Saturday, February 04, 2006

TDW v. Indiana Barrister

Two noted Indiana bloggers are waging a political war of words of sorts. It began when a report by Joshua Claybourn of Indiana Barrister prompted the Evansville Courier & Press to report that the 19-year old daughter of Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, a Democratic candidate seeking to oust 8th district Congressman John Hostettler, had posted pictures of herself on the Internet engaging in underaged drinking. Claybourn, an IU-Indy law student, is also a Republican supporter of Hostettler, though Hostettler's campaign denies having any part in Claybourn's actions.

Claybourn told the Courier & Press that the photos of Ellsworth's daugther represented hypocrisy. "People understand that underaged drinking is commonplace and sometimes even expected . . . When a public official's child does it, it's not necessarily any worse. However, when it's the sheriff's family doing it and then flaunting the illegal consumption in public on the Internet, it's cause for concern."

Taking Down Words, a Democratic blog published by two female law student classmates of Claybourns, asks of his actions: "How Low Can You Go? Hostettler Supporter Shows Us And Everyone In The Eighth District." TDW says:

We've seen time and again that linking kids' behavior to their parents' campaigns is a bad idea. Let's start with the Bush twins. Fast forward to Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter. And now this. All Mr. Claybourn has done, as an advocate for John Hostettler who took it upon himself to send these photos to the media, is make himself and his candidate look slimy while placing Ellsworth's daughter, who isn't involved at all in the campaign, in the victim limelight. Nice work, Josh. You hit that one out of the park . . . Josh, no offense, because we sometimes enjoy your musings, but this was a really dumb move.

Upping the war of words, one anonymous commenter posted a link to a website purporting to show numerous pictures of Claybourn and his friends engaging in underage drinking as an IU undergraduate student. To be fair, TDW adds, "I believe the all of the beer-soaked Bryan House photos, which, by the way, also feature my high school boyfriend, were taken after those guys were of age. Of course, that still doesn't make what Josh did any more ethically justified."

For his part, Claybourn had this response to TDW's post.

Just to be clear, the pictures were noted in an anonymous comment left on a general post about the race. I sent along a link to my post, as I often do, and noted that there were some interesting comments which followed it.

The paper apparently found the comments newsworthy, called me back, and asked for my reaction. I gave reaction, probably in error. And I may have erred in noting the comments in the first place. But I did not seek out attacks on Ellsworth or go snooping around. This is arguably splitting hairs, but I don’t think the article portrayed the notification as it happened.

Masson's Blog has its own take on the story as well. It's not hard to imagine that this particular story will be little-remembered by election day. But it may be a good indication that the "bloody eighth" will live up to its name once again this election season.


taking down words said...

Just so you know, there are three of us, but the two local law students are a guy and gal. (Boy TDW would be upset if he knew people thought he was a girl.)

Thanks for the post.

Advance Indiana said...

Thank you for correcting that--please tell Boy TDW not to be offended--misunderstanding on my end.

torporific said...

I thought it was interesting that they mentioned on the Bryan House webpage that threw parties where they charged people for beer. This is illegal too. I am not judging as I was once in college too, but people in glass houses...