The New Ford Model


Having relocated to New York City, former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford is contemplating a run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whom Gov. David Paterson appointed to replace Hillary Clinton, in the Democratic primary this September. Moving north was the first step; moving left is the second:

Mr. Ford has repeatedly described himself as "pro-life," and has voted to ban a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortions and to require that minors receive parental consent before receiving an abortion.

In the interview, however, he said: "To describe me as pro-life is just wrong. I am personally pro-choice and legislatively pro-choice."

Ford likewise has abandoned his opposition to same-sex marriage, softened his support for gun rights, and rethought his enthusiasm for having local police enforce immigration law. He also has changed his mind about the merits of Kirsten Gillibrand, a former U.S. representative to whom he donated $1,000 last year. Ford, who took a job with Merrill Lynch when he moved to New York, faults Gillibrand for opposing the financial industry bailout and for supporting the health care overhaul, which he says is a bad deal for the state.

To anyone who thinks political positions should be based on consistently applied principles, Ford's new set of views is just as puzzling as his old set, but it's a locally favored brand of incoherence. Even more troubling than his ideological opportunism is this admission:

Ford said that he had missed politics since leaving Congress four years ago.