Thursday, April 13, 2006

Harold Ford Jr: The Democratic Nominee

On Wednesday, State Senator Rosalind Kurita dropped out of the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race against Congressman Harold Ford Jr.

Personally, I would just like to thanks Senator Kurita for running a hard fought campaign on the issues that face our state and nation. Throughout her entire campaign she remained positive--something all of the Republican candidates could learn from.

Her service to our state is very appreciated and needed.

With all that being said, I am glad that now all Democrats in Tennessee can come together and say in unison--we support Harold Ford Jr!

We have a very unique opportunity in this race to elect a man of extreme integrity and unsurpassed brilliance and we must step up to the plate and act like we have never acted before!

I am proud that all Democrats can now join in in electing Harold Ford Jr. our next U.S. Senator!

Lets get to work!

Related: The following comments from the Kurita blog are very good and much appreciated.

Why I'm voting for Harold Ford, Jr. without having to swallow my pride

Without my favorite candidate in the race, I am now in the precarious position of evaluating what to do with my vote. I would like to offer my perspective looking ahead.

First, to the Kurita supporters: Thank you for your tenacity, it is tough to stay with a long shot candidate no matter how much you believe in them. But now that Rosalind has closed up shop, I recommend you vote for Ford. I know it feels wrong after such a heated primary, but rather than sticking to your ideological guns and trying to avoid humility, take a look at Nader's votes in 2000 and the abstentions in 2004 and see if that protest vote is really worth it.

No need to bow, no need to crawl, and no need to go silent. Harold Ford, Jr. is now the superior candidate in this race (by a long shot). Proudly back him with all you've got!

Now, to everyone else:

I've spent hundreds of hours researching Harold Ford, Jr. I've read many full congresional bills and laws, floor debate, speeches, articles, editorials, press releases, and many other materials. I've looked at every vote he cast in the House two different times. My endorsement of Ford is no flippant thing. Likewise, it is not a concession. I admit I would have prefered Rosalind Kurita. But we do have to take into account electability, it's true. Ford is the one with the momentum. We also have to account for the ability to get things done in Washington, and here Ford has a proven track record.

There is no question in my mind that Harold Ford, Jr. should be our next Senator. Consider these four points:

1. Harold usually votes Democratic.

Whereas the Republican candidates are highly likely to use their offices to further the current corrupt culture and immoral policies of the Republican Senate and George W. Bush, Harold Ford is highly likely to further the general agenda of the Democrats.

Harold occasionally sides out when I wish he wouldn't. I have been very critical of him this year for having voted for several major GOP initiatives. But the flip side of the coin here is that these examples are the exhaustive product of hundreds of hours of meticulously combing votes and literature on harold Ford, Jr. The immutable act remains that he votes wit the Democrats the vast majority of the time.

2. Harold cares for the poorest Americans and he views them with great dignity.

There is a substantial distinction between Ford's supply-side approach and the Republican supply-side approach, one I have been shocked not to hear from his supporters this year: The strict conservative worldview says that people are poor because they deserve to be poor - they are immoral.

Dan Quayle called rich people 'the best people.' In 2004, Arnold Schwartzanegger said that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get ahead - meaning if you haven't gotten ahead you are lazy and immoral. Van Hilleary says that entitlements are stealing from those who DESERVE their wealth [regardless of how the wealth was earned or whether the rich person is good by any other standard].

In contrast, when Harold Ford talks wealth and poverty he expresses the sentiment we heard from Barack Obama and John Edwards in 2004: the poor are very often poor because of systemic problems that prevent them from getting ahead. As a society, we must respond to their needs, we are our brother's keeper. As Bono said, we hope Jesus is with the rich but we know he is among the poor. There also should we be!

It is true, I disagree with Harold over how we get there - supply side economics is only half the story. But we're working from a very similar set of values towards a similar goal. This is morally, economically, and in all other ways superior to all three GOP candidates in this race.

3. Harold has consistently gotten it right on fiscal discipline, a woman's right to choose, the environment, and security.

The few criticisms I have leveled at Ford in these areas are fairly insignificant compared to his total voting record. harold is the only candidate in the race who will fight against irresponsible tax cuts, cuts to social services, and the belligerent Wolfowitz-doctrine foreign policy.

4. Replacing Bill First with Harold Ford is a unique and major improvement.

On the other hand, all three GOP candidates would be a step down. Above all, an American election has to do with looking at where we are and what our options are going forward. This is a clear case where only one candidate is set to massively and categorically improve the US Senate and Tennessee's representation in it: Harold Ford, Jr.

More: CQ Politics reports 'Ford Free to Run as Centrist as Primary Foe Exits'

99 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!