The other night, we held a retirement party for Joe Lieberman. Genuine progressives all around the country celebrated the victory of genuine progressive principles over the right wing, accomodationist wing of the party. Joe Lieberman was the symbol of all of that. Whether it was the war, or any range of social issues, he earned the coveted Zell Miller Award for Excellence in "What the Hell Party Am I In?"
Here's the problem. He's not the worst offender. In fact, one of the worst is stinking up our own back yard.
The Drum Major Institute's most recent study of our Congressmen and whether or not they voted in the interests of middle class Americans was quite telling. Harold Ford got 38%. In case you need that score in perspective, let's put it this way: Joe Lieberman, the very symbol of treasonous Democrats, outscored him by 25%. When it came to voting for progressive values, Harold Ford finished in a dead heat with Mike DeWine, one of the most conservative people on Capitol Hill.
He doesn't represent black people any better. Harold Ford is consistently ranked dead last on the Congressional Black Caucus Report Card. His average score from them has been even lower than the Drum Major score--- He votes with the CBC a staggering 32.5% of the time. There are whites that vote the CBC position more often than he does.
When it comes to being progressive, Harold Ford could improve and still suck.
And then, of course, there's his high school dropout brother, Jake. I was looking at his website earlier, and one thought kept ringing through my mind over and over:
Who the hell does he think he's fooling?
Jake says he wants to end the occupation of Iraq. From his website: "I will work with the Congress and the Bush Administration to create a plan to bring our troops home soon from Iraq... The Bush Administration does not have a plan for withdrawal in Iraq and an open-ended war there is not what the American people need. "
Yet his brother refuses to even engage in any serious conversation about a way to end it (He might offend his new friends at Fox News).
Does this mean he's calling out his brother? That is what those who oppose the war do, is it not?
He'll not say a word against his brother on this issue. It might screw up Harold's chances of going to the Senate so he can continue backing this war just like he's done time and time again.
How about those Bush tax cuts, huh? You know the ones--- They cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans out there and readjusted the standards for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) so that the middle class is now targeted by a tax that was intended solely for the very richest people in America. Harold backed them and gave cover fire to the conservatives that voted for it. Where's his brother on this? Is Jake going to speak out against his brother to try and pick up this seat?
How about the Bankruptcy Reform Bill? For better or worse, the Ninth District is the bankruptcy capital of America. Harold's vote made sure that being bankrupt in America now means you're homeless in America, and that any household is one major illness from living in a car. Where is his brother on this? Jake's only professional experience is with the "Harold Ford Group", so he should probably be careful when answering that one, lest his brother's own legislative skills land him on the streets.
Jake Ford can't run on the issues in the current campaign. If he talks about the issues at all, it only reminds people of how absolutely worthless Harold has been on many of them. Probably not the smartest thing to do in an election year.
Harold Ford Sr. was great. Harold Ford Jr. was a bad sequel. And Jake Ford is a sequel that doesn't need to be made.