Yesterday, in his widely-read “Ogden on Politics,” Paul Ogden wrote about my recent blogs about David Ford’s campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the 5th Congressional District. As is often the case, Mr. Ogden has missed the point of my argument.
Mr. Ogden initially alleges “Mark Small pens another article suggesting that David Ford ... is, gasp, a supporter of the Tea Party, and, therefore, not a real Democrat.” This is not an accurate summary of my argument. My argument is David Ford is not open about his views. There are enough people in this country—and this Congressional District—who are fed up with “tea party” types. If a person openly identifies himself or herself as aligned with the “tea party,” that person will face negative reactions, i.e., not get votes. The "tea party," with relative few numbers, has stymied government, and bullied people to the point that a greater number are fed up with those who style themselves as aligned with the "tea party."
I have stressed how David Ford dodges questions about his specific beliefs or stands on issues:
“Based upon his answers, and non-answers—a matter was immaterial or irrelevant because the issue in question should be a matter for the States or local governments to address—to questions, Mr. Ford would seem to embrace aspects of what has been called the ‘tea party.’ A visit to Mr. Ford’s Face Book discloses he is a candidate for Federal House of Representatives. His positions on governmental deficits and emphasis on local governments as a key to solve problems are consistent with other people who espouse principles of the ‘tea party.’ His view that the two driving forces of higher costs of health care are malpractice premiums forced on physicians and high costs of education for doctors is not supported by any credible studies I have read. More importantly, there is no real ‘meat’ to the bone of any stand on issues by Mr. Ford.”
It also is my understanding David Ford’s public appearances largely have been before “tea party” groups, yet he neither has answered questions as to whether he embraces the principles, such as they are, of the “tea party,” nor taken a direct stand on issues. I believe the facts indicate David Ford embraces the “tea party.” I did not “assume” David Ford embraces that ideology. I set forth facts from which one reasonably may draw that conclusion.
My argument was not that David Ford is “gasp” a supporter of the “tea party”—no upper case letters on “tea party” since the phenomenon has several organizations that claim it—but that he has not been forthright about his views. One person wrote to David Ford’s Face Book page and said while earlier he had spoken favorably of David Ford and his candidacy, once the writer learned from others the true nature of David Ford’s views, that writer will not support David Ford.
One should be clear I did not say of David Ford that he is “a supporter of the Tea Party and, therefore, not a real Democrat,” or words of similar effect. I discussed the history of the recent ideological splits between the Democratic Party and the GOP. My conclusion was:
“If this is what Mr. Ford has decided to do—run in the Democratic Party primary in a Congressional District with a solid Republican base so that he can run against the incumbent in the general election—then he should tell the voters this is his strategy. We, as voters, have a right to know what the candidates believe.
Otherwise, should he prevail in the primary, and if I am given a choice of a candidate on the Right—Ms. Brooks—and a candidate on the farther Right—Mr. Ford—I am given no choice at all. If that was Mr. Ford’s goal, then he will have perpetrated a fraud on the electorate. Mr. Stockdale, although too busy to be a guest on CDN, intellectually is honest. From what I have read, the same cannot be said for Mr. Ford.”
The “tea party” has placed a stranglehold on government for the past several years. If David Ford proudly identifies as a “tea party” person, he should say that.
As to Mr. Ogden’s other arguments:
1) The 18 percent overlap between the 29th Indiana Senate District in which JD Ford—a Democratic candidate and a progressive—is a candidate and the 5th Congressional District is not “a very small fraction.” One-fifth of the whole is a rather large fraction, particularly in this context. Fewer than 18,000, votes were cast in the 2010 Democratic primary for the 5th, the last mid-term election. Voter confusion over name recognition could move even a few hundred votes. 2) Mr. Ogden posits that I assume “being a member of the Tea Party is incompatible with being a Democrat. But there are Democrats in the Tea Party.” I have two responses: 1) There is no single “tea party” formally organized to which one properly may refer. There are several. The phenomenon partly is vague. 2) Such themes as one may recognize as “tea party” principles would include, from my observations, elimination of such federal programs as the EPA and—people cheered for Ted Cruz on this one—the IRS. Also, people in the “tea party,” such as it is, oppose national health care, particularly the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Finally, there is the matter of rigid opposition to President Obama that runs through “tea party” people. The stands I just listed are at odds with the beliefs of most people whom I know are Democrats. A candidate is free to run on whatever issues she or he wishes, but an ideological divide occurred a long time ago. If Mr. Ford chooses to hide his actual beliefs, one would infer he does so for fear of negative reactions.
3) Mr. Ogden is correct when he says I despise “corporate welfare, a system of crony capitalism in which politicians hand out taxpayer money to preferred corporate interests, generally those who are willing to kick back campaign contributions to the politicians and their friends.” He says this is “probably No. 1 on the Tea Party agenda...” If that is important to the “tea party,” my kudos to it. However, more important to the “tea party” are the goals of elimination of taxes on the very rich, whereas I would advocate return to tax rates similar to those of the Eisenhower years.
4) One aspect of “tea party” principles with which I disagree is that which seeks to protect “states’ rights.” States have no rights. States have powers. The Tenth Amendment does not describe States as possessing “rights”: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution describes “rights” of people in several places, most notably the First, Second, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Amendments.
I support protection of civil liberties. I oppose interventionist foreign policy. However, I do not “support most of the Tea Party agenda,” as Mr. Ogden concludes. As for my “fervent opposition” to the tea party being based “on years of watching MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and the Daily Show,” I say pish-posh. My opposition is based on watching the shutdown of government, seeing bullies at town hall meetings, and reading as much as I can, even Mr. Ogden’s blog. I try never to miss “The Daily Show.”
To return to the main point of my blog—missed by Mr. Ogden—David Ford is not forthright.
Allen Ray Davidson and Shawn Denney are good candidates in the May 6 primary. People with whom I have spoken or who have contacted me since I raised this argument have been supportive of my view that what David Ford appears to do is wrong. Mr. Ogden missed this argument along the way.