Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ford Talks Issues

Throughout the entire U.S. Senate campaign, Harold Ford Jr. has campaign strictly on the issues. Unlike his opponents, he has not personally attacked or lied about them. He promised to run an issue-rich campaign, and that is exactly what he has done.

Below is a summary of a recent interview with WATE's Gene Patterson, that once again gives everyone a very good look at where Congressman Ford stands on the major issues of the day:

On Iraq, he proposes three states (Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish) operating under a unified republic with an equitable distribution of oil revenues. He was sharply critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war, saying that "stay the course" is not working and it is time to try new ideas and come up with a strategy to win.

He supports Bush's idea for a manned mission to Mars, saying that new scientific advancements coming out of the project would be worth the effort.

On taxes, he is opposed to the "fair tax" (national sales tax) because doesn't think it is fair to those with lower incomes, but said he might be interested in a "flat tax" as long as it was graduated by different income levels (?) and "not progressive" like the current income tax (??). He also favors small business tax cuts targeted at rising health insurance and energy costs.

On energy, his long range plan is to put Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffet in a room and tell them to figure it out and go hire the best scientists and engineers to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by fifty to seventy-five percent.

In the mean time, he wants an executive order that federal employees must drive hybrids, cars fueled by biodiesel, or at least the most efficient vehicles in their class, flextime and a four day work week for all federal employees, and suspending the federal gas tax for 60 days.

On global warming, he was caught off-guard when Patterson asked if he had seen Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. He hesitated, and said he had seen "parts of it." At any rate, he said to his "three scientists" opponents that the earth was round, that men had actually landed on the moon, and the earth's temperature is rising. He said that maybe the debate is about the remedy, but there is no debate on the facts.

When asked what his campaign plans were for East Tennessee, he said "to win." Throughout his talk, he continued the theme of moderate, bi-partisan approach to solving problems and putting aside extreme views from both sides.

Patterson asked about all the out of state money. Ford says he has more contributers from in the state than his opponents. In terms of dollars, he says he wishes he had $100 million like Corker so he could write his own check, but that isn't possible. He said he would favor public campaign financing, but overall he wished they didn't have to raise all this money to run. (He said he has raised $7.2 million so far.) He also said his opponents had written out of state asking for money, but the difference is that when he (Ford) writes someone he gets a donation and they don't.

In response to the finance question and as part of his wrap-up, Ford hammered home his "moderate" message, saying "People who are giving me this money know that I'm for the Second Amendment, they know I'm against same-sex marriage, they know I'm for the display of the Ten Commandments in public places, they realize I'm not for abortion on demand, and they also understand that I don't want to see the flag desecrated. At the same time, they know I love kids and I want to see them get a good education, and that I think we can win this war by trying some new options."

It really is refreshing to see a candidate be so forthcoming and upfront on majors issues like Congressman Ford is. Not only does Ford have an opinion on those issues, but he also has solutions and proposals to remedy the troubled areas.

That is what we need in our next U.S. Senator. Not someone who merely tells you their opinion or criticizes the way things are going, but someone who has the ability to think big, work hard, and do what is right to fix things.

That is a real leader and that is what we need.