Commentary Magazine


Re: The Touch of Political Death

Harold Ford Jr. is no dummy. Writing in the New York Post, he tells New Yorkers he’s not going to let the White House chase him out of the race. In fact, he’s going to use its opposition to his advantage:

Some have already questioned whether I should be running. Others are falsifying my record in public life. New Yorkers deserve a free election. New Yorkers expect a politics where politicians do what’s right based on independent judgment, free of political bosses trying to dictate.

Obama is a political boss? Well, yes. He and Rahm Emanuel are, if nothing else, well practiced in Chicago politics, so I think “bosses” is a term chosen well and that aptly conjures up the image of corruption and contempt for democracy that has voters of all parties upset these days. He also takes time to clarify his stance on hot-button issues that have the netroots in a tizzy. He pledged fidelity to three of the touchstones of the Left: abortion rights, gay rights, and support for Big Labor. (This is a Democratic primary, and it is New York, after all.) And he says he’s been living there for three years, about three years longer than Hillary Clinton before her run for office.

What he has going for him is that he’s not in office, didn’t vote for Cash for Cloture, and hasn’t run Right as a representative and then Left as a senator, as Kirsten Gillibrand did. He’s no Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whose name he invokes. But he’s not been there for the last year as voters have become disgusted with the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine. And that may be all he needs. It looks like New Yorkers are going to have a very interesting primary. If Gillibrand were smart, she’d tell the White House to butt out. She has enough problems without another reminder that she is, for purposes of this race, the Washington Insider: not a good thing to be.