This latest episode -- Carson quietly and belatedly taking a leave of absence to have an infection treated -- is another in a long line of troubling developments. A Capitol Hill newspaper recently wrote of Carson needing help just to cast votes. She often appears lost at public events. Even supporters will tell you privately that the spectacle has become depressing.
It is time for Carson to retire.
The city's streets are in need. Its social services are hurting. Crime is up. With Democrats running the U.S. House for the first time in 12 years, Indianapolis needs the benefit of a majority-party representative who can bring home every possible penny -- and then a few more.
It's time for a change.
Those who know Carson say she worries retirement will leave her lonely and forgotten. She needn't worry. The many people she has helped over the years will always remember her.
A part of Tully's column with which I do not agree is his apology for criticizing her in a column earlier this year. "In a fit of anger in February, I wrote that Carson was an embarrassment to the city," he writes. "I've regretted that column ever since. There's nothing embarrassing about a woman who built a career by focusing on people who are so often forgotten." No, Matt, you were right on when you called her an embarrassment. In a moment when our city was feeling pride over the Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears, Carson brought shame to our city. She stood up in the House of Representatives and praised the victory as proof there is more than drive-by shootings in Indianapolis. We can't attribute the statement to a failing mind because her staff assures us she's as mentally alert as she's ever been. So we must attribute her statement to poor judgment. Right?
On the subject of her latest bout with her health problems, the Star's Maureen Groppe now reports that she has left Methodist Hospital and has been moved to a rehabilitation facility to get her walking. Now, she didn't get this information from Carson's staff. Instead, she got it from former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs, who is well known for exaggerating all things Julia to make her appear to be something she's not. “She’s improving,” Jacobs said. “We’re not talking really about something systemic.” Groppe was later able to confirm this from Carson's staff after Jacobs took upon himself to do their job. "Carson spokesman Chad Chitwood confirmed the move to the rehabilitation center and said he had no additional information on Carson’s condition to release."
Groppe reminds us Carson's absence will leave our voters unrepresented on major issues coming before Congress in the coming weeks. "Bills on tap in the House for the rest of the week include one aimed at assisting economically distressed and underdeveloped areas and a bill to help some struggling homeowners who have had to pay taxes on mortgage debt forgiven through foreclosure, sale or restructuring.Congress is in a crunch to finish some major bills before adjourning for the year," she writes. "They include the annual spending bills, a major energy package, trade agreements, a rewrite of patent laws and renewals of the No Child Left Behind education bill and farm programs."
Meanwhile, Mike Bowman has taken the occasion of Julia's latest absence from work to start up a new blog, Where is Julia. You can read his take on Carson's health problems and what it means to the 7th District voters here. Bowman assisted Carson's 2006 GOP opponent, Eric Dickerson in his campaign against her last year. He saw a lot of her during the campaign and became aware of just how much her health has declined in recent years.