Election Watch 2008

Focusing On The 2008 Presidential Campaign

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ford For Senate 2006...And Beyond?

The moderate Democrat plans to quickly jump in when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) officially announces his resignation, he told FOX News. Republicans often insist that no Democrat can win statewide office in the South, but Harold Ford's supporters say that it won't deter the congressman. “If you have the ability to deliver a message crisply and effectively and you can relate to voters, you can transcend a whole lot of racial and political boundaries,” said Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.).

Unlike many ultra liberal members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Ford Jr. has “positioned himself as a centrist,” Rep. Davis, a moderate-liberal Democrat, added. “I think it will enable him to break out of the pack that black Democrats are pushed to in the South.”Other observers wonder whether Rep. Ford, Jr. should expect some resistance from his left flank. Ron Walters, director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, said he and other black liberal Democrats are concerned with some of Rep. Ford’s policy positions.

Ford has been carving out a profile as a Blue Dog Democrat and hoping that would be sufficient, to allow him to be competitive. Because of that, some have considered him to be too conservative, but in fact it postions him well for the future. Ford, Jr. has voted with conservatives on issues such as banning partial-birth abortion, and voting for school prayer, the war in Iraq, and cuts in the capital gains tax. However, he supports affirmative action, banning oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and opposed President Bush’s tax cuts.

Ford has positioned himself well in the center muchin the style of former President Clinton. I do not believe there is any question he could win the Senate seat in Tennessee, and I further believe he could be a legitimate Presidential candidate in the future. At 34 he is too young an inexperienced to run in 2008 or even 2012, though he could be a good VP candidate in 2012.

In any event, I have been impressed with Congressman Ford, so his future bears watching.