November 14, 2002

HAROLD FORD makes a promise that Nancy Pelosi probably won’t match: “If I cannot lead Democrats to the majority in two years, I will step down in favor of someone who can.”

Ford also observes:

Although Democrats have traditionally sought the upper hand on domestic issues, we now live in a post-9/11 world. If we want the American people to trust us to govern, we cannot take a dismissive or defeatist attitude toward issues of national security.

One area of stark contrast between my opponent and me is Iraq. Rep. Pelosi opposed the president and voted against the resolution. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass a narrowly tailored resolution and joined Democrats and Republicans in voting for it. Ultimately, congressional support helped the administration negotiate a strong resolution that won the unanimous approval of the U.N. Security Council.

But no matter how individual members voted on the resolution, our problem as a party in this most recent election was that we raised objections rather than offered solutions. Many Americans may be apprehensive about the president’s national security strategy, but they understand that he has one, and that the Democrats don’t.

He also suggests that Democrats could learn a lot from Phil Bredesen’s successful campaign for governor, which I’ve said as well. I know some other members of the Ford family somewhat, but I’ve never met Harold. By all accounts, though, he’s sharp — and this would seem to prove it. The Democrats could do worse. In fact, they almost certainly will.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s some advice for the Republicans that they’d do well to think about.

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