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Harold Ford: Get Your Sexism Out of NY

Here are some simple questions Mr. Ford: Why did you flip-flop on Senator Gillibrand? And more importantly, why are you now resorting to blatant sexism as a tactic?
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Last month, Harold Ford Jr. parachuted into New York State's political scene as a possible senatorial candidate. His initial descent has been plagued by a series of missteps. First, Mr. Ford flip-flopped on gay rights and choice. Then, Mr. Ford admitted to holding a Tennessee drivers license and stated that he had only landed on Staten Island in a helicopter. Next, Mr. Ford's misstated the timing of his recent donation to Senator Gillibrand in an interview with The New York Times: She had only been a senator for two days, when I made my contribution...One of the things you will find as we talk is that I have a decent-size memory for dates and people. The Schedule A (FEC Form 3) reveals that Mr. Ford's $1,000 contribution was actually made on June 5, 2009. Let us refresh your memory Mr. Ford: Senator Gillibrand took office on January 27, 2009.

In fact, not only did Mr. Ford write Senator Gillibrand a check for $1,000 after she was in office for four months, his PAC also donated $5,000 in 2006 to her congressional campaign. So we are asking these simple questions Mr. Ford: Why did you flip-flop on Senator Gillibrand? And more importantly, why are you now resorting to blatant sexism as a tactic?

The sexism in the campaign has gotten so atrocious that even NY State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs had to intercede last week. Chairman Jacobs reminded Mr. Ford that he would be running for U.S. Senate, not prom queen; and implored Mr. Ford:

Talk about what you're going to do. If there's a complaint about what Kirsten Gillibrand has done as a Senator, point out how she voted and how you would have voted differently and why.

As the Presidents of The New Agenda and NOW-NYS, we commend Chairman Jacobs and join him in saying to Mr. Ford: Get your sexism out of New York!

Mr. Ford, we are keenly aware of your recent subtle and not-so-subtle ways of employing sexism. We note the manner in which you have sought to portray Senator Gillibrand as small and weak. Using terms to describe her such as a "lap dog" for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, or a "parakeet" for Senator Chuck Schumer. Really? There is no evidence of either. Senator Gillibrand is a strong spokesperson for New Yorkers and an advocate for women's and children's issues.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ford, you have taken up the mantra of truck driving macho man as your tentative slogan: Harold Ford: Nobody's Man but Ours, would suggest. In lieu of talking issues, you find time to speak to gossip columnist Cindy Adams about your virility: Ohh, listen, I'll find time for that. Always have, always will.

Mr. Ford, as talk of issues has dissipated, and you have instead chosen to employ sexist rhetoric, we wondered who would advise you to chart this course? Then we noticed that your campaign spokesperson is David Goldin. We know David Goldin. He tried to intimidate and silence both of us and our organizations in a domestic violence case last year through repeated phone call and accusatory emails.

Mr. Goldin formerly represented Hiram Monserrate, the New York State senator who was convicted of slashing his girlfriend's face with a broken glass. As reported in an Albany-based newspaper, when The New Agenda and NOW-NYS spoke out last year, Mr. Goldin tried to intimidate and silence us through repeated phone calls and accusatory emails. Later, when I, Ms. Siskind, wrote about the Monserrate Case for The Daily Beast, Mr. Goldin went so far as to repeatedly contact the editors there -- of course the piece stands.* (So Arianna, if your phone hasn't rung yet, get ready!)

A few months later, even Sen. Monserrate tried to distance himself from Mr. Ford's spokesperson David Goldin. Sen Monserrate's attorney told an Albany reporter: DolceGoldin was relieved in April of this year.

We are disappointed that Mr. Ford chose to hire David Goldin as his main spokesperson. Since he did, we are not surprised by the tactics being employed.

Mr. Ford, we have a simple request: Stick to the issues going forward. And please, keep your sexism out of New York!

*HuffPost Editor's Note: The Daily Beast piece referenced does stand, but with a notation that several errors had been corrected from the original version.