Junior Stays Out, Saves His CareerThe Tennessean breaks the news that many political observers in our State (including myself) already suspected-that Harold Ford Jr. will not seek the Democratic nomination for Governor next year:
Ford issued a statement Monday confirming that he would not seek to succeed Gov. Phil Bredesen when his second term ends.
As one of the few Democrats with statewide name recognition, Ford would have been the front-runner for his party's nomination had he entered, political observers said. His decision not to run raises the chances for the handful of state lawmakers and other party activists who are weighing a bid for the office.
Ford did not say why he decided not to run, but his decision comes less than a year after he married Emily Threlkeld, a business development manager for a New York fashion designer. The marriage and a part-time position as senior policy adviser to Merrill Lynch have left him splitting time between New York and Tennessee.
Despite The Tennessean's completely irrelevant drivel about Junior just having gotten married and splitting time between New York and Memphis, that isn't the real reason why Harold Ford, Jr. isn't going to run for Governor. It should be remembered that Harold Jr. is one of the few public members of his family who has not been arrested, indicted, accused of vote fraud, or who has an alcohol abuse problem which impairs the ability to govern effectively. He is far "cleaner" than the other Fords (including his own father), and is well-thought of by a great many political people in Tennessee, including not a few Republicans. He is the closest thing to a winner the Democrats could possibly get for next year, and in any normal year it would not be considered a stretch to say that Harold Ford Jr. could pull off an upset.
Harold Ford Jr. also has a fine sense of political acumen, however, which comes from actually using the brain God gave him. He will not say so publicly, since he will play the good Democrat, but Junior knows that the President's economic policies may very well leave the country in a terrible state of affairs by November 2010. Left unchecked, the "stimulus" could send the economy into a serious inflationary cycle, and even though things may have already bottomed out, unemployment will be very high. Nationally, the Republicans will almost certainly gain Congressional seats next year-the only question will be how many. Within Tennessee, Democrats stand to get hammered-leaving a level of Republican power in Nashville never before seen in our State's history. He won't say it, but Harold knows all of this to be true.
It is precisely because Harold Ford, Jr. intends to seek Statewide office again in the future that he will not do so next year. He is not running so that he may save his political career from the 2010 Tennessee Democratic Campaign of Doom. The Democrat that gets defeated in the autumn of 2010 for Governor may very likely have completed their last campaign for public office, largely due to the scale of the whipping they will take at the polls and that Democrats in the General Assembly may take on the ticket with them (unless they are lucky enough to hold an office not up for election next year that they would not have to resign from to run).
Junior, meanwhile, doesn't run and enjoys a few more years in private life while his good reputation continues in the minds of the public. When he then does decide to make another run at Statewide office, he will be very hard to defeat-and he knows that, too.