03/27/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Harold Ford Backs Pointless Deficit Commission

I don't have to labor too hard today to illustrate the utter preposterousness of Harold Ford's run for the New York Senate seat currently held by the appointed Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand. Let's just take a look at his op-ed in today's New York Times, where he comes foursquare behind the Beltway's latest political hack idea: the blue-ribbon deficit commission:

Finally, we need to address budget deficits now rather than waiting for some ideal future economic situation. It's a good sign that the Obama administration is following the advice of Senators Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Evan Bayh of Indiana and other Democratic fiscal pragmatists who embrace the idea of a bipartisan commission to recommend spending cuts to rein in deficit growth. But we must be sure that the administration and Congress heed the commission's advice.

I really can't say enough about how foolish it is to follow the advice of Conrad and Bayh. Conrad's plan for a deficit reduction commission -- from which Obama draws inspiration for his own -- is decidedly non-serious: it's designed to get gridlocked in a cascading series of insurmountable super-majorities, will spend taxpayer dollars selling itself, and will not limit or eliminate the exposure of participating lawmakers to lobbyists.

And it's pretty inauspicious timing to be suggesting that Obama follows the advice of Evan Bayh! Today, Bayh wakes to see that he'd lose in a hypothetical match-up with Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.). There's a reason for that! As Dave Weigel notes, Bayh's "complaints about...how much Congress is spending, are matched with votes for more spending."

There's a similar contradiction at the heart of Harold Ford's package of solutions for New York State. In addition to being super-serious about curbing deficits, Ford wants to "[extend] the current capital gains and dividend tax rates through 2012; [give] permanent tax credits for businesses that invest in research and development; and [reduce] the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent."

But I thought we needed to "address budget deficits now rather than waiting for some ideal future economic situation?"

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