DEAR DAVID BANDER...
I admire the fact that Harold Ford, Jr. has many supporters, however sincere they may be. But there is one blogger in particular, named David Bander, and it is to him, I'm devoting my blog entry today.
Mr. Bander really wants to know why I have the opinions of Mr. Ford that I have. Well, really, it's based on watching him elevate himself on a National Scale and advertising himself as a new modern Leader of African-Americans, while he tries to distance himself from those whom he seeks to lead. I started to post the rest of this in the comments section, but why deny those of you passing by the fun of reading my response?
Dear Mr. Bander:
So, you figured it out. I have two screen names which accurately reflect my beliefs, my passions and my personality. I just happen to like them both, and I didn't want to be boxed in, though I am in a way, huh? LOL
I knocked your man around because he's so prone to taking opportunities to prove us wrong, and pissing them away, in order to further ingratiate himself with people like Don Imus. And yes, I wrote my blog based on that mush he posted at Arianna Huffington's blog where he basically said nothing in response to the howling coming from the likes of Kate O'Beirne, Hannity and everyone who cried "foul" because Rev. Joseph Lowery and Jimmy Carter told the truth and said what Coretta Scott King would have wanted them to say in her eulogy.
Please don't ask me what I would do if I were Harold Ford. The only thing I can say is that (1)there is nothing on earth that I want that would make me sell out my family members;(2)prostitute myself to the highest bidder; (3)or create a voting record that runs counter to what I say I represent in terms of beliefs, values and/or morals, or the needs of my constituency. As I mentioned, I am a Political Scientist in training, and I have learned that when you have determined your demographical base in campaigning for elected office, more often than not, you do have to tailor your campaign to attract the majority of voters needed to win. This means that you craft your campaign and your platform based on what you know people want in their elected official, and based on the issues directly affecting them, be they economic, social justice, environment, education, healthcare. These are very basic needs of the average voter; from the shores of Los Angeles to the most rural parts of Appalachia. Most voters, if asked, would prefer to see a candidate that remains true to who they are as a human being, because who they are as a human being, and their character is in large part, who will be representative of individuals like you and me. Because I'm not familiar with Tennessee, I'm not going to say that Harold Ford can't get elected to the U. S. Senate because of his race or his family's foibles.
Most people want a candidate that will usher in fiscal responsibility, tax breaks for those who can use them, and balanced governmental involvement, while maintaining a concern for, and facilitating programs that assist those who are in need. We also want an individual who respects the Constitution and the 200+ year governance found in the system of Checks and Balances. We want an individual that speaks to us plainly and not throw $10 dollar words at us to make themselves sound important when they have actually said nothing.
We want a candidate who at least has enough contact with everyday individuals through local events and Town Hall meetings, that he knows the issues facing his district, like infant mortality or rampant poverty. He or she is ready to talk to you when you approach them to discuss these concerns, and they don't blow you off because you didn't make a monetary contribution to their campaign. You should leave with the feeling that your elected official heard you and your concerns, and vows to do something about them. The next election takes care of itself, as long as the elected official is doing what he/she was sent to public office to do. As long as your candidate was slumming in the House of Representatives, only Memphians were affected by his performance as a lawmaker. Because he is seeking higher office that would afford him opportunities to cast votes that may directly impact me as an American citizen, I have to raise my voice in protest. When I think about how the recent Supreme Court nominee, Sam Alito, could have been stopped in committee if 19 Democrats had joined with the other 25 in voting against Cloture, the Alito nomination would have failed. Or if another incompetent like Michael Brown gets a Cabinet post because of his alliance with the President and not because he's qualified. Because Harold Ford is asking for that degree of higher responsibility, when he has yet to demonstrate his competence as a Member of the House of Representatives, I will not be silenced about his political positions, his voting record or his affiliations, and that includes sucking up to Nationally known racists like Don Imus.
He's jetting around the country asking people to give him money for his Senate campaign. You wouldn't believe the emails I've gotten from Chicago, New York, DC, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles(he got busted in San Francisco, and I guess Oakland was too "ghetto" for him to mess with their ATM)from people who either read my posts here or over at the Pesky Fly, or my work with CBC Monitor, from people who are fed up and wonder why should they give their hard earned and rapidly dwindling money to a Congressman from Tennessee? What benefit will be returned to them if Harold Ford wins that Senate seat? Will he further protect the interests of Corporate America, while American citizen join the ranks of the unemployed and uninsured as a result of his looking after Corporate interests, rather than the people who vote for him?
That could be a conservative or a progressive; take your pick. What many people won't vote for is an individual whose naked and blind ambition is front and center for everyone to see, and holding office is only a means to a very personal end that has no consideration for the people who elect him. They won't vote for an individual who could care less for the underdog, and only wants public office because he doesn't want to punch a clock on a 9-to-5 basis, as if that's a humiliating position to be in.
Seems like every elected official is worrying about "pandering to their base" but fail to discover what their "base" really wants, unless their "base" are the lobbying interests groups and K Street Citizens who pay for play. People like you and I get left behind in that scenario and it's the reason why all of Congress collectively has a 25% approval rating. That means 75% of Americans do not approve of Congress' performance at this date. The President has been holding steady...at 40% approval or less. And this is whom Harold Ford wants to emulate, when, according to my blogging pals in Memphis, 60% of Tennesseeans are pissed off at the loss of healthcare, jobs, and trying to comply with the requirements of No Child Left Behind; requirements that facilitate the ushering in of school vouchers and closing of public schools on a mass scale.
Let me share an example with you and hopefully you'll understand my positions here.
My representative is Barbara Lee. The demographics she represents consists of 30% African-Americans, so we're not the majority of her constituents. Sixty percent of the constituents she represents are Whites, Asians and Latinos, with better than 40% of that mix being Whites. So, if what you're saying is correct, the voters Mr. Ford is trying to reach roughly matches Ms. Lee's constituency.
Yet, Ms. Lee's voting record is so progressive, she co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. But based on your theory, Ms. Lee should continue to get re-elected to her House Seat because she needs to "pander to her base". If that were the case, when everyone in this country was crying for War, she was the only Congressmember who resisted giving George Bush carte blanche for war authorization back after 9/11. But, before she did that, she didn't sit in DC and take the pulse of a media poll to decide what she was going to do.
She caught the first plane smoking back to Oakland, called a Town Hall meeting and told us, her constituents, what she was going to do. She explained that she was in favor of voting for war appropriations if they were going to be limited to going after Osama bin Laden- in retaliation for 9/11. What she didn't want to vote for was to give George Bush unlimited authority to wage war whenever he wanted. We told her to go back to Congress and speak for us. Mind you, this was coming during an election year.
She should have lost her seat, right? We re-elected her with 82% of the vote. Because we said, "Barbara Lee Speaks for Me!" loud enough to send those dogs Tom DeLay and crew dispatched to Oakland to unseat her, packing. Has Harold Ford shown this degree of courage that Ms. Lee did? Not if you're going by his voting record.
Or take Cynthia McKinney. Because she actually had the audacity to ask if Bush deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen so he could have an excuse to bomb Iraq. She lost her seat over that one to Denise Majette. But Atlanta voters were not fooled, and Ms. McKinney returned to Congress with 65% of the vote, because she was proven to be more credible than the President. Would Harold Ford have shown the same degree of courage and moral commitment to vote based on what defines his character as a human being?
Because, if I were Harold Ford, my voting record would reflect the needs and concerns of the constituency I represented in Memphis and Shelby County. Your state has the highest rates of poverty, infant mortality, and highest rates of bankruptcy filings in the country, but Harold's not on the floor of the House screaming about that. He'd rather swindle people out of their Social Security retirement checks and tell them he's doing it for their own good. He's telling you he voted for the Bankruptcy bill because it will be for the good of those who will have no other way out of debt, except to be thrown in debtor's prison, because your wife got sick with breast cancer and all your savings had to go pay what wasn't covered under TennCare, before it was eliminated.
If you wish to send your child to public school, Harold Ford will be waiting at the schoolhouse door with vouchers in his hands, and you still won't be able to afford to send your child to private school, or support your household, on Wal-Mart Salary. His voting record favors Wal-Mart, and it's no suprise that Wal-Mart is one of his biggest donors. And if Wal-Mart hires you, Ford will take credit for providing jobs to his district, labor record, lawsuits because of labor practices, and all.
You can only take that type of credit if you're bringing in Halliburton, or Kellogg, Brown and Root, where the average salary is $50,000 a year; not below poverty level, where you earn not enough to support a family, but too much to qualify for government assistance. And contrary to popular belief, African-Americans account for less than 20% nationally of governmental aid recipients. The rest live in your neck of the woods and accounts for much of the South. You can look it up in the Census tracts.
I haven't begun to touch the surface of your question regarding why I rip Harold Ford for his political positions as I do; has he determined how many people in the state of Tennessee actually listens to Don Imus? Cause if that's the case, that would explain his appearances on Hannity & Colmes, Rush Limbaugh, and explains why his Memphis constituency has been snookered with his representation of them for the last ten years. Nationally, Howard Stern is still making Imus eat his dust. A person with the courage of his convictions can campaign on a viable, clear and concise political platform in a state like Tenneessee and win, because his honest character as a person is demonstrated, and his ensuing reputation facilitates the trust of people who vote for him to do what he believes is right for his district. Tell me where this applies to Rep. Harold Ford, and if I can't beat it upon further debate, I have to stand it (yes, I'm having a "Brokeback" moment here, LOL).
Thanks for visiting the blog and do come back soon. I would apologize for the comprehensiveness of my response, but you asked me about Harold Ford, and I want it clear that it's not him as a man, but his political positions, which aren't making a good argument for reasons to support his candidacy for that Senate seat.