Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Playbook

As most know by now, Harold Ford Sr. and A.C. Wharton both opened their wallets for Julian Bolton in the TN 9th District Congressional race.

What very few are talking about is what this actually means.

Nikki Tinker has been playing up the “I worked for Ford Jr.” angle in an attempt to make herself look like the heir apparent. Ford Jr. hasn’t had a close race since getting elected. Particularly not last time, when the GOP ran current Democratic contender Ruben Fort in the hopes that nearsighted old ladies would accidentally pick the wrong name.

So presumably, if Nikki Tinker was in as tight with the Ford family as she seems to want us to believe, then she should have no problem pulling off an endorsement, right?

So… Where is it? Where’s the check? I just ran a search on Open Secrets, and no one named Harold Ford has given any money to Nikki Tinker.

What gives?

If not for yesterday, I would have guessed that they wanted to stay out of it. The only Ford running in this primary doesn’t need the money--- MySpace doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

There’s a larger consequence to Ford Sr. giving money to Julian Bolton--- And it’s not unintentional.

With his tacit endorsement of Julian Bolton, Harold Ford Sr. is running something of a misdirection play.

He doesn’t want to come out in favor of Cohen. But he’s done the next best thing.

It could hurt his standing in the black community if he picks the one white/ Jewish candidate when there are a dozen black candidates to choose from.

Does he throw his support behind the one contender out of that field that actually has a little momentum? No. In fact, by writing that check to Bolton, he threw a roadblock in front of her. Now, Bolton is the one with the upward momentum.

Ford Sr.’s name is still treated with enough reverence around here to make sure that Bolton is going to pick up five or six points out of this. If Tinker is lucky, she’ll hold steady at 17%. But I suspect that some of those voters shifting Bolton’s way will be coming out of her pocket.

Harold Ford Sr. is a very intelligent man. He does nothing by accident. His motives aren’t always obvious, but they’re always there.

He’s done exactly what he wanted to do. He’s handed this election to Steve Cohen.

Is it conjecture? Sure. But try and explain it some other way.


Wintermute said...

Definitely rich food for thought.

autoegocrat said...

I think the explanation may be simpler.

Does Ford owe Bolton any favors? Bolton made the trip to Florida to ask for the money. It doesn't matter whether you're a Ford or a Smith, you're more likely to give money to someone who asks in person.

I have trouble thinking of this as a misdirection play unless Ford knew for sure that someone would notice and print it. There is a small circle of people who are guaranteed to notice that contribution, and there is no guarantee to Ford that someone like Jackson would notice it and print it.

To put this in perspective, let's remember that the only place this story appears is on the Flyer's website and on the blogs. It has so far appeared nowhere in print.

There's also the fact that A.C. Wharton also gave money to Bolton's campaign. Bolton just wants to win, and he doesn't give a damn if he splits the black vote. He's just going around shaking the tree, and he's going to start with his friends.

This is a significant development, but considering how long Julian Bolton has been around, it's hard for me to think of this as anything other than what it appears to be.

Wintermute said...

Yay for the new template!

Freedonian said...


You may well be right. But I don't believe Ford Sr. would do anything without thinking of the circumstances.

The campaign limit in this race is low enough that no candidate is going to go to Florida unless they're assured of the maximum donation. This trip wasn't made with Bolton's hat in his hand. Had the donation been lower, he could have ended up upside down on the trip. He wasn't going to take that kind of chance.

I suspect that they expected more press out of it. That part's surprised me, frankly.

Thanks, Wintermute.

autoegocrat said...

If you're right, then Ford's plan was foiled by the sloppy negligence of our daily paper.

Maybe the CA isn't so bad after all...

Freedonian said...

Believe me, my friend... I will have said a few things about the CA by the end of the night. I'm racing a fast-approaching deadline with something else I'm writing, so I'm trying not to get distracted.

See how well it's working?