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03/01/2010

Ford shifts into reverse

by Jeremy Hooper

6A00D8341C503453Ef0120A7Af081E970B-3Attention principled gays who are uncomfortable with politicians who claim they've always been pro-gay even though they voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment twice: You're not going to have Harold Ford Jr. to kick around anymore. At least not in the NY senate race:

Under intense pressure from Democratic Party officials, Harold E. Ford Jr., the former Tennessee congressman, has decided not to challenge Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the primary this fall, according to two people told of his plans.
Ford decides not to run [NYT]

So with that: We thank Harold Ford for his evolution on our issues, and we express our sincere hope that the newfound enlightenment sticks. If he someday proves his mettle, then we could possibly find affection in the future. He's got some strong qualities.

But when talking about things as seriously gut-punching as the FMA (among other sticking points), one's penance much come in considerable corrective action, and not the kind of lip service that he was hoping would win our NY hearts. For this race it was too little too late against someone who has become a fast friend.

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Your thoughts

Did you see that the hatemongerers in DC have filed papers with the Supreme Court to halt the DC marriage equality due to begin on Wednesday? They want the court to effectively force the issue to a referendum. I will not even venture a guess as to what Roberts, et al. will do...

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 1, 2010 9:24:10 PM

Before Ford runs again, he should also discover what Lawrence v. Texas is.

Posted by: Skeptical Cicada | Mar 1, 2010 10:08:34 PM

Good point, SC.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 1, 2010 10:29:25 PM

I'm wish I could say I could believe Harold Ford's change of heart was genuine but I can't. He wanted us for votes... and nothing more. Someone who votes for the hateful piece of legislature that he did twice isn't an ally. It's someone who simply wishes to use us and then toss us aside.

Posted by: Zach | Mar 1, 2010 11:14:17 PM

Unfortunately, his evil older brother Kane Ford has decided to run instead. http://bit.ly/bbkqob

Posted by: Mike | Mar 1, 2010 11:50:02 PM

While we always need to recognize when people change their minds to our advantage, we also need to recognize people who were with us when the going was rough. There is a spectrum here, folks. Those who fought against us even as we warned that history would not look kindly upon them should not get our support over folks who made themselves part of our history. The same holds true for Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Sure, I'm glad that people are coming on board for its repeal, but the country is squarely in favor of allowing LGBT people to serve openly. Where were you in '92 when it took courage to stand by us?

One more question: Would Mr. Ford have changed his mind on marriage if he were running for senator of Tennessee again?

Posted by: Ken | Mar 2, 2010 7:50:21 AM

"Would Mr. Ford have changed his mind on marriage if he were running for senator of Tennessee again?"

That was one of my big questions too, Ken. Or not even if he moves back to TN, just if the country swings hard right in the near future. We know that this evolution was motivated, at least in part, by political opportunism -- would it swing back if need be?

As stated in the post: He has to prove his mettle, and it's going to take actual work. Although I was an early and vocal critic of his presumed entrance into this race, I'm not as willing as some to 100% write him off for the future. He very well might find himself in a place of power. When he does, I do want to ensure that he'll remain on our side. We need support, and I want to cultivate that where we can. If he's willing to roll up his sleeves and genuinely help us on issues, then I'll certainly be open to that.

One has to begin somewhere. If he's still with us in 2020 and has a body of work to back up the lip service, then that'll be a diff. story.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 2, 2010 8:40:52 AM

"Would Mr. Ford have changed his mind on marriage if he were running for senator of Tennessee again?"

Absolutely not. I think that we fall into the trap of assuming that because a politician takes a public stance on an issue (and, god forbid, goes on record as voting for something), that that means that they are voting their conscience. They are voting in the manner that plays well for a future election bid. The only time that I, personally, would ever feel confident that any politician is voting his/her conscience is when they vote in an unpopular fashion; when they vote for/against something fully knowing that it will not make them popular back home. And, unfortunately, I think that usually plays out to our detriment more than our benefit.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 2, 2010 12:51:52 PM

Dick: Just so we're all on the same page: I interpreted the question as being whether or not Ford would change *back* to anti-marriage equality. Judging by your "absolutely not," I'm guessing you interpreted it as "would he have changed from anti- to pro- if running in TN again?"

Works both ways -- just wanted to clarify.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 2, 2010 1:16:22 PM

Yea, I got that, but my point was more to the underlying mindset of the politician. Most of the time, political expedience is the overriding concern for any politician, and I think that Ford probably is a relatively neutral person at heart (perhaps even leaning more toward a fair and equitable position). And, even that the number of politicians who, under any other circumstances, would be our staunch supporters, are not simply because it isn't good for their political career. And, while we are regularly targeted by the raging homo-sadistic politicians (even if they garner no benefit from it), it would be very heart warming to be embraced more by friendly politicians who don't stand to lose much by more publicly supporting us.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 2, 2010 1:53:04 PM

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