Ford vs. Forrest: a Losing Skirmish?
Setting out to do some sharpshooting at George W's expense, Memphis' congressman misfires.
August 3, 2000 at 4:00AM
PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis, where Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest is enough of a legend to have streets and a park named after him, found himself coaxed out onto a shaky limb Wednesday, having boasted that he would get Vice President Al Gore to denounce the general, a statue of whom looms prominent in Memphis The congressman, in the Republicans 2000 convention city as part of a Democratic truth team, talked with reporters at the media pavilion outside the convention center in the role of an Al Gore advocate. In the course of rebuffing the Republicans efforts to identify themselves with the principle of diversity, Ford said that Bush was "pandering" to hard-core conservatives and cited Bush's refusal to take a stand against the flying of the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina state capitol as an example.On the theory that the sins of the goose are as culpable as those of the gander, a Tennessee reporter asked Ford point-blank whether Gore, as the Democrats presidential standard-bearer, should denounce a three-foot bust of Forrest in the state Capitol building. Forrest is, in fact, the most memorialized state hero of any state in the Union, and Tennessee, by statute, recognizes Forrest's birthday each year as an official holiday.