The New Republic
s Ryan Lizza (11/25) writes, Many House Democrats complain that Harold Ford Jr. hasn't done much to prove his leadership.
"...Before announcing his candidacy for minority leader last Friday, Ford had made no effort to climb the greasy pole of the Democratic caucus. He has never served as a ranking member of a committee or subcommittee. Until now, he'd never even run for a House leadership slot. He is not known as someone who has mastered the legislative or parliamentary process, and he doesn't have any great policy achievements
Outside of his home state of Tennessee, he has done little of the fund-raising and campaigning that win aspiring leaders favor with fellow members. Again and again, his critics and even admirers ask the same question: What has he done? His last spat with the party establishment came when his friend Al Gore invited him to deliver the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. As usual, the media wrote laudatory profiles about the 30-year-old, black, Southern New Democrat who represented the future of the party.
"Behind the scenes, however, Gore's aides were not as praiseworthy. They complained that he was a headache to work with. They were disappointed with his initial version of the speech, but, when they dispatched writers to fix it, Ford dug in his heels. É
Gore's senior aides were so frustrated that they actually bumped the keynote address out of its prime-time slot. (Months later, they learned that Ford had relied on Republican media consultant Frank Luntz to shape the speech.)