If Harold Ford, Jr. runs for the Senate, will he campaign from the back of a Cadillac Escalade?

On Thursday, an op-ed by Harold Ford, Jr. appeared in the New York Daily News. The op-ed, entitled “N.Y. needs independence in Washington: Harold Ford weighs in on Martha Coakley’s defeat,” is about what Ford believes to be the implications of the Massachusetts Senate race.

More specifically, Harold Ford, Jr. wants to take this opportunity to let New Yorkers know yet again that he’s contemplating a run to become a U.S. Senator from New York in 2010. And, more precisely still, he wants to take the opportunity to define himself in the wake of the Democrats’ loss of a U.S. Senate seat last Tuesday.

About professional politicians, who according to Ford “end up sticking together – forming a narrow, insulated, self-reinforcing elite,” and about his potential run for the Senate, Ford writes:

That’s not me. And that makes them worried.

Hear that, New Yorkers? He’s an outsider, he says, and he wants you to know that the insiders are worried about him running because he’s going to fight for you.

Obviously, Ford hasn’t been in New York long enough if he thinks New Yorkers are going to fall for that line of bullshit.

Seriously, Harold Ford, Jr. was the Congressman representing Tennessee’s 9th congressional district for ten years (1997-2007), during which time he rubbed elbows with his Blue Dog Coalition buddies, the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), and…

wait for it…

a vice chairman of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Does this career politician really think he can tell New Yorkers that he’s an outsider who’s going to fight for them against DC/K Street insiders and against the bad actors in the health care and financial services industries? Does he think that by mentioning only once in the op-ed that he’s a Democrat – qualifying that admission by saying he’s an “independent” Democrat (btw, Lieberman calls himself an “independent” Democrat) – that anyone in New York will believe that he’s an outsider?

Clearly, Ford has concluded that Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special election last Tuesday by running as an outsider. Fair enough. But does he think he can pull off the same trick by cutting back on the manicures and driving around in a Cadillac Escalade? (Hey, Ford probably thinks it’d be just like Brown’s GMC pickup truck.)

Ford writes:

The defeat of Martha Coakley in Massachusetts represents the latest rejection of a governing style that takes the taxpayers for granted and puts partisan, insider politics ahead of everything else.

Considering Ford’s a Blue Dog/DLC Democrat with ties to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, I suppose he would work very well with Republicans. Bipartisanship wouldn’t be a problem for him.

But an outsider Ford most definitely is not.

For more analysis of Ford the Outsider, see Christopher Bateman’s Should Harold Ford Jr. Even Be Running the D.L.C.? at Vanity Fair (Jan 14, 2010).