, a rude kick in the head, and an utter waste of time. Take a break Maureen, get away from the gutter and glitz. Without perspective or purpose, all you produce is pap. I'm loath to show that I read this by commenting instead of ignoring, but such superficial verbiage should not get by unscathed. You've written better, but not any worse than this.

  79. What makes you think the president and the democrats in congress might actually do something. I watched the debate he had with the republicans; the press saw it as an unequivocal Obama victory. To me it was typical, eloquent talk followed by no action. Actually he did take one action, another effort at bipartisanship with the republicans, which they promptly rejected. It was truly amazing. Many people are saying the same thing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman did, “Does this guy ever learn."

  80. Ew.

    I can't wait for his stops in Utica, Schenectady, and Buffalo. What did we New Yorkers do to deserve such lousy options?

  81. Slick-and-a-half!

  82. "As I learn more and more, I love every part of the state."

    Ms. Dowd makes him sound about as sincere as John Edwards. No rational person can possibly love Albany.

  83. "Ford said he and his pretty blond wife, Emily, a marketing expert, were married in 2008 after his racially charged run for the Senate in Tennessee."

    It was not a "racially charged" election just because the liberal media found racism where none existed.


  84. Ford is a banker's tool. And how could Eleanor have been opposed to Bobby in 64' (NY Senate) or for president in 68'? She'd been dead since 1962. I think he's trying to compare himself to John Kennedy, though could someone please tell me why?

    At any rate, any Democrat with such contempt for and little understanding of what the party was about pre-DLC is not someone I would want in the senate.

  85. No way should an out of towner pretned to love this place and run for office in NY. Next thing you know he will be going to Yankee games pretending to be a fan.
    -Regards
    Hilary Clinton

  86. New York State should have more choices; I am glad Harold Ford Jr is providing that extra choice to the New Yorkers. New Yorkers are pretty open minded about out-of-State candidates, they welcomed the Kennedys and Clintons with open heart. As far as I recall, the New York Times was very unhappy with the current governor for selecting our junior senator. I am wondering what has changed?

  87. I remember Bobby Kennedy as a man of integrity, principle, spine and brains - the kind of leader that America would be glad to have in a time of crisis. Kirsten Gillibrand may not have Boby Kenny's charisma but she plugs away at her job as a Senator every single day. I don't see anything from Ford except attitude and the willingness to say whatever people want to hear to get himself elected. Whatever he is, this clown is no Bobby Kennedy. This clown is nothing but another of those office-seeking pretty faces, of which America has a bottomless supply - like Rick Lazio and Scott Brown.

  88. Does Rielle still work the Regency? Do foot jobs?

    Mike Bloomberg still financing Ford?

    And where's Dr. Sarah in all this? She must be somewhere. Surely Bloomberg can find a useful role for her too ... i.e. useful to him.

  89. Read about his record in Wikipedia. Read what he voted for and voted against. It's not pretty.

  90. MauDowd: Marvelous. Refreshing. I hope he wins.

  91. Harold Ford. Let's see if anyone could possibly find a more unknowledgeable person. Can't, no way and he's moving into a state where most are leaving!
    Perfect.

  92. Yeah, a former Merryl Lynch bankster as Senator. Good luck with that.

    Unless of course, the competition is completely inept and incompetent.

    I cringe every time I see this person on TV. Smarmy, arrogant and obviously out to enrich himself at the expense of anyone he can dupe.

  93. Sorry, but I don't see the discussion of athletes foot as politically advantageous. I find it disgusting that he has been treating a medical condition cosmetically, albeit unsuccessfully, with foot scrubs.

    Perhaps it's a metaphor for Mr. Ford - attacking the symptoms, rather than the root cause. Appearance vs. content. Could it be, that's why I seem to get his persona, but not the substance of his character or his campaign?

    I also wonder how the darling of the “Manhattan social philanthropic crowd" will play in Buffalo.

  94. New York is in a mess politically! Nobody likes the Governor, or Gillibrand - both place holders. Ford is Carpetbagging, and Eliot Spitzer thinks he can reinvent himself. And there is a long list of "used to be's" hanging out! As every day goes by, the Democrats nationally and locally look more feckless and scared! I think the party is over!

  95. Ah yes, nothing like flogging children with an electrical cord. But hey, Ford's real successful so it must be OK!

    But seriously, what kind of pain intensity is produced by the punishment he described? And if you beat the [expletive] out of an adult with an electric cord, is it felony or only misdemeanor assault?

    Without jumping to conclusions, I'd also like to know Ford's opinion of the alleged crimes of Alabama judge Herman Thomas.

  96. Harold e. Ford Jr. does not stand a chance of winning in the primary. African-Americans are the most racist people in the world and just will not vote for Ford because his wife is white.

    The black community does not support a black candidate “with the wrong wife” as been said many times by African-Americans. If Ford's wife was a member of the Black Liberation Front with accusations of bombings and cop-killing, then Ford would win the primary by a landslide.

    Ford stands a better chance if he ran in the Republican primary.

  97. I'm not bothered by Ford being a centrist or even a hypocrite. I'm opposed to the fact that he just doesn't have the stuff to win.

    He fled Tennessee because of racism? How in the world could he think that's a selling point? How could he be so convinced that this wasn't both a self-serving and cowardly move as to be touting it in an interview? This level of tone deafness is reminiscent of Martha Coakley, not Scott Brown. So is the blind elitism.

    Schumer built the Democratic majority by getting behind Democrats that could win regardless of ideological differences. This plan is now somewhat backfiring in that we have a majority with no unity, but it's hard to argue with the logic that winning does need to come first. A winning Gillibrand is still better than a losing Ford. This move of Ford's smells more the desperation in a typical Alan Keyes candidacy than anything Bobby Kennedy ever did.

    Even as dismayed as I am with Gillibrand, she knows the constituency that must be won over for a Democrat to prevail. Until a more viable candidate comes along, Democrats of all stripes should rally her to a win.

  98. Speaking as one of Jr.'s former Tennessee constituents, I can tell you: he has always been a BINO; then, he became a DINO. Now, he's become a NYINO. If New Yorkers buy his identity du jour this time around, they deserve him.

  99. Ford works hard? Not impressed. Ford was beat with an electric cord? Still not impressed. I'm tired of the 'picked myself up by the bootstraps' stories. Here's something fresh. Say you'll do something, and if you DON'T do it within the first 30 days you're in office, you RESIGN. No carryover benefits, no severance pay, no perks, no nothing. Just GO away and tell your stories to the corporate fat cats. This opinion didn't evolve overnight. I do believe that all politicians are really clones. They are no different than the poor excuses we've had since politicians were allowed to lie and get away with it. Bah, humbug!

  100. Ford has no business even mentioning Bobby Kennedy's name. It has the same charm as Hillary stating a reason to stay in her campaign was because Bobby was assassinated in June (so anything could happen!)

    Bobby Kennedy gave people hope. Indianapolis was one of the few cities in America that didn't burn the night Martin Luther King was killed. That was because Bobby was on the ground to calm the populace.

    Can anyone, in their wildest dreams, ever imagine Ford ever doing anything other than calming Wall Street bankers or corporate CEO's worried about union workers?

    And what Ford knows about the "liberal establishment" would fit in a thimble. Lieberman is more of a pacifist, Mark Sanford more of a family man, than Ford is anything approaching "liberal".

    And Harold does nothing to enhance his own cause by bringing up Eleanor Roosevelt's beef with Bobby Kennedy. She objected to his aiding the cause of Joe McCarthy and his Red Witch-hunt Hearings. Eleanor was right to object, and even if that was Bobby's worst judgement ever, he still reached heights Ford can't even see from where he's standing.

    One would guess he looks in a mirror and sees John Edwards staring back, regardless of his fidelity.

  101. Just what this country needs, another Republican running as a Democrat.

  102. Personally, I could not care less about Harold Ford or his candidacy.

    He's no worse than every other small-time gangster looking to profit through politics. Look around.

    But the article was lame.

  103. Ford mentions voters tossing incumbents out. I'd like to address this.

    1. First (and second) term elected representatives are hardly Washington establishment.

    2. We need to give first term senators and first and second term Representatives a fair chance to prove themselves.

    3. We need to look at what we are replacing incumbents with.

    Would we be acting intelligently to toss-out one-term incumbents who have been filibustered out of doing what we elected them to do in favor of Bush-Cheney-Rove-Palin Republicans?

    A lot of freshmen congressmen were elected to carry out voters wishes that (what I call) "The Republican War on the Middle Class" be ended (tax breaks for the rich, constant taxes and reduced services for the middle class). GOP filibustering has prevented these freshmen doing that.

    Republicans, like Palin, should not be rewarded for their actions in toppling the wishes of the majority for change in Washington.

    4. Scott Brown did not win against an incumbent.

    On Mr. Ford himself, we need to question his allegiances. Is the with the bankers? Or is he with the middle class? Are his belief's Republican, and is he doing and saying what it takes to win an election in NY? New Yorkers need answers to that.

  104. Harold Ford, like Albert Gore, grew up in DC as the son of a Member of Congress. In my opinion, neither were from Tennessee, they were inside the beltway types. A "home state" was a necessity for a future run for public office, for a seat "inherited from their father.
    And now a carpet-bagger. . . . So it goes. . . .

  105. One is challenged on a number of fronts on the comment section this AM. There is an interesting similarity between you and your companion Frank Rich’s column and the generic issue of the cultural wars if one will. I picked your column over Frank’s first as I was somewhat amused by being torn between not knowing whether or not to congratulate you for being so courageous or to chide you for your literary stealth. Your column today is, truly, and uniquely a “Look Who’s Coming To Dinner” presentation and event featuring an authentic Sidney Poitier in the living, breathing flesh, deceive yourself not. Maybe you could have been cheekier and entitled your piece, Is He White Enough?

    America! It is a watershed period in this country yet timing of change demands her own pace and only the truly wise know what the beat of that cadence should be. Reference Obama’s beer summit of this past year. In my view neither side of both these issues is so truly wrought, neither side pure victim nor full tyrant. We are ALL flawed, even ideologically, like it or not, so beware my foolish heart. Be careful of what you ask for, you might just get it has been a wise saying a lot of us have heard but not always listened. These issues are not just issues; they are forces of great magnitude for which we have no magical answers and fewer solutions. Rodney King asked a really cool question.

    But are there still amongst us who still chatter about a perceived tendency in some black male’s psychology regarding a tendency to capture a dazzling blonde? Sammy Davis, Jr., Tiger Woods, O.J Simpson come immediately to mind. You bet there is! . Is such simply chance or the ultimate PC, simple preference? I think not. Is there also a fashion relation to hair preferences amongst black women? Probably. Explanations for this have been the fodder of great conjecture about the assimilation and boundaries of minorities and this is also echoed and parallels in class structure’s great literature in many ways so as to be considered endemic to all races and creeds, but I would say you are also toying with dynamite but maybe a tad more or less so than Frank Rich but who knows which stirring of the pot triggers off unwanted, unneeded toxic and explosive reactions.

    It would take a thesis to respond more fully. I will look forward to the responses from your readers to see what you, my dear, have stirred up today. As the pundits say we have to start talking about race in this country. I would say that you thought today would be a good day to stick your toe into it as well. Do hope all proves benign.

  106. Ann Coulter's favorite democrat and all we get is this piece of fluff?

  107. Geez Maureen, couldn't you have put the bit about the athlete's feet near the end of the column? And I hope Ford isn't receiving his foot scrubs in a public salon or spa......yes, I know they disinfect those things but still...

    As for Ford himself, he is a question mark for me. Which makes the issue not as important for me, since I live in the state from which he came, not in the one where he is presently residing and may run for office. I will agree with certain points he made. Tennessee is not the place for progressives in general and can be just a few points above WV and a few other states when it comes to racial "issues." A majority of people in this state still loathe the fact that Obama was elected. Some of these same people turned out in droves to listen to Sarah Palin at the Tea-Party Extravaganza this evening. If not for all the current publicity about the ex first dude's emails revealing the extent of the co-govenorship of Alaska, I suspect he would have been at her side. In the event this country goes completely mad and should nominate and elect "Palin" that is exactly what it will get - Palin, Todd Palin as much or more than the one with hair extentions and crossed stockinged legs (or wait, are they just that color from the tanning bed that enjoyed such publicity?).

    Now back to Mr. Ford. Mo, I know he has lovely green eyes, but how in the world did you decide they are "honest?" Please do your homework and get back to us....New Yorkers in particular would appreciate it.

  108. The people of Tennessee lost an opportunity to be represented properly in the senate. But I am not sure he would improve any N.Y. representation.
    The loss for America is that the Dems would still have a super majority if the people of Tennessee were not fooled by the same people now fooling the tea party uninformed, the radical right of the republican party.

  109. I like to think that New Yorkers in their infinite wisom will never elect this clown and poseur.

  110. Very good non acerbic piece! Ford ,however, is most likely another smooth talking phony in the John Edwards mold. What did he accomplish in congress?

  111. Why is New York State such an attractant for carpetbaggers? I don't get it.

  112. I can gather all the news I need from Mo....
    The only livin girl in NY....

    I am now enlightened!

  113. It looks like this article was written as a slam against Don Imus. It will drive him over the edge on Monday.

  114. If Ms Clinton could carpetbag her way to a Senate seat from New York, why not Mr Ford ?...

    Henri

  115. Mo,I hope you did tell him he is no Bobby Kennedy by any stretch of make-belief. So why even take Bobby's name? Was he ever a used car salesman, and does he drive a new Toyota to boot?

  116. sorry, modo. i realize harold ford's a favorite of the village dinner party circuit, but there's no way he's returning to wdc as the junior senator from new york.

    he reeks of rank opportunism; his bankster affiliations, support for regressive social policies and general cluelessness about the city -- let alone the state -- make him utterly unsuitable and unworthy of that seat.

  117. I think Ms. Dowd is tough on Harold Ford because he is a male running against a female. I would like to see if she could do such a piece on Gillebrand.

  118. He is a slickster alright. And being beaten with an electric cord as a child doesn't confer, wholistic, healthy adulthood any better than being spoiled & privileged.
    Give him a big pass by!

  119. And how was the omelette ?

  120. Ah -- just the kind of candidate that the Supreme Court had in mind when they lifted the restrictions on campaign financing.

  121. I know you couldn't have added this, Maureen, but I can and will. This I-am-recently-married-and-definitely-heterosexual-but-gay-friendly will definitely get the gay vote in New York but not because of his statements. It's all about looks. And does he ever have "the looks."

  122. Dear Ms. Dowd
    You used to have something to say, but lately, you have joined the appearances over substance crowd. In admiring Scott Brown you displayed the same bimbo instincts thay got Dubbya elected. Rugged looking empty suit, you prefer them that way over professorial types like Obama. If somebody as well schooled as you are, falls for fluff, what hope is there for a nation that found Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin worth listening to.

    You conveniently forget how much the total failure of the Feminist movement to come to the rescue of a Martha Coaxley and how even now it is in full retreat. Women become University presidents, they outnumber men in coleges and universities, they could have enormous influence in turning this nation away from jingoism and simplistic solutions but so many of them have gone AWOL even in defending their reproductive rights, they have settled.

  123. As a former long-time upstater whose daughter is now a resident, I can honestly say that Ford would be great for New York and they should be honored that he is interested in serving the state. His near-victory in one of the reddist and racist states is one of the greatest political miracles of modern election history. The U.S. will soon again have no black members, and Ford would thus become the nation's black representative to the Senate.

  124. I agree with Maureen, its a shame when politicians move to other states with the only intent of acheiving more political power. Especially NY.

    -Hillary Clinton

  125. He is as phony as Tiger Woods or John Edwards or Mitt Romney. Ask Imus how mercurial this loser can be.