Congressman Harold Ford, running for the Senate in Tennessee, just received free publicity that most candidates can only dream about. With only a couple of weeks to go until the election, he made the cover of Newsweek.
"Not Your Daddy's Democrats" it says next to Mr. Ford's flattering photo, and the accompanying article strongly suggests that Harold Ford is at least a moderate and possibly even a conservative. Yes, the party of Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi has opened a huge tent and today's Democratic candidates - like Mr. Ford - are far from liberal. Or are they?
Once you get past the article's points about Harold Ford appealing to Christians and opposing gay marriage and partial-birth abortion, you learn: "According to Congressional Quarterly, Ford supported his party upwards of 85 percent of the time in most years since Bush took office." Yes, it took more than 20 paragraphs into the lengthy article, but finally it's acknowledged that maybe Mr. Ford isn't all that far away from Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi after all.
Further information on Mr. Ford's transformation to moderate comes from CQ Weekly, which recently tracked how often House members support President Bush. In 2005, Ford supported President Bush 35 percent of the time. This year, however, that level jumped by almost 20 points, to 53 percent.
A skeptic might note that the change took place just as Harold Ford ramped up his senatorial bid.
My view is that today's Democrats are a lot more like your daddy's Democrats than Newsweek and other mainstream media outlets will admit.