Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast has a great story on The New York Times interview with Harold Ford Jr. and his potential run for U.S. Senate in Tennessee New York. Some gems from the The Daily Beast’s take on the interview:
Turns out Ford was always a New Yorker at heart. New York City, he explained, is one “of really two cities [the other being Palo Alto] in the country where the outlook is always forward-looking.” (Evidently, Memphis—the city where Ford was born and raised and which he represented in Congress—is already being thrown under the bus.)
By this point, one assumes, Ford’s flak is lying dead on the floor, having impaled himself with his BlackBerry. How else to explain what happens next? “Jets or Giants?” asks The Times reporter innocuously. To which Ford begins, “I had breakfast about every morning when I am in town or should I say, several mornings, at the Regency.” (Note to aspiring politicians: When trying to establish one’s local credentials, don’t say you have breakfast in the state “when I am in town.” And when trying to establish one’s populist credentials, don’t say you eat breakfast every morning at an ultra-luxury hotel.) Ford, it turns out, favors the Giants. Because he thinks Mark Sanchez will never be able to read defenses as well as Eli Manning? No, because Giants owner “Steve Tisch is my close personal friend,” while he just met Jets owner Woody Johnson “for the first time.”
Beinart highlights why Ford running in New York, following in Hillary Clinton and many other aspiring politicians footsteps, is an affront to the representative political system the Founders envisioned. Beinart states:
All good for a laugh, except when you realize that the framers of the Constitution worried about exactly this sort of thing. “If residence be not required [for members of Congress],” declared George Mason in 1787, “Rich men of neighbouring States, may…get into the public Councils after having failed in their own State. This is the practice in the boroughs of England.”
This illustrates my opinion on American politics in general, that the system has become overwhelmed by career politicians, essentially no better than snake oil salesmen, who in their decadence, encourage the spread of radical thought, need I point to the tragedy that was the French Revolution. Though I worry about the “kick the bums out” philosophy (the de Maistre in me speaks to this), we must still strive to recognize the flaws in our government that allow even good leaders to become corrupted. America needs statesmen not wealthy aristocrats from a few families constantly shifting positions to maintain power. Pericles, from the standpoint of Thucydides, shows us the dangers of such individuals. With statesmen you get honest debate, intelligent thought, and the best government has to offer (which still is not always that great). With careerists you get unnecessary wars, reckless fiscal policy, and empty promises.