Monday, October 23, 2006


The Memphis Meltdown

It's fitting that Harold Ford, Jr.'s campaign ended in the place that it began - Memphis.

In a political move that can only be described as bizarre, Harold Ford, Jr. thought it acceptable to confront Bob Corker in a parking lot before Corker was scheduled to give a press conference on - you guessed it - ethics.

Above is the edited broadcast version of events. However, I recommend the unedited version, which can be found here. The raw feed shows that Ford just isn't ready for the upper chamber of Congress. Senators are supposed to be our statesmen, our most tempered and tested politicians who represent our interests in a body where they comprise 1% of the vote and not the 1/435 of the vote that a House Member constitutes.

Harold Ford just showed that, although he appears the statesman in his ads, he only plays one on TV. In real life, he's the immature, slick, arrogant smart aleck that the GOP has been saying that he is. And in this case, the strongest proof comes from the candidate himself.

Reaction from the Blogosphere has been swift:

Volunteer Voters: Corker's aim here was not only to expose the political "machine" but to show that Harold is just like the rest of his family. This video does that... Even standing several inches above him, Harold Ford comes across the smaller man... Corker had previously been seen as running a bit scared -- afraid to stand toe-to-toe with Ford. But today he walked right up to Ford looked him in the eye and said his peace about the inappropriateness of his being there... Ford miscalculated badly here. Again, he got a bit too brash. He got caught being childish and Corker, surprisingly, walked right up and pulled his punk card and put it right in his face.

Tennessee Talk: In all my life, in observing politicians, I have never observed anything as unprofessional and completely stupid as this. I question whether he has a staff helping him out anymore and whether they are advising him anymore. If so, they are doing Ford a complete disservice.

Real Clear Politics: Ford, who has run a very strong campaign to date, appears to have made his first serious mistake with an ill-advised attempt to crash a Bob Corker press conference Friday in Memphis. You can watch the WMC Memphis TV coverage of this here (Harold Ford Junior Crashes Corker Presser.) Corker appears to get the best of this confrontation and this is the kind of thing that can make a difference in a race as close as this one. Ford's bid in the InTrade market has fallen below 40 for the first time in quite a while.

Hugh Hewitt: (Under the headline: The Incredible, Shrinking Harold Ford) This stunt and the video aftermath (watch the second clip which is the raw footage of Ford recognizing he just shot both feet off) screams arrogant, privileged, spoiled kid with a very developed sense of entitlement and an underdeveloped sense of propriety. I can't imagine that's going to play well in the south. Or the north, for that matter. Mostly it makes you think "jerk."

Instapundit: Ford's behavior here seems odd and out of character - the sort of thing that a candidate who's way behind and desperate for press might pull, not one who's in striking distance of a win. It's the first time I've seen Corker looking significantly more confident and comfortable than Ford. I don't get it.

For more Blogosphere comment, head over to Blogging for Corker, where Jay Bush has put together a great link field. Incidentally, Jay believes Ford's absurd actions to be his version of the Harold Dean scream. I agree, if it can be assumed that the mainstream media gives this episode the attention it deserves and doesn't fall into the slumber it has been in since the August primary.

Then again, it is worth noting that some in the mainstream media are amazed at Ford's gaffe:

Jackson Baker: On TV, however, Corker's resolute and terse termination of the encounter was the sort of image that may grow larger in the collective memory of the event. He had, besides, protocol on his side, and an air of maturity more in keeping with the public notion of what a senator is.

Ford's campaign has attempted to spin their candidate's collosal blunder, but to no avail. Their only hope - in the face of rising poll numbers for Corker and the Republican's traditionally superior Get Out the Vote Program - is for the liberal media to kill these images of Ford looking the amateur to Corker's professional handling of a situation that he did not create.

Of course, with the Blogosphere, YouTube, and the rest of the Internet, the damage might already be done - just like Harold Ford.

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