Monday, October 09, 2006

Ford, Sr.'s Last Trick

I watched the television debate tonight by the three candidates running to represent Tennessee's Ninth District, Democrat Steve Cohen, Republican Mark White, and "Independent Democrat" Jake Ford, and I am upset. Not with my candidate Senator Cohen; he was succinct, knowledgeable, and showed a mastery over the issues; explained how he was the "real" Democrat in the race, and pointed out every falsity the Ford machine has thrown at him, all the while expressing his support for Junior's Senatorial bid. Cohen also refused to rise to the bait when young Ford attempted to distort his record, and Jake "Fraud" could only say in rebuttal, "he's too liberal, liberal, liberal." What a day when a candidate from the Ford family attempts to paint his opponent as "too liberal," for the District.

I backed Cohen in 1996 when he lost the congressional seat to Harold Ford, Jr. and was disappointed at his statements that a white candidate could not get fair consideration in the African-American community. Cohen has said in this campaign that his remarks ten years ago were from frustration and disappointment, but he has never wavered in his support for all candidates fairly elected in the Democratic Primary. After last night's debate, perhaps Cohen's election analysis of 1996 was more accurate than anyone thought. When Joe Ford, Jr. is fairly beaten in the primary, but Harold Ford, Sr. places his unqualified and undereducated son, Jake, in the general election as an independent stop-gap to preserve the family seat, there is something racist and obscene about such tactics that should be harshly dealt with not just from the State Democratic Committee, but from the DNC itself.

The headline of the debate came from Republican Mark White, and it's a slogan Cohen should use for the remainder of this campaign. When asked by Norm Brewer how he felt about Ford's independent candidacy, White replied, "I'm tickled pink that Jake Ford is in this race." And he looked it too, both pink and tickled. Ford claims to be an "Independent Democrat" and he has the backing of a group of ministers as well as some community leaders that actually don't feel that Cohen is too liberal for the district, he's too white. That's the self-admitted excuse for this group's allegiance to Jake Ford's candidacy, and Harold Ford, Sr.'s influence.

I have voted in every election since 1972, and some of those votes were for Harold Ford, Sr., Otis Higgs, D'Army Bailey, Willie Herenton, and A C Wharton. I have never felt these gentlemen were too "black" to represent me, and deserved my vote because of their qualifications. I did not vote for Junior in 1966 and I have been dismayed with the number of times he has voted with the Republican majority. The source of my disappointment in Junior's voting record is that I feel he really doesn't agree with the Patriot Act, for instance, but he does it because he is ambitious and eager to please the conservative voters of middle and east Tennessee. But how are you going to out-conservative a Bush man like Corker? Junior's strategy is to have his more "liberal" voters understand him while he conducts himself like another Joe Lieberman in dealing with the Bush regime, and his true Democratic colors will emerge once he's elected; unless, of course, he begins compromising his values in an immediate run at the Presidency.

I propose a remedy. After Frist, no one wants "Frist Lite." So my plan was always to hold my nose and vote for Ford. But I don't like it, and I am not above withholding my vote for him in the Senate until or unless he backs Cohen for the Congress. Although the latest polls show Ford, Jr. up a few points in his race, I would like for Democrats to insist through their local, state, and national committees, that if Harold Ford, Sr. doesn't cease and desist with his manipulation of the election in the Ninth District by attempting to split the Democratic vote, then real Democrats will withhold their votes for Junior in the Senate. This cynical maneuver to sneak his son into Congress' by undermining Cohen's candidacy is all about Harold Ford, Sr.'s power as a lobbyist in Washington and not for the betterment of the district, but for the family Ford.

In reality, Democrats have their best chance to reclaim power in the House rather than the Senate in November, and Cohen was a prohibitive favorite until the Jake Ford trick. Harold, Jr. has a tougher race and needs all the votes from West Tennessee that he takes for granted that he already has. Every Democrat should demand the support of their party for Senator Cohen. And I don't believe it is too much to demand party discipline for Harold Ford, Sr., who after all, built his political dynasty through the efforts of the Democratic Party. The party should unequivocally back their candidates straight down the line, and if they are too afraid of the Ford machine to act, the voters should take it upon themselves. I favor circulating an online petition, of which I will be the first signee, that says in effect to Harold Ford, Sr. that if you continue to push an independent candidate merely because his name is Ford, I will refuse to vote for another candidate merely because his name is Ford, and I mean Junior. I would prefer throwing the Senatorial election to Corker before I allow Harold Ford, Sr. to be the Ralph Nader of Memphis, and pass off another dubious member of his family as someone who is dedicated to public service, when opportunism is his sole motivation.

The petition should be forwarded to Democratic Party offices and precincts in the entire state. Democratic voters should be aware that Harold Ford, Sr. is using all his influence and power to see that one Ford enters Congress through the front door, while the other enters through the back. I will not stand for it. Neither should you. There are thirty days left to become vocal on this issue. Cohen did his job at the debate. It's time for true Democrats not to just speak up, but shout it out loud, "No support for Cohen? Then no support for Junior."


Anonymous said...

Dear Randy,
The stakes are too high for me to withhold my vote for JR. but I would like you to pass along in any way you can my utter contempt for SR running Jake for office. The one promise I can make is that I will NEVER forget this and I will NEVER vote for Jake Ford for any office as long as I live. I was with a number of fellow Dems this weekend and the topic was hot even before the debate. SR should take note. One of my partners in conversation has a powerful voice in the Press and I assure you his/her view is the same as mine.

Jay said...

Dear Congressman Ford,
I am a life-long Democrat and long-time supporter of yours. I, as well as many of my friends, have contributed financially to your campaign for the Senate. I have attended rallies and written letters on your behalf.
It is with a great sense of concern that I feel compelled to write this note to you.
Steve Cohen is the rightful Democratic nominee for the 9th District congressional seat, and he is being sabotaged by the minipulative efforts of your father and brother in this campaign. The unfortunate conclusion that must be drawn by your position on this issue so far is that you are at least tacitly complicit in the "Ralph Nader-ing" of the legitimate Democratic candidate.
You have been a stalwart representative of all the people of your district and that effort and responsibility is not diminished because you are running for the Senate, nor because you have a family member in the race to fill that seat.
I would urge you to prevail upon your father and brother to abandon this egregious power grab and withdraw Jake's name from the ballott. Failing the effect of that effort, I would ask that you publicly endorse Steve Cohen's candidacy; I believe you know in your heart of hearts that he is the best man in the race.
As you may know, there is a movement afoot to withhold votes from you in November, if you allow this travesty to continue. Frankly, I have not decided whether to follow this course, but I know that many like-minded voters are seriously considering it.
I sincerely hope you will hear these voices.
Very respectfully,
John C. "Jay" Sheffield
Co-owner, Huey's Restaurants
Owner, Jay Sheffield Entertainment

Steve said...

Junior seems like a nice guy but the thing that scares me about him is he was born and bred to be a politician. I think he will be like Clinton. In other words stick his finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing before he makes a comment on anything. I can't stand the rest of the Fords and I think I can almost vote for Steve. He is too liberal for my taste but I would rather see him get it than another black. I know I'll take heat for this remark but the blacks have ruined this city.

disbcrazy said...

Amen Steve, AMEN!
I look forward to a day when I may actually want to vote for a Democrat again, but until "The Liberals" are all destroyed, I will have to vote the other way, Conservative. The problem is "real Conservatives" are as out of touch with power as "real Democrats" are. None of the people that "really care" are running the show.
Viva La Rebvolution!
God Bless America and make us a humble country no matter what it takes!

jimbob said...

spoken like a true redneck. I can tell you guys are from Memphis by the tobacco juice stains on your shirt front.

Anonymous said...

Dear Randy,

I was undecided about giving a vote to Jr. anyway. When Jr. ran the first time for 9th against Cohen he used the slogan "apple don't fall far from the tree" and now tries to distance himself from them except for "Don't talk about my family." Family is fair game in Jr's case. They are a machine by every defininition--and their bred-to-be-the-man candidate is throwing tantrams in public which is desparate. Big Daddy has to deliver for his lobbying buds. And also thanks to Sr., Jake, an "independent Democrat," is running against against Cohen, the WINNER of the primary. I'm setting this one out. Sorry, can't punch the button. Pee-yew.

Anonymous said...

As brilliant as they come, Randy. Thanks!

Steve said...

Fuck you Jimbob you don't shit about growing up in Memphis