Also at The Albany Project
The NYC media campaign to encourage Harold Ford to primary Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this year began with a New York Times puff piece yesterday, and continued today with another NYT puff piece and pro-Ford editorials in the Daily News and Post.
It is ever more evident that NYC press lords Pinch Sulzberger, Mortimer Zuckerman and Rupert Murdoch, Mayor Bloomberg, and a handful of their rich friends, are still pissed that Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in place of one of their fellow Upper East Side multi-millionaires.
Bandwagon details, below.
The NYT puff piece "analyzes" how Ford's cable-TV punditry has made him a credible candidate for a carpetbagger.
Mr. Ford, 39, has introduced himself to New Yorkers as a self-assured, nattily dressed political insider on Fox, NBC and MSNBC.
Over the past two years, he become a regular on shows like "Morning Joe" and "Meet the Press," pontificating on everything from death panels to Barack Obama’s popularity.
Mr. Ford’s supporters, many of whom have criticized Ms. Gillibrand as undistinguished, said that they were drawn to his charisma and conviction, not a handful of votes on hot-button issues.
The puff piece does mention some problems for Ford, aside from his Tennessee-conservative voting and punditry record, that his UES friends have also chosen to look past -- he's been in NYC for three years, and has not yet voted there; does not have a NY driver's license; and, according to a Brooklyn Assemblyman, presumably does not know "the difference between Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brookhaven and Buffalo."
Just as Pinch commissioned the two puff pieces as "news," Zuckerman and Murdoch commissioned editorials designed to promote Ford.
Zuckerman's stenographer believes that a Ford primary challenge would be "plenty spicy":
In his decade in Congress, Ford earned a reputation as a fiscal conservative, small-business champion and foreign policy hawk. He speaks candidly about the Obama administration - backing or bucking the President on any given issue.
Last year, when just about every other Democrat was piling on the Bush administration, he supported certain enhanced interrogations of terrorist suspects. He backed the federal economic bailout, which Gillibrand twice opposed. He urged President Obama to pass a fiscally responsible health care reform plan. He has called for aggressive, accountability-based school reform - openly challenging the teachers unions.
In short, despite New York roots of only three years' duration, Ford has a record on which to run, as well as the charisma to hit the trail.
Ford's record, and his charisma, are in the eye of the beholder, and most Democrats have a different point of view on that than Manhattan multi-millionaires.
The Post's take is, naturally, nastier, calling on Bloomberg to "punish" Gillibrand with Ford:
Ford, who moved to New York after a failed run for Senate in 2006 and is said to be weighing a run, is untested in Empire State politics -- but he's not likely to do worse than Gillibrand, who's spent her short tenure as little more than Chuck Schumer's yes-man.
If (Bloomberg)'s willing to inflict a little pain on a person whose slavish deference to Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stands to hurt New York a lot -- well, good for him.
Murdoch and Bloomberg blame Gillibrand for her "meek acquiescence to the Senate health-care bill -- which, in its present form, would cost New York upwards of a billion dollars."
But, oddly, the billionaires do not blame Schumer, who had much more to do with the Senate health bill than any freshman appointed Senator, Gillibrand included.
The NYC papers have been biased against Gillibrand since her appointment, so this really has nothing to do with her Senate record.
It's been all about attacking the usurper.