Chait on Ford


Good lead:

“Southern voters are interested in solutions,” said Harold Ford Jr. in 2003. “They can spot a fake.” Perhaps this explains Ford’s subsequent decision to decamp from the South in search of a more gullible electorate.

Well put.

The larger point of the column is about Ford’s somewhat odd efforts to position himself as a champion of Wall Street interests. In the New York context, though, this isn’t 100 percent bizarre. Wall Street is, after all, the hometown business so it’s at least a little bit like how Michigan politicians champion the car industry or Delaware and South Dakota politicians champion credit card companies. The truly bizarre friends of Wall Street are the guys like John Boehner of Ohio who’ve been showering the banksters with policy love and in turn have been reaping the big bucks. What’s particularly egregious here is that Ford is at least forthrightly the friend of the bankers. Conservative politicians, by contrast, are trying to pretend that they’re somehow tougher on Wall Street even while they follow Wall Street’s lead on legislation and soak up Wall Street contributions in return.