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Maybe We Should Support Harold Ford Jr.’s Race Against Kirsten Gillibrand For the Good of Democracy?

Harold Ford Jr. may be a gay marriage flip-flopper, but might his running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary for New York’s U.S. Senate actually be a good thing?

If you love democracy, then sure! Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s former presidential campaign manager, is making the case for Ford’s primary run, and how it’s good news for everyone. (Well, maybe not Gillibrand.)

Primaries allow for real debate about issues, new solutions and new ideas, and they allow for the challenging of stale thinking that often takes hold in a party’s establishment.

No institution, in Washington or Albany, within either party, should block primaries. And, in the competition of ideas, it is a mistake to block candidacies on ideological grounds. That is something the voters in a party’s primary should be empowered to decide.

That is why I supported Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney when she sought to challenge the Washington party establishment and take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand earlier this year.

And it is why I, for one, hope Harold Ford Jr. enters the race for U.S. Senate in NY. Democratic voters in New York deserve a choice. And Harold Ford Jr. can give them one.

This is not about ideology. Senator Gillibrand has never been a darling of progressives — she has represented and defended big-tobacco as a corporate lawyer, has had a rating of 100% from the NRA, and on immigration she opposed a path to citizenship as part of reform. Her record has evolved on these and other issues only after she was appointed to the Senate — why should Harold Ford Jr. be held to a different standard by progressives?

And Harold Ford Jr. is far more progressive than people give him credit for. He has always supported civil unions and has come out in support of gay marriage. Throughout his time in Congress he always received high ratings from NARAL and other pro-choice groups.

More to the point, at a time when we suffer double digit unemployment, and with another 82,000 workers who lost their jobs last month alone – Harold Ford Jr. has a strong record of working with working families and labor – fighting for jobs, and small businesses.

At a time when we need new ideas to right our wrecked economy it makes no sense to stifle Harold Ford Jr.’s voice on behalf of working people.

There’s always the argument that Gillibrand was an appointed senator, picked by an unelected governor. So, hey, what’s this novel idea about letting voters choose their elected officials?

By:           editor editor
On:           Jan 12, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , ,

  • 27 Comments
    • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      Bloombergs machine is starting!

      “He has always supported civil unions and has come out in support of gay marriage. Throughout his time in Congress he always received high ratings from NARAL and other pro-choice groups.”

      Politics is so slimey, dirty and deceitful. Yuck.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      Harold Ford voted twice to ammend the Constitution of the United States of America to specifically discriminate against gays and lesbians.

      There is no law saying that this Tennessean can’t run for the Senate in New York, but for the life of me, I can’t see why any gay person would support someone who twice tried to change the US Constitution just to discriminate against gay people. And then he bragged about it when running for Senate in TN. Thanks, but no thanks Mr. Ford.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickW
      MickW

      Let him run, if you do not like him don’t vote for him! Choice is good for everyone.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jhd
      jhd

      Democracy? This is a son of a senator who just recently lost a senate race in the South! I can’t think of anything less democratic than this example of nepotism.

      He’s anti-gay marriage and describes himself as “pro-life. “

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wondermann
      wondermann

      “Democracy? This is a son of a senator who just recently lost a senate race in the South!”

      JHD, he lost in 2006, that’s not recent.

      Let him run, if you like him, vote for him. If you don’t then don’t vote for him.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jhd
      jhd

      3 years ago is very recent. If you recall that was post-911, post-iraq, post-katrina, and post-Gavin Newsom’s stunt in SF.

      He voted for DOMA and was proud of it. He didn’t want to end DADT. He described himself as pro-life. He was pro-Iraq war.

      When he lost he got a cushy position in a hedge fund for a few years.

      This isn’t a person working through the primary process, this is another Obama-esque puppet chosen by powerful people to represent their interests.

      I’m not suggesting that he shouldn’t run for the primary, but I recommend voting against him. He’s not a democratic candidate, he’s an aristocrat in search of a new little duchy.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bob
      Bob

      Jonathan Tasini is the progressive and unequivocal supporter of gay marriage.(so if you want to vote for a liberal for the NY senate seat)

      I am happy with Gillibrand being so forward in her pushing to scrap DADT.

      Just remember Harold Ford supported a constitutional amendment to BAN gay marriage.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HereToHelp
      HereToHelp

      Kirsten Gillibrand was ‘anti-gay’ before she was ‘pro-gay.’ If she can evolve on issues, why can he?

      Competition is good for democracy. Ford should run and make his case to the voters of NY.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dontblamemeivotedforhillary
      dontblamemeivotedforhillary

      Democrats won’t learn from their “Bros before Hos” campaigning. Fifty percent of the electorate are women while twenty percent of New York state is African-American. You do the math! All the straights are invading this site to bash another woman in their wife-beaters. This ain’t no Blue Dog Democrat town! Fuck off straights!

      Jan 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      Problem is the Gays are always courted prior to the election, promised all the spoils of the victors. Then once said polititcian has had the gold leaf painted on their office door. we are treated like the red headed stepchild. Barely tolerated and shown none of the love………………

      Jan 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ossurworld
      ossurworld

      yes, but he is so cute…

      Jan 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @ HereToHelp (Ford’s pr guy)

      Don’t be stupid. She was STILL pro civil union. He ISN’T at all.

      He NEVER was.

      A democracy? Don’t be stupid. The guy has literally being spotted in by Bloomberg and his cronies. You call that Democracy?

      Please.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @ ossurworld

      What is wrong with you?

      What is wrong with gay people?

      I’ve never heard a black person say ‘oh, but that Ku Klux Clan lady is soo hot..if only she didn’t want to hang me up on a tree…’

      Weirdo.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 6:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dontblamemeivotedforhillary
      dontblamemeivotedforhillary

      Is HeretoHelp the lisping paid politico David Goldenson who is probably on retainer from Mayor “Kill NYC Nightlife!” Bloomberg and wants the Gillibrand campaign to “Abort! Abort! Abort!” for daring to disagree with the diminutive king-maker, strangely also with a lisping voice!

      Jan 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon Cooper
      Jon Cooper

      I’m an openly gay elected official with a strong progressive record; I was also the first elected official in NY to endorse Barack Obama for President. Back in April, I launched an exploratory campaign to consider a primary run against Senator Gillibrand. I ultimately decided not to challenge her and in fact gave Kirsten my wholehearted endorsement last month. For anyone interested, the rationale for my decision is laid out on my website at http://www.CooperforNewYork.com.

      That being said, I consider Harold Ford’s potential candidacy to be a complete non-starter. Unlike Gillibrand, he was never a supporter of same-sex marriage when he was in Congress. Ford voted TWICE for the hateful Federal Marriage Amendment, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and called the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act “unnecessary.” With all due respect, I would not consider him to be a friend of the LGBT community.

      Ford also proudly and loudly proclaimed himself to be pro-life (that is until recently, when he changed his mind and announced himself to be pro-choice).

      Although I supported Harold Ford when he ran for Senator of Tennessee, I think New York deserves better. That’s why I’m proud to support Kirsten Gillibrand.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @ Jon Cooper

      But why did you support him in Tenessee with a record like that?

      Like you’ve just spelt out?

      A friend of mine too an amazing trip for a few months in the South-making music and learning about proper folk music.

      I’m a huge fan of really good alt country music and know a lot about the South but it’s all from books or music or videos.

      What would make it okay to support someone like Ford when he’s running in Tenessee but not in NY?

      Is is it a cold and calculated case of, well, I’m not in the South or well everyone is homophobic, racist, pro-life therefore everyone should vote like that to get IN but they should stay there…

      But in NY, which is liberal, progressive and democratic…the rules are different?

      To me, you either support someone or you don’t. You don’t support their crazy negative views in one state and than not support them in another when they decide to change their ‘crazy negative views’…

      Jan 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon Cooper
      Jon Cooper

      John from England, I understand your point and in an ideal world I might agree with you. Unfortunately, however, we’re living in the real world.

      In the 2006 Tennessee Senate race, Harold Ford’s positions on many key issues were superior to those of Bob Corker, the far-right Republican candidate. I don’t believe it’s inconsistent to support someone over a more CONSERVATIVE opponent in one race yet oppose them if they’re facing a more PROGRESSIVE opponent in another.

      Jan 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom Dockery
      Tom Dockery

      This is George Soros at his demonistic best.

      Soros knows he needs someone he can control if the eligibility suits remove his boy,Obama,from office.He puts up Ford to get him known here,then has Biden resign over a bogus health issue.Obama then appoints Ford and makes a deal with him as Nixon did with another Ford.Then,everybody is happy:Soros has Mr.Clean,the birthers are proven correct,Obama escapes being jailed,and the casualty insurers breathe a sigh of relief.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 12:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brady Vitrano
      Brady Vitrano

      I would vote for Ford in a heartbeat. Democrats and Republicans need to give us more options. If the voters want a blue dog Democrat then we should be given the option to vote for a blue dog Democrat. It is the peoples choice. Our choice. The more you let the two parties decide for you, the worse our country becomes. You straight ticket voters are some of the ridiculous people on the planet. You might as well stop voting because you have no voice. You are predictable and they only temporarily need you show up at the polls.

      Your two party system is so corrupt that they will tell bold face lies to Independents to swing their vote. Then when someone calls out your candidate on such lies, you idiots stand by them no matter what. All because you support the two party system ’til death do you part. Both sides are idiots, America should be run by the people not by a two party system. I hope you guys see this fact in Obama’s broken promises. He can’t do much without the Democrats approval. He is controlled just as much as you are controlled by the Democrats. All in the name of the party and not principal.

      Go continue to blindly follow your party and not hold your own party accountable for their actions. Continue to point fingers at the other party. Continue your hate for the other party. You fake Christians and fake peace activists. Some of the worst double standards exist in America and it starts with you!

      Jan 13, 2010 at 1:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Third Party Now!
      Third Party Now!

      So, Jon Cooper, lets see…in your own words…

      “…Ford voted TWICE for the hateful Federal Marriage Amendment…voted for the Defense of Marriage Act…voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act…and called the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act “unnecessary.” ”

      Ford crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans on all of these issues and you still supported him over a Republican who would do essentially the same thing? So, in other words, the only difference was that Ford was a Democrat so he gets a pass.

      Just another reason why the old (essentially the same) two party political cartel consisting of the same old tired, and bought off, players must be dismantled or America will be destroyed. Considering how the Democrats sold us all out to the Insurance Lobbyists and to Big Pharma just recently, there is no real difference between the two parties.

      Both parties are amoral, slick talking whores who owe their first allegiance to Corporate Robber Barons who have not only destroyed the manufacturing base of this nation (Bill Clinton’s “NAFTA” as well as his allowing American economic traitors to move millions of American jobs to China and to other nations overseas), but both parties have also allowed the big banking vultures on Wall Street to pick clean what little meat is left on the bones of an ever shrinking Middle Class America.

      A plague on both their houses. Vote for an independent third party candidate. It worked for that rat Lieberman. He now owns the US Senate.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 1:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clarknt67
      Clarknt67

      That’s insane. Absolutely insane. Ford is a toad, and a liar. And Joe Trippi is a liar too, a Fox News personality who’s destroyed his reputation since leaving Dean’s campaign.

      We have an awesome candidate in Gillibrand, and should be rushing to her defense, not considering the enemy. Ford will do to GLBT movement what Joe Lieberman did to Health Care Reform: destroy it from within while prentending to be on our side.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 2:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark in Indiana
      Mark in Indiana

      so why not let this idiot run? I say, let him run and let Obama watch him get taken down by the progressive wing of the party–while the present senator doesn’t seem to be the best solution, she seems viable. The only way Obama seems to learn anything is with a 2×4, so wield one. Show that lying asshole what 2012 is going to look like.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 5:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clarknt67
      Clarknt67

      @Mark in Indiana: To clarify two points. The White House has actually weighed in and voiced their support of Gillibrand, and specifically on the issue of a Ford challenge.

      I support primary challenges for sure, and will enjoy watching Gillibrand mop the floor up with Ford. Ford’s superficial repackaging of every view he ever held on GLBT rights and women’s reproductive rights is one of the crassest, most ridiculous ploys I’ve ever seen. We’ll have votes coming up
      on DADT, ENDA maybe even DOMA, the last thing our community needs is Ford. He will throw our community under the bus in a heartbeat.

      I suggest anyone, who’s inclined to entertain this article’s suggested headline read Alan Van Chappel’s endorsement of Gillibrand over Ford.

      No Contest for GLBT: Gillibrand is Exponentially Better
      http://prideagenda.blogspot.com/2010/01/no-contest-gillibrand-is-exponentially.html

      Jan 13, 2010 at 9:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clarknt67
      Clarknt67

      @Mark in Indiana: To clarify two points. The White House has actually weighed in and voiced their support of Gillibrand, and specifically on the issue of a Ford challenge.

      I support primary challenges for sure, and will enjoy watching Gillibrand mop the floor up with Ford. Ford’s superficial repackaging of every view he ever held on GLBT rights and women’s reproductive rights is one of the crassest, most ridiculous ploys I’ve ever seen. We’ll have votes coming up
      on DADT, ENDA maybe even DOMA, the last thing our community needs is Ford. He will throw our community under the bus in a heartbeat.

      I suggest anyone, who’s inclined to entertain this article’s suggested headline read Empire State Pride Agenda Director Alan Van Chappel’s endorsement of Gillibrand over Ford.

      No Contest for GLBT: Gillibrand is Exponentially Better
      http://prideagenda.blogspot.com/2010/01/no-contest-gillibrand-is-exponentially.html

      Jan 13, 2010 at 9:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev
      Chitown Kev

      @Mark in Indiana

      Actually, the White House is urging Ford NOT to run…

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12ford.html?ref=politics

      As far as I am concerned, Ford is the political equivalent of trade.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 9:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ossurworld
      ossurworld

      @ John from England. Foreigners ought to buy a sense of humor.

      Jan 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tjr101
      tjr101

      Of course I support that he should run for the senate…I just won’t vote for him!

      Jan 14, 2010 at 1:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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