Rep. Harold Ford (R-TN) writes an op-ed in today’s Washington Post entitled aptly enough "Why I Should Be Minority Leader." While he claims that he is not running to move his party to the left or the right, it is clear that he is emphasizing "New Democrat" centrist themes, and contrasting these with more liberal themes. For example, he addresses the genuine differences between the Democrats and the President on national security:
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.
Given this bold move, it will be interesting to see which way the Democrats vote. As another article in the Post notes, it is all but assured that Pelosi will win. This may well determine the direction of the Democratic party reallignment. More on that soon.