Tuesday, February 26, 2008

An Independent Thinker, Imagine That

For people who are tired of politics as usual and in search of a candidate who isn't afraid to buck his own party, State Rep. Jon Elrod is just what the doctor ordered. The Star's Robert King takes a look at the man Eric Miller calls "at odds with his own party." King writes:

Socially conservative Republicans look at Jon Elrod's position on gay marriage and question whether he is true to his party.

Democrats look at Elrod's suburban, almost rural upbringing and question whether he is fit to represent an urban congressional district.

And others look at Elrod's life -- an amateur stage actor and former rugby player who studied abroad in London -- and note that he hardly seems a typical Indiana lawmaker, much less a Hoosier Republican.

Elrod, it seems, doesn't mind being seen as a guy willing to thwart convention. By trying to defeat Democrat Andre Carson in a special election March 11 for the 7th District congressional seat, he's clearly bucking conventional wisdom. Carson's grandmother, the iconic Julia Carson, held the seat for a decade until her death in December.

And Elrod was the lone Republican in the Indiana House -- out of 49 -- who refused to sign a petition demanding a floor vote on an amendment that would effectively make gay marriages, already illegal, also unconstitutional. Elrod hasn't had a chance to vote on the matter yet. But he says he is willing to become the first Republican in the General Assembly to vote against the amendment in the four years it has been an issue.

Stalwarts among Hoosier conservatives such as Eric Miller say his stance "puts him at odds" with the Republican Party. Some conservative bloggers have gone as far as to call Elrod a "fake Republican" or a RINO -- Republican in Name Only.

I had to laugh at King's suggestion that Elrod had an almost rural upbringing. You are clueless, Robert. I grew up on a farm. There's nothing rural about Marion County, except maybe the very small thinking of some of its residents. As far as being a RINO, Elrod is actually a traditional Republican. It is only more recently that the George Wallace Democrats like Eric Miller came over and hijacked the Republican Party. A traditional conservative Republican believed like Barry Goldwater that we should keep the government off our backs and out of our bedrooms.

Unfortunately, the Millerites want to spend all their time pursuing their unending social agenda while Elrod focuses on either eliminating property taxes, or capping them and requiring public referenda on bond issues. "As long as they got fired up about the definition of marriage amendment or the Terri Schiavo case, that was fine -- then you could spend whatever it is you want to spend. . . . And I'm not one of those," Elrod explains. "I really believe in narrowing the scope of government," he says."I don't want to say I don't care what other people think about me," he said, "but I am just going to do what I think is right," Elrod said. "And everyone else can make their decision about that."

Elrod's explanation of his position opposing the marriage amendment demonstrates his independent thinking and points up the hypocrisy of so many who push the amendment, such as Miller and the amendment's author, Sen. Brendt Hershman, both of whom have been divorced and remarried. King writes:

The irony with Elrod's opposition to the marriage amendment is that Elrod said his position is rooted in a basic Christian principle.

"I think marriage is a sacrament. That means it is something ordained by God. To have government dictating what that is is generally a bad idea," he said. "Right now we define marriage pretty poorly by the government. You are married just as long as you want to be. . . . "That is not at all what my church teaches."

Elrod, who is single and a lifelong United Methodist, has seen marriages dissolve in front of him regularly through his law practice, which includes divorce cases. But he said his position on marriage -- that it is a church matter, not a state matter -- is also grounded in the writings of C.S. Lewis, the Christian sage behind "The Chronicles of Narnia," and a host of Christian books.

Elrod grew up attending University Heights United Methodist on the Southside and has more than a casual fascination with church history. He spent three years studying theology at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, mostly out of desire to learn more on a subject he enjoys talking about. He remains a thesis shy of a master's degree.

In recent years, Elrod has been ensconced Downtown at Roberts Park United Methodist, a church with a thriving homeless outreach and more than its share of liberal Democrats, including blogger and Indiana Democratic Party communications director Jennifer Wagner.

Elrod, Wagner said, is a good guy. But don't look for her to provide him campaign ad material. As she puts it, "I've never seen him kicking any puppies."

How generous of fellow church-goer Jen Wagner to say she hasn't seen Elrod "kicking any puppies." Her boss, however, was not as kind. "The other knock Democrats have against Elrod is what state Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker sees as a thin record of achievement that boils down to little more than winning elections -- as a township adviser and state legislator -- in Democratic districts," King writes. "Thin record of achievement." Excuse me, Carson hasn't even won an election yet; he's only been appointed to fill a vacancy and faced no opposition. He's only had government jobs his grandmother got for him by pulling strings. He finished 88th out of 89 in his class at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He spent 9 years as a state excise police office without a single promotion. He got a degree which evidence seems to suggest is little better than a mail order diploma. As soon as he got on the city council, he took a job with a city contractor selling political influence. Give me a break, Dan Parker. And for the Carson people to even suggest the life-long southsider Elrod is a carpetbagger is beyond the pale.

If Elrod is guilty of anything it is being educated and having more worldly views of life than the race-based, hood mentality Carson seems to be stuck in. King writes:

Elrod, 30, has charted his own course in other ways.

Through high school, college and his adult life, Elrod has played a number of roles on the stage. He was the male lead in "The Gift of the Magi." He was the sword-fighting Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride" and cast as the fastidious Felix in "The Odd Couple."

He played rugby while an undergraduate at Cincinnati's Xavier University, giving it up only after knocking his shoulder out of socket for a third time.

As a history major, he spent a semester studying abroad in northern England at Harlaxton College, where both dorms and living quarters are housed in a 19th century English manor house. He used the location to his advantage, traveling to Scotland, Ireland and Belgium.

As a law student at Indiana University, he spent a semester studying British law in London and serving an internship with a wig-wearing English barrister.

To get the most from the experience, he chose not to live with other Americans but instead stayed in a house with a cluster of students from around the world -- Aussies, New Zealanders and a German, among others. Together, they navigated the quirky London neighborhood of Brixton, known for its African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern immigrants and as home of the mosque where the shoe bomber drew his inspiration . . .

And he said his five-year career in the law -- handling issues such as wills, custody matters, business formations and personal injury cases -- have given him a fundamental knowledge of how laws affect people's lives.
The truth is that Jen Wagner and Dan Parker have much more in common with Jon Elrod. If they spoke truthfully about it to you, they both would much rather have a candidate like Elrod to support. Instead, they have to go along with the Carson machine and support a completely unqualified person whose outlook on life repulses both of them to the core because the Center Township gang demanded the party only to support a black candidate and one whose last name must be "Carson."


Anonymous said...

(wait for it...it'll come...the Wilson slam....)

Anonymous said...

He's pro-life and doesn't care if two gay guys want to get married. Now there's a social conservative with a brain. I couldn't care less if two gays get married, but I do care about innocent human life being snuffed out.

Anonymous said...

Amazing...truly amazing. The life experiences and professional background could not be more stark in this campaign. I sure hope Elrod wins.

Can Carson even find England on a map?

Anonymous said...

You're right. The Wilson slam is coming, so let me do it for him:

Wilson 90210 said:
"Jon Elrod is too young and inexperienced. Jon Elrod has always depended upon nepotism to get his jobs. Jon Elrod has only held minor elected positions. (Oh wait. I'm describing Andre.) Jon Elrod is nerdy, icky, and SINGLE, wink, wink - you know what that means!!. (Oh wait. That describes me.) Jon Elrod is supported by narrow-minded bigots and homophobes. (Oh wait. That's Farahkan, who supports Andre.) Nevermind."

Anonymous said...

The writer for the Indianapolis Star should note that our US Senator Richard Lugar maintains a real 604 acre farm right here in Marion County. To allude that growing up in a house that sits on a measly 14 acres as rural is ridiculous.
It would also serve this writer for the Indianapolis Star to note that nearly 70% of the 7th Congressional District is white, NOT inner city ghetto black.
If Andre Carson wanted that white vote he should have thought about that when he cut campaign deals with the Nation of Islam leaders.

Anonymous said...

Actually, he sounds to me like something of a classic Hoosier - and I mean that in the best way. Based on this little bio, which is all I know of him, he seems to believe in private charity, limited government fiscally, limited government socially, and doesn't really care what people think about him.

Fort Wayne Democrat
I would hate to lose someone like that from the State House - he'll get swallowed up in Washington but in Indianapolis he seems to be the lone voice of sanity on his side of the aisle.

Anonymous said...

Good point Gary.
The Jen and her Bartie's just can not accept defeat!

Anonymous said...

This is interesting...Did Andre Know?


Marti said...

Obviously your knowledge of the south side of the city is limited. My high school chemistry teacher was a pig farmer (and he lived on the south side), the property that is now being developed as "McFarland Farms" on Southport Road is called that specifically because it was farm land. Take a drive down Bluff Road and you'll still see farms out that way.

What your side doesn't like to discuss are his positions. Why? Because he mirrors George Bush at almost every turn. Your side has nothing left to attack Obama or Carson with, besides xenophobic and islamophobic rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I do not have to live as a homosexual, so therefor I do not find it is my place to deny a homosexual couple there union before God.

I as a christian, do think that is a sin as the bible teaches me. it is not my place to enforce that sin, it is my heavenly father's right to enforce that sin.

I am a 40 year old white male that is married with children. I did not have the misfortune of growing up as Andre had to do, but I can appreciate his plight.

I am a christian and I live a life of tolerance of others. I can only base my opinion of Islam on the life on Earth I have lived. Islam has shown me and jews to be recipients of terror and death inflicted by the teachings of wahibbist and muslims in general. You want me to trust you Andre based upon your association with known rascist Louis Farakhan and Islams history of death and terror upon christians and jews? NO!

I do not trust muslims! I will never trust Muslims until the death and terror ends, and your Imams start teaching acceptance of other books (Bible and Torrah), rather than being hell bent on jihad and coversion of non muslims and death to those who refuse.

Yes Andre, this is your Islam!

I chose not to persecute gays for wanting to be gay and assimilate in to society. My wife reminds me that it is rude of me to think that all gays would even find me attractive any way. What do I care if gays want to co-exist among our society. I won't have a problem, unless you try to molest my family, then no jail will be able to protect you from this former Marine!

If I am labled a RINO...then I didn't leave the party, the party left me....I am just adjusting to modern times. Republicans and evangelicals need to adjust and be more accepting. You can still be a conservative, just stop the hate.

Jon Elrod is like me. I associate with his politics. I despise the far left, but am willing to work with Dems to better the causes that affect all americans.

Polarization is killing this country, and it is time the far right and the far left get there act together. The centrist from each party are going to have to save this country form itself.

If you want to stick lables of RINO and DINO, go right ahead. I am a christian and I a prgressive. Eric Miller does not have my family best interest in his agenda.

Please 7th voters, use your brains. Jon Elrod is the best guy for the job. Do not vote for a guy who is the least qualified, and I am speaking about "Julia's seed".

Anonymous said...

marti must be competing with Wilson for Most Valuable Party Hack. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Wilson46201 said...

What a pity poor anonymous nobody "tjefferson" cant discuss politics or candidates but confines herself to personal slams and slimes against other blog commenters...

Try sticking to the thread topic, not your private personality whims!

Anonymous said...

How do you now tjjefferson's gender, Wilson? I assumed nothing, but you seem to know.

Marty, honey, the "McFarland Farms" area has been fully-developed for over ten years now. I think the last restaurant to open there was Cheesburger in Paradise, in 2000 or 2001.

1:26, you sound relatively tolerant and genuinely concerned about your future and ours. Good for you. But try to avoid the broad-brush, OK? Not all Muslims are violent. As a matter of fact, only a minority of them is.

And if you want to get right down to it, I knew of a few relatively violent Catholics in Northern Ireland a few years ago...so no religion is void of nutcases who invoke the name of their God in carrying out their violence.

It does not make the rest of that particular religion equally violent by association.

There are misguided souls in every religion. In every city, there are a few. And there seems to be an entire den of them at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But I digress...

Anonymous said...

8:25...I will stop with the "broad brush" when these non-violent muslims take to the streets and airwaves and denounce wahibism and radical islamic agenda.

To the date...I have yet to see one Muslim stand against radical islam, and you know why...Wahibist will hunt you down and kill you.

I am an extremely tolerant man, and I am accepting of all races cultures and creeds. I do not trust Muslims, but that doesn't mean I hate them. Christ teaches me to love my neighbor, so I shall.

I am disgusted by the religous and gay hate issues by the far right of my party. It is smoke and mirrors.

I am equally disgusted by the likes of Bill Crawford. I lived two years at 16 and Rural...I know what kind of representation happens there...nothing! Not one dime of infrastrucutre in that area...Miss Lilly's is the industry and the Juvenile detention Center at 25th St...what a shame...

I am a married man with children, and I am white....Stop the gay hate Bosma, Miller..et al...and get to buisiness. I am talking to you too Speaker Bauer...The IN Dems should be ashamed of themselves!

What a shame...

Anonymous said...

Marti wrote:
"Your side has nothing left to attack Obama or Carson with, besides xenophobic and islamophobic rhetoric."

Oh, really? Tell me, is it xenophobic or islamophobic to insist that Mr. Carson explicitly repudiate the anti-Semitic ravings of Louis Farrakhan? Senator Obama did it. Why not Mr. Carson?

I'm sorry, but if you could please explain to this Jewish poster how such a request constitutes either xenophobia or islamophobia, I'd appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Wilson bloviated:

"What a pity poor anonymous nobody "tjefferson" cant discuss politics or candidates but confines herself to personal slams and slimes against other blog commenters...

Try sticking to the thread topic, not your private personality whims!"

Wilson, sweety, I'm the exact same kind of "her" that you are, if you know what I mean. And slime couldn't stick to you with Superglue. You bathe in it just to wake up.