Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Junior's at it again!
In case you haven't heard, former Tennessee Congressman/defeated U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr., aka Junior, has taken a leave of absence from his high-paying gig at Bank of America-slash-Merrill Lynch to decide whether he wants to mount a primary challenge 'gainst New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Over the weekend, I heard a Democrat talking head say on Fox News that Junior might face trouble in New York because he was "very conservative" when he was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. The "Ford's a conservative" meme seems to be picking up speed as Junior inches closer to making his second run at the U.S. Senate; hell, the folks at The Nation are damn-near apoplectic at the thought of Senator Junior (D-NY). But how conservative is Junior, really?
In the heat of Tennessee's '06 U.S. Senate election, I took a hard look at Junior's supposed "conservatism," and here's what I came up with:
As the 2006 U.S. Senate race heats up, Harold Ford the Second, aka Junior, is going to perform a political cross-dressing routine the likes of which voters in this state have never seen.
Junior fancies himself a conservative - or, at the very least, a solid moderate - Democrat, and his amen corner is busy spreading palm leaves touting him as such. Last Sunday, the Tennessean's Larry Daughtrey mentioned Junior's "right of center" voting record. Daughtrey's comment comes fast on the heals of a statement released by Junior Spokeswoman Carol Andrews in which she not only calls her boss a "conservative Democrat," she says Republicans by God "know" he's a conservative, too.
The views of Junior's sycophants notwithstanding, Junior is not a conservative. Oh, sure, he's been talking like a conservative for the past year or so; however, a quick glance at his voting record and financial statements shows that the individuals who're cheerleading for Junior the Conservative are simply propagating a rather pernicious myth. To wit:
The members of the Club for Growth are a decidedly conservative lot who lend financial support to pro-growth candidates for state and federal offices. The Club for Growth's "policy goals" include the following:
Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
Death tax repeal
Cutting and limiting government spending
Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts
Expanding free trade
Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
Replacing the current tax code
Regulatory reform and deregulation
The Club for Growth's most recent congressional rating gives Junior a lifetime score of 5 out of a possible 100. (Even left-wing nut-jobs like Jim "Baghdad" McDermott, Henry Waxman, and Cynthia McKinney fared better on their Club for Growth scorecards.)
Since 1971, the American Conservative Union's congressional rankings have been listed in all major political almanacs and reference guides. The ACU does a pretty good job of identifying who is and who ain't - and who's almost - a conservative. Junior's lifetime ACU score rests at 19. By comparison, Tennessee Congressman Lincoln Davis, another self-proclaimed conservative Democrat, has a lifetime 62 ACU score.
Finally, the National Journal, tagged recently by Newsday columnist James Pinkerton as a "prestigious and soberly low-key weekly," ranks Junior the eighth most liberal member of Tennessee's 9-man delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Add to Junior's bad 'port cards the fact that he's taken money from Hollywood lefties Larry David, Rob Reiner and Norman Lear, and it's hard to make a convincing argument that Junior is indeed a conservative.
You know, Junior might fancy smoking cigars, and he might've filmed some campaign commericials in churches, but he ain't no damned conservative ... and anyone who says otherwise is a damned fool.