Harold Ford Jr. Takes To The Airwaves After Penning Piece Decrying Obama Policies
Well, another Southern-bred politician is standing in our backyard preaching politics. First, it was Madame Clinton of Chappaqua. Now, it’s Harold Ford Jr.
The Tennessean-turned-New-Yorker recently wrote a piece in The New York Times affirming that the recent election of Scott Brown was, in fact, nothing more than a repudiation of the president’s first-year ambitions.
Then, following the publication of his piece, he said of his competition for U.S. Senate, Sen. Gillibrand, that New Yorkers don’t need “parakeets” as their leaders. Looks like the gloves are off in this battle of the Democrats.
Ford’s piece is worth mentioning. He says:
SCOTT BROWN’S victory last week in the Massachusetts Senate race, following the Republican gubernatorial triumphs in New Jersey and Virginia, marked the third time in three months that the Democratic Party has lost the support and trust of independent voters.
The message these voters sent was clear. With one out of five Americans unemployed or underemployed, President Obama and the Democratic Party need to shift attention away from health care and toward a bold effort to create jobs, improve the economy and rein in the size of government.
Here are four simple steps we must take immediately to put us, and the nation, on a better course:
First, cut taxes for businesses — big and small — and find innovative ways to get Americans back to work. We can start by giving any companies that are less than five years old an exemption from payroll taxes for six months; extending the current capital gains and dividend tax rates through 2012; giving permanent tax credits for businesses that invest in research and development; and reducing the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.
America’s primary job-creating machine — the private sector — needs to be rejuvenated. Democrats must lead now on job creation or risk forfeiting Congressional majorities in November.
Second, we should pass a more focused health reform bill that restructures current health care costs before spending more, prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, enacts responsible reform on malpractice suits and extends health coverage to all children. And we must allow states to have input into the expansion of health coverage, as they will have to pay for much of the reform themselves.
This program isn’t all that Democrats wanted from health care reform right now, but it’s what the country wants. And it’s what the country can afford.
Third, we should reform our immigration policy to ensure that those who contribute to our economy, especially foreign math and science graduates of American universities, have a clear path to citizenship.
Finally, we need to address budget deficits now rather than waiting for some ideal future economic situation. It’s a good sign that the Obama administration is following the advice of Senators Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Evan Bayh of Indiana and other Democratic fiscal pragmatists who embrace the idea of a bipartisan commission to recommend spending cuts to rein in deficit growth. But we must be sure that the administration and Congress heed the commission’s advice.
By focusing on job creation and deficit reduction, we can expand our economy and balance the budget. We’ve done it before: When President Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he inherited a record fiscal deficit after years of Republicans in the White House. After eight years in office (and 22 million jobs created), President Clinton had balanced the budget and left his successor with a surplus. This can be done again.
To be sure, President Obama has achieved some important successes. His policies prevented the financial system from collapsing, saved America’s auto industry from extinction and avoided a depression. But that extreme crisis is over — what our country needs now is better, not more, government.
A Democratic Party refocused on revitalizing our economy, protecting the United States from terrorism and re-establishing itself as the party for the middle class is what Americans are demanding. If we do this, victory at the polling booths will take care of itself.
Thereafter, this little tidbit was posted to the New York Post’s page:
Harold Ford Jr. laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this morng in a stop to Albany, saying New Yorkers don’t need “parakeets” as their leaders.
Ford made the comments in an interview with The Post’s Fredric U. Dicker on his Talk1300 radio show, “Live from the state Capitol.”
“We need people to be more independent,” Ford, a Tennessee transplant who’s looking increasingly like he plans to make a go against the appoined junior senator, told Dicker.
Ford added that the senator wasn’t elected “to be a parakeet or to take instructions” from party bosses.
It’s not the word The Post has used to describe Gillibrand on its editorial pages – “handpuppet” of Sen. Charles Schumer – but it has a similar meaning.
Asked about why someone should choose him over native upstater Gillibrand, Ford said, “here are people who have all that experience who aren’t delivering….you need not have lived there 25 years to understand (the sense that) Washington has lost its way.”
He slammed Gillibrand and Schumer for votes on legislation – such as health care reform – that could have a negative impact on their home states, and he rapped Team Gillibrand as distorting his record.
They’ve been on a tear to “paint me as some sort of Southern zealot,” he said. Ford – who recently embraced gay marriage for the first time – accused Gillibrand of switching positions on gay marriage “mor aggressively and more fundamentally than I did.”
That was an apparent reference to his long support for civil unions (a position Gllibrand shared until becoming a proponent of gay marriage within days of Gov. Paterson tapping her for her new position).
He also declined repeatedly to slam poll-challenged Paterson, saying he was dealt a rough hand. And he said he would likely have to create an exploratory committee soon to comply with regulations tripped off by spending on testing a candidacy, adding, “I’d rather be inconvenienced than indicted.”
And he said he is “very comfortable” with petitioning to get on the primary ballot – even though it’s a harder hurdle than getting 25 percent of the weighted vote at the party’s convention in May.
A Gillibrand spokesman replied, “New Yorkers are rightly concerned by a former Tennessee politician and current Wall Street insider whose extreme record in Congress is out of step with New York values. Harold Ford Jr. voted twice to enshrine discrimination in the U.S. Constitution by banning gay marriage, and he proudly said he’s never been pro-choice. That’s not a smear, it’s his record. Kirsten Gillibrand has aggressively fought to protect a woman’s right to choose and establish equal benefits for same sex couples.”
Meanwhile, uh, who’s running for Senate on the Republican side?
We shall see.