The following tongue-in-cheek "open letter" is but the latest in a number of recent sallies posted by blogger Joshua Micah Marshall about the voting record and political intentions of 9th District U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. To link to Marshall's complete treatment of the Ford issue, CLICK HERE. (Or go to
Dear Congressman Ford,

Look, yes, I know this may seem like a sort of public way of communicating. But my tech guy has set this up so only your home computer can access this post. No one else can see it. It's set to your IP address. (I guess you've got a static IP address on your home hook-up?)

In any case, the consensus of the pols in your home state is that your angle on the Social Security privatization stuff is that you want to set yourself up for a Senate run in 2006 for Frist's seat. And this'll give you bipartisan cross-over cred with rural and conservative voters in the state that you need.

But look, if you're going to be cynical, at least do it effectively, right? This may have been a pretty bad decade-and-a-half for the Dems in Tennessee. But it isn't because Democrats support Social Security, believe me. Gay Marriage? Abortion? Guns? National Defense? Sure, probably all of them. But not excessive fealty to Social Security.

Think about it. Did Bush even get into Social Security during the campaign? Of course, not. Even Lieberman's gotten off that train. And half the people in Connecticut work on Wall Street. What do you got compared to that? Right, I didn't think so.If you're trying to angle your way into the Senate and set yourself apart from the national Democrats, do it on abortion or the gay rights stuff. Not that I'm recommending it. But if you're going to be cynical at least do it with an issue that's going to do you some good.

If you want to pull up a seat with the real power players, being cynical ain't enough. You've gotta be cynical and smart.

I was chatting with a friend of yours today. And he says he figures you're probably just not with it enough to realize that this isn't much of a way to appeal to Democrats-turned-Republicans in your state. But, dude, I've got your back. He may not be enough of a friend to tell you. But I am, whatever I may be saying about you in the public posts.

Like I said, gay marriage? Iraq? Even maybe the Oil-for-Food angle? (Coleman's too big a doofus ever to carry that ball anywhere.) Those are some issues with some mileage in them. And like I said, if you're going to be cynical, get some mileage out of it, right?

Picture this placard ...

Harold Ford: Man Enough to Know That a Man Shouldn't Marry a Man.

Right? Right? That's great stuff.

Or maybe, this ...

Harold Ford: Putting the 'Christ' back into Christmas.

Anyway, we can come up with various angles. But you get the idea. We'll talk soon. And lemme know if you have any ideas for the database.


-- Josh Marshall


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