Rest In Peace Michael Ford, Political Strategist Extraordinaire

I knew Mike Ford before he was Michael Ford.

He and I roomed together in 1970, the year he graduated from Xavier University. That Mike Ford1383944221Jesuit institution in Cincinnati left an indelible mark on Mike, as strong as Holy Communion or Confirmation.

As his obituary in the Washington Post noted, “Mr. Ford — a veteran of nine White House campaigns and a senior adviser to several of them — was once described by Newsweek magazine as having ‘an odd blend of boiler-room savvy and cloisterish philosophy.'”

The boiler-room savvy, I think, came from Mike’s Dad, who was a pioneer in the field of cybernetics. The cloisterish philosophy came from Xavier.

That combination led him to great accomplishments. And legendary ones.

From Campaigns & Elections:

Michael Ford remembered for pig-and-chicken tale

Michael Ford will be remembered as an inspirational strategist and the originator of the pig-and-chicken story that’s been used to motivate countless Democratic field organizers.

Ford died Nov. 5 from complications related to melanoma, according to the Washington Post. The 65 year old marked his final Election Day at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Joe Trippi remembers meeting Ford while working as a “$15-a-day organizer” on the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign. “I remember the very first time I ever laid eyes on him. He said to a whole room full of field organizers that he didn’t want us to just be involved, he wanted us to be committed,” Trippi recalled to C&E. “And that if we had any doubt about what that meant think about your breakfast in the morning.

“Because the eggs that you ate, the chicken was involved in your breakfast, but when you had that bacon, the pig was committed to it.”

For a fuller sense of the man Mike was, check out this video of his 2010 lecture at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

The website has much more about his achievements, including this:

In 2009, Mr. Ford founded the Center for the Study of the American Dream at his alma mater, Xavier University. The Center serves as the nation’s pre-eminent clearinghouse for information on the state of the American Dream.

As its Founding Director, Mr. Ford led the Center’s efforts in generating significant original research analyzing shifts in the Dream’s continuing evolution. Under Mr. Ford’s leadership, the Center has received significant national attention for its work.

At the time of his death, Mr. Ford was working on a book on the history, meaning, and future of the American Dream, which his family plans to publish posthumously. The book’s genesis comes from his 2012 Washington Post Sunday Outlook 5 Myths opinion piece “Five Myths about the American Dream.”

That was now. But even back then, it was clear Mike would be a star.

As clearly he was.

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