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Harold Ford, NYT, Gillibrand: WTF?

The Times must be Kirsten Gillibrand’s best friend. One year after torpedoing Caroline Kennedy’s Senate appointment, or more accurately, letting her hang herself in an interview and then reporting it with detailed derision, the paper has done the same thing with former Tennessee Congressman (and Julia Allison ex) Harold Ford, Jr., who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in his home state in 2006, has since moved to New York to work as a vice chairman at Bank of America, and is weighing a challenge to Sen. Gillibrand in next September’s Democratic primary.

You have to think Ford is insane. He proposes to challenge Gillibrand, whose main problem is that she’s perceived to be too conservative, from the right — for the votes of liberal New York Democrats. He claims he’s now pro-gay marriage, pro-immigrant and pro-choice (though he still supports a ban on medically necessary late-term abortions). But:

He blasted her support for the proposed health care overhaul, which is expected to cost New York an extra $1 billion a year, and for opposing the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry.

“It was a mistake,” he said, noting that most Wall Street firms had already paid back the money. “How can you be against ensuring that the lifeblood of your city and of your state survives?”

He is going to run against Gillibrand, in a Democratic primary, by attacking her for supporting Obama’s health care plan and for being tough on Wall Street? He is going to run a pro-Wall Street campaign in a Democratic primary? (Sorry to repeat, but it is so crazy from every angle!)

And he’s going to attack her for being too close to Senator Schumer, who is wildly popular with New York Democrats? This is a “process” argument, and those always fall flat even when they are more on target than this one (e.g., term limits and Bloomberg), and it’s the basis of his “working slogan”:

Offering a glimpse into a possible campaign strategy, Mr. Ford and his aides said he would run as an insurgent who is uncontrolled by the entrenched political class that he says has rallied around Ms. Gillibrand. His tentative slogan: “Harold Ford: nobody’s man but ours.”

And “our man,” this “insurgent,” is (wait for it…) a recent transplant from Tennessee who formerly ran the Democratic Leadership Council — whose corporate-funded mission is to pull the Democratic Party more toward the right — and who is now a Wall Street executive? Lulz! The rest of the article is full of mockery for Ford’s elite lifestyle:

Mr. Ford, 39, expressed enthusiasm about his new hometown, though he described a life quite different than most New Yorkers. On many days, he is driven to an NBC television studio in a chauffeured car. He and his wife, Emily, a 29-year-old fashion executive, live a few blocks from the Lexington Avenue subway line in the Flatiron district. But Mr. Ford said he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab.

Asked whether he had visited all five boroughs, he mentioned taking a helicopter ride across the city with fellow executives, at the invitation of Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner. “The only place I have not spent considerable time is Staten Island,” he said, adding that “I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.”…

Asked about his own experience with guns, he said he was an occasional bird hunter. “I shoot at things that can’t shoot back,” he said with a smile, “and will continue to do that.”

Gotta hand it to the Times. They know how to take someone out.

If Ford runs, there is a real opportunity for a genuine NYC liberal to run and beat both of them as they split the moderate vote.

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