I’m no political consultant, but whoever it was in the Romney campaign that thought it was a bright idea to highlight Harold Ford‘s defense of private equity doesn’t understand why Romney’s time at Bain is a liability in the first place:
The ad amusingly refers to Ford as a “Democrat from Tennessee,” which I suppose is as accurate as describing Mitt Romney as being from Michigan. It was true at one point, but it hasn’t been true in a long time. Ever since leaving Congress, Ford has made himself over into a reliable Democratic spokesman for the interests of the financial services industry, and he briefly flirted with entering New York politics before he realized that it was a hopeless cause. The brief, ill-fated speculation about Ford launching a primary challenge against Gillibrand was driven almost entirely by the support of wealthy backers dissatisfied with Gillibrand. As Beinart once described the would-be Ford primary challenge:
He knows nothing about New York. What he knows about is the American overclass, a large chunk of which happens to reside in the Empire State. His campaign is the brainchild, in large measure, of rich donors who went searching for someone to run against interim Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. His economic agenda consists of defending Washington’s bailout of Wall Street, proposing a large corporate tax cut, and opposing caps on executive pay.
If I were working on the Romney campaign, this is one of the last people in the country I would want to use in an ad defending the Republican nominee against criticisms on his business record. How better to confirm that Romney is an unapologetic corporatist than to make people believe that Harold Ford is one of his defenders?