In a cheap, ugly display of blatant racism against her African-American opponent Eric Dickerson, Rep. Julia Carson (D) drops a negative attack ad in the mailboxes of white voters to scare them away from voting for Dickerson, playing on white people's worst stereotypes of black men. In a mailer sent out this week by the Democratic National Congressional Committee, Carson shows a grainy, black and white photograph of Dickerson (ala the famous police mug shot posted on Taking Down Words) and tells 7th District voters he is guilty of a heinous domestic violence crime for which he was never convicted and his wife denies happened. As Matt Tully describes the mailer at his blog:
A campaign mailer, sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, hits Dickerson hard. It relies on reports this summer that Dickerson was arrested for domestic violence 15 years ago. (Dickerson's wife later denied the charges, which were eventually dropped.)
"What's worse," the new mailer asks. "A candidate for Congress who beats his wife, bites his kid, gets arrested and goes to jail ... or a candidate who lies about it?"
The ad does not appear to be the work of a party that thinks its candidate is a sure thing on Nov. 7. One interesting note: The mailer features a grainy picture of Dickerson. Four years ago, Carson and Democrats alleged racism after Republicans sent out a mailer featuring a grainy photo of Carson. Both Carson and Democrat are black.
If you folks aren't convinced that Carson is the dirtiest politician in the history of the state of Indiana, you should be now. The hypocritical Carson, as Tully notes, was the first to scream racism when Marion Co. Republicans sent out a flyer raising legitimate questions about her public record and used a grainy, black and white photo. AI warned you about Carson's bag of dirty tricks. AI told you she and the Democrats would do everything possible to destroy Dickerson, even if it meant using the race card.
It's nothing new. If you look at the Carson record, it is completely devoid of any accomplishments of note for the benefit of her constituents. It has always been about helping herself and her friends to the benefits of government in the most self-serving of ways. Whether it was an insider deal for her clothing store, putting family and friends on the government payroll, firing pubic servants who refused to support her political wishes, or using campaign funds illegally as political slush funds for friends and supporters, it's always been about Julia helping Julia.
When an accomplished, respected black man comes along and dares to challenge her grasp on political power, she does what all corrupt, career politicians do: try to convince voters that their opponent is even worse than they are. She attends a conference claiming to seek social justice for blacks on Monday, and then she strikes a blow against the black man on Wednesday. She has no legislative accomplishments she can point to in asking voters to re-elect her. Struggling with life-threatening illnesses, she must turn to surrogates like former Rep. Andy Jacobs (D) and Mayor Bart Peterson (D) to deliver her message. She is too ill to sit and look the voters in the eye and tell them why they should re-elect her. And she is too cowardly to say to her opponent's face in a real, live debate with the voters, what she seeks to do through subterfuge.
It's all very sad. And who really wins in the end? Carson? Indianapolis' black community? The voters of the 7th District? The answer is none of the above. A congressional district is a terrible thing to waste, but the voters of the 7th District may well do just that.
UPDATE: Because some Carson supporters seem to have a case of selective amnesia and profess complete shock and horror that this ad just simply appeared out of nowhere without any knowledge of the Carson campaign, let us remind them that the very first person to raise this issue in this campaign was none other than Rep. Julia Carson during a meeting with the Star editorial staff. She told the Star that Dickerson "beat up his wife to a pulp." A volunteer for her campaign produced the first copy of the 15-year-old unproven police report to substantiate their claim, which was posted on Taking Down Words the day after Carson leveled the accusation against Dickerson. TDW is edited by Jen Wagner, communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party. Carson's congressional campaign shares office space in the same office where the Indiana Democratic Party's offices are located. Try as they may, the claim of the Carson campaign that they had no knowledge of the DCCC's mailer this week rings hollow with this blogger.
It is beyond belief that Carson would tell WTHR-TV tonight that she is outraged by the ad, that she told the DNCC not to go negative and that she did not authorize the ad. Sorry lady, if you're outraged by it, why were you the one who raised the issue to begin with? She tells WTHR: "We attempt to keep a clean race. We attempt to. Sometimes outside supporters get very zealous, overzealous and they do things that I don't approve of like negative talk. I don't approve of that. I wish it didn't happen." And I guess Carson thinks we all just fell off the turnip truck if she expects us to believe that load of crap.
As this ad accuses your opponent of doing, your own explanation strains credulity. Brian Howey of the Howey Political Report tells WTHR he has never seen a more scurrilous attack leveled against a candidate with less than a week before the election. Interestingly, every voter WTHR interviewed who received the mailer was a white voter. Judging by the response of the voters interviewed, Carson and the DNCC may be regretting their decision to try and convict Dickerson for a 15-year-old criminal allegation a Democratic prosecutor chose not to prosecute. Don't forget this response she gave to WTHR after she raised the allegation herself the first time: "Congresswoman Julia Carson says she didn't mean to bring domestic violence into the upcoming campaign when she mentioned her opponent's 1991 arrest to the Indianapolis Star editorial board. 'I don't know that it makes him unfit, because there are others who serve in Congress,' said Carson ."