Day By Day

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I saw this coming...

For the past several years Harold Ford Jr., of Tennessee has been touted as the bright young thing of Democratic politics. Young, intelligent, moderate, articulate, telegenic, and black, he had the makings of the next big thing. But he never seemed to take off. I thought maybe his reluctance to seek higher office and the scrutiny it would entail had something to do with his having inherited his father's political machine with all its baggage and obligations, but I could very well be wrong. For whatever reason Ford was content to remain in the House minority and never made his move.

That has changed. The Hill reports that Ford will announce his candidacy for the Senate seat that Bill Frist will vacate in 2006. Read about it here. The reasons seem obvious. Ford has dawdled too long in the House and the Democratic Party has turned its adoring gaze elsewhere, to Freshman Senator Barak Obama. The talk is all of a Hillary/Obama team in 2008. Nobody is talking about Ford anymore. Frist's announced retirement creates the opportunity for Ford to move over to the Senate, to generate a lot of buzz, and to widen the field of possibilities for his future career.

I hope it works. I like Ford. He and Obama represent a new kind of black leadership that emphasizes similarities among people rather than differences; that speaks to the whole nation, not just to urban black enclaves; that emphasizes achievement rather than dependency -- in short, the kind of black leadership the Democratic party desperately needs if it is going to remain competitive in the future. I wish him well.

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