Newsflash: Democrats in New York Overwhelmingly Pro-Choice

Harold Ford, Jr., the handsome young scion of a prominent Tennessee political family, once seemed to have promising political future. He was a moderate New Democrat congressman, hawkish on the budget deficit and foreign policy, not unlike another child of a Tennessee Democratic dynasty 20 years before who went on to big things: Al Gore Jr. In a banner year for Democrats, 2006, Ford made his move for an open Senate seat against a dreary Republican, Bob Corker, and, ran on as conservative a platform as any Democrat in the country, especially on social issues. (Tennessee voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage in 2006).

A recipe for success? Alas, there is one crucial difference between Ford and Gore: Ford is black. The Republican National Committee ran an ad playing off of Ford's reputation as a playboy, with a white woman inviting Ford to call her. Lee Atwater would have been proud, although Corker was not. Nonetheless, Corker edged out Ford in a year that would have presented Ford's best chance to attain statewide office.

So Ford decamped to New York and now he is making noises about challenging Hillary Clinton's appointed replacement Kirsten Gillibrand in the 2010 Senatorial Democratic primary. What makes Ford think that having ardently opposed abortion rights and gay marriage, in addition to supporting the Iraq invasion and amassing a generally conservative voting record in Congress, will make an appealing candidate in a Democratic primary in one of the bluest states in the union is a mystery. If anything, Gillibrand has more to fear from the party's left flank, as her relatively conservative profile for a New York Dem displeased Upper West Side liberals when Gov. David Paterson appointed her.

Even though Ford actually throwing his hat in the ring is unlikely, NARAL ProChoiceNY isn't taking any chances. Witness this video they just put out where Ford proudly proclaims his anti-abortion rights credentials.

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Most damning: he actually attempts to outflank Republicans from the right on abortion, demanding to know why they didn't introduce legislation in Congress to outlaw abortion. (Hint to Ford: it might have something to do with Roe v. Wade, making such a law clearly unconstitutional). The sad thing is that, like so many Democrats from moderate states and districts, one suspects that Ford may actually not be all that conservative. Democrats throughout the South and in rural districts take positions on gun control, gay rights, and abortion that you suspect they don't really believe. Maybe Ford should have just moved to New York a lot earlier, but now he's caught between a state that will probably never elect a black Democrat and a state that won't elect an anti-abortion Democrat.

But he is telegenic—with his moderate politics he'd be perfect as Fox News's token Democrat, like a reverse Joe Scarborough.

Newsflash: Democrats in New York Overwhelmingly Pro-Choice | News