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Does Harold Ford Jr. Have Any Chance of Saving His Anti-Gay Reputation?

Opponents “are falsifying my record in public life,” says Harold Ford Jr. in a Post op-ed. Has this man learning nothing from the very woman — Hillary Clinton — whose U.S. Senate seat he wants to take? That playing the victim is a losing strategy?

Particularly when Ford’s “record in public life” speaks for itself. Facing criticism from women’s and gay groups, Ford insists in the piece “I am pro-choice — have always been since I entered politics almost 15 years ago,” despite describing himself as “pro-life,” supposedly his cutesy way of supporting abortion rights while reclaiming the term “pro-life.”

As for his newly formed support for full marriage rights? “[F]rom the moment I arrived in Congress, I supported civil unions. Like New York’s senior senator [Chuck Schumer], after listening to and participating in the national conversation about full equality and fairness, I support same-sex marriage.”

Well, we’ve seen Ford play the defensive role before — in the same ad where he let everyone know he is against gay marriage. Which is why he’s facing attacks from the likes of Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle, who calls Ford a “snake oil salesman.”

Capelle, of course, is the same guy who came to the the side of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — whose Senate seat Ford wants to take — when she was appointed by Gov. David Paterson. Despite a strong commitment for nationwide civil unions, it wasn’t until that early morning phone call with Capelle, after learning she was Paterson’s pick, that she got to the M-word.

But isn’t our ultimate goal to get politicians to support the gay marriage cause? No, we don’t like this class of folks lying straight to our faces, particularly about their record, as it can be argued Ford is doing. But here we have a guy who’s so desperate to take public office, he’s taken up gay marriage as a pet project. What he does with this new vocal support — beyond going on the record in support of marriage — will signal how we ultimately judge him.

(NB: And in a not-entirely-related note, it’s interesting to see both Ford, a Democratic, and Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who also wants to be a U.S. Senator, being dubbed “do anything to get elected” politicians.)

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  • FakeName

    Ford is trying to “save” his anti-gay reputation? Um, no. He’s trying to ditch his anti-gay reputation.

  • Cam

    Fine, I’ll believe it when he introduces legislation in the house right now, before he leaves, that is pro-gay. And I ain’t talking civil Unions. If Ford wants me to buy what he is selling, then introduce, and fully support and push the passage of a bill to end DOMA, DADT etc… He is chair of the Democratic Leadership Council and has some pull. If he is really so pro-gay lets see him use it. Otherwise he is just another bullshitter saying whatever it takes to get a job.

  • dm1973

    Aaaaah…the smell of Mendacity. It permeates the air. Send this Carpetbagger home.

  • rf

    I think its more important to note that Ford pretty much believes that he, or anyone, is unelectable in New York without supporting gay marriage.

  • terrwill

    No. 4 · rf: 100% correct, now how do we get them to
    remember that little nugget. It seems to conviently
    slip from their minds as soon as the hand lifts off
    the bible…………….

  • CHIP1218

    It is funny that statewide, you need to be pro-marriage equality to win (since more than 50% of registered voters support equality) but individually elected district officials say they can’t win re-election if they vote for marriage equality…do they think that all the marriage proponents live in two dozen districts? That some of these districts are 100% pro-marriage equality while theirs are almost zero???

  • rf

    @Terrwill – 5 – I think a good start is to focus, in NJ and NY, on the democrats who voted against marriage. We should do everything we can to get them out. And if that means running and voting for primary candidates or even voting republican if they end up on the ballot, then I say we do it. If there are no consequences, there will be no change. And its not like its changing anyway. I mean I gotta live with a repressed fat ass for the next 4 years in New Jersey, whats a few more republican state senators gonna hurt?

  • jhd

    mendax delendum est!

    What a demented aristocrat. He voted against marriage with pride and glee. He’s pro-war. This bid should be crushed.

  • terrwill

    No. 7 · rf: And think about how much harder it’s gonna be
    for you to get a jelly donut for the next 4 years! : P

  • tjr101

    It’s all well and good that he “tries” to be on our side, but the blatant lying I’m finding hard to digest. What would be worse is if we do vote for him and then he flips and goes conservative rogue in the senate. I can understand that from a Democrat in states like Nebraska or Arkansas, but NY…Harold Ford is too conservative, HELL NO!

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    Harold Ford (junior) should abandon his quest to challenge a fellow Democrat in the Primary with little or no support in the State of New York. This will damage him forever! He is a Dead Man Walking as far as Gay Trust is concerned. Stick a fork in him – he’s political toast! Stupid Democrats for back-stabbing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The DNC should have micro-managed this better instead of having a Republican, ahem, “Independent” Mayor who is a Lame Duck calling the shots. We may not have noticed if he was tacked on in the ceremonial role of Lieutenant Governor, but his Ego entered the race before the Facts! Democrats who endorse him should be equally punished! Call it the Ford bomb-shelter fall-out! Gays don’t Play anymore!

  • OrchidIslander

    Based on this article, I’ll have to do more research before I am ready to burn Harold Ford Jr. in effigy. The writer of this piece splits hairs and overdoes semantics. Harold Ford said he was against “gay marriage” but for Civil Unions. Big Whoop! Lots of politicians who claim to be our friends hold the same view. When Ford’s ad disputed the assertion that he voted for “gay marriage” the ad didn’t lie. But it didn’t make clear the fact that he supported civil unions either, and politically it makes sense. The article is also unforgivably hazy: “…despite describing himself as “pro-life,” supposedly his cutesy way of supporting abortion rights while reclaiming the term “pro-life.” What the hell does that mean? Is he an abortion foe or supporter? “Cutesy?” “Reclaiming?” Facts are facts – and in small quantity in this piece – but intentional slants and lack of clarity makes me want to give Ford Jr the benefit of the doubt – at least for now.

  • christopher di spirito

    The voters of Tennessee ran Harold Ford out of the state and my guess is, if he runs for Kirstin Gillibrand’s U.S. senate seat, the voters of New York will do the same.

    Ford really needs to stop whining and lying about his past positions on gay marriage. They define who he is as a candidate and as a man.

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