You learn to shrug off the dirty tricks with amusement. Before I even announced my candidacy, the spokesperson for the Indiana Democrat Party purchased the Internet domain name "elrodforcongress.com." Next came the spying. Later began the radio commercials targeted at scaring senior citizens, the biting push polls that pretend to be objective and the negative Internet commercials.
It's not a shame to lose an election. It's a shame to serve the wrong ideas. It's a shame to engage in fear-and-smear tactics rather than rationally debate the issues. It's a shame to run an ugly campaign that lowers voter turnout. Unfortunately, this is politics as usual.
I've heard from numerous people, mostly Democrats, who have complained about the large volume of negative mail pieces they are receiving in the mail from the Democrats trashing Jon Elrod. One person complained of receiving 7 different mail pieces on the very same day, mostly attacking Elrod. Others slammed their phoned down angrily after receiving push telephone calls from the Democrats, which repeated false and misleading information about Elrod's position on the issues. These are the phone calls where the caller pretends to be with with an objective public opinion firm and says things like: "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Jon Elrod if you knew he supports abolishing social security and throwing all senior citizens into the street to fend for themselves?"
Sadly, our local news media is ignoring what's happening right under our noses. We have a person who has never run for competitive elective office before, who suddenly finds hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring into his campaign from out of state special interest groups who know nothing about the people of the 7th District or the candidates of either party. Yet, they are defining everything in this race about the candidates and the issues by saturating our air waves and mailboxes with false information about Elrod, while feeding us feel-good dribble about the underwhelming Carson.
In Carson's pitch in today's Star, he repeats the false claims our local news media will not take Carson to task on:
My opponent wants to privatize Social Security, turning a guaranteed benefit into a gamble. Under his privatization proposal, the benefits of 96,860 Hoosiers who depend on Social Security would be at the whim of the stock market. I have pledged to fight all efforts to privatize Social Security, and I will work to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, both today and for the long term.
This is a flat out lie. Anyone who has heard Elrod explain his ideas about social security know that Carson's claims are untrue. Elrod's top priority is to ensure the solvency of a plan that is broken and will run out of money unless we act in the near future. Elrod does not plan to privatize the social security senior citizens currently earn. What he is offering is a plan to allow younger workers to invest monies in private investment accounts for their future. Every objective analysis of this plan shows that younger workers would be able to retire on benefits several times larger than what they would be offered under the current social security plan. This concept is completely foreign to Carson because he's spent much of his adult life on a government payroll thanks to jobs his grandmother pulled strings to get him. Carson suggests privatization is just another vacation for a corporate CEO. It's actually a good description of Carson's current job, which he took after becoming a member of the Indianapolis City-County Council six months ago, and which seems to allow him all the time off he needs to campaign every day. He serves as a marketing rep for an engineering firm which has a lot of contracts with government. But for the privatization of the work performed by his company on behalf of government, Carson would have no job. Carson won't tell you what his plans are for social security, but I will. He wants to increase the payroll taxes employers and employees must pay to fund the system, which already surpasses 15% of the employee's wages. That's what has to occur if an alternative plan such as proposed by Elrod is not enacted. The only other choice is to cut benefits.
As Elrod explains in his column today, Carson's campaign is just "politics as usual." Partisan brinkmanship and gotcha politics is what Carson represents. "A candidate for change will have a record of reaching across the aisle, embracing creative solutions and focusing on priorities," Elrod writes. "He will thoughtfully address the issues, rather than offer knee-jerk, partisan talking points." "Change is blazing a new path, not promising to do the same as the last two predecessors." Carson promises nothing more than the same his grandmother gave us. Her record produced not a single legislative accomplishment in the more than a decade she served in Congress, and she had many years of experience as a state legislator and a township trustee before she went to Congress. Is there any reason to believe a career government employee with six months experience as an appointed city councilor will do any better?