Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Carson Has Already Gone Negative

People within the campaign of 7th District candidate Andre Carson would lead you to believe that they are totally confident about his winning the March 11 special election and are already looking beyond that election to the May primary where he will face a crowded field of candidates, including State Rep. Carolene Mays, State Rep. David Orentlicher and Dr. Woody Myers, all imminently more qualified candidates than Carson. The reality is that they have read the poll numbers and they don't like what they are seeing. The Carson name in the 7th congressional district has become ballot box poison.

Rep. Mays, to the chagrine of the Carson campaign and Democratic Party leaders, tipped everyone off to the Carson problem when she released the results of a poll her campaign commissioned in early January, which showed Carson the least popular among a number of politician's tested, including Gov. Mitch Daniels. That same poll showed Elrod, although with lower name recognition, with a much higher positive rating than Carson and in a dead heat race with him. While the Carson campaign tried to dismiss the poll results as unreliable, the pollster, Momentum Analysis, has a solid reputation in Democratic circles. The DCCC, having reviewed its own poll numbers, has come to the same conclusion. That's why it is dumping big bucks into the race early on to try to bolster Carson's sagging image in the district. At the same time, the Carson campaign understands it had to figure out a way to drive up Elrod's negatives.

No sooner than the race had begun before the Carson campaign started a whispering campaign about Elrod, touching on very personal matters. The Carson folks figure that, even if a guy doesn't have any skeletons in his closet, we'll just make up stuff and spread it around, hoping some of it will stick. Similarly, Elrod's Mr. Clean image was more than the ethically-challenged Carson folks could stand. They couldn't find anything in his public record on which to attack him so they decided to surrepticiously videotape him and create an ethics issue out of whole cloth, even if that meant engaging in unethical conduct themselves to acquire the videotape.

This activity is completely reminiscent of the late Rep. Julia Carson's last campaign in 2006. In the Democratic Party, Carson was opposed by Kris Kiser, the first openly gay congressional candidate in Indiana history. Although Kiser's campaign stood no chance of defeating her in the Democratic primary, Carson's folks became concerned that Kiser would succeed in eroding her support among a key group that made up the coalition which provided her very narrow victories in each of her 6 congressional races, Indianapolis' GLBT community. A large campaign contributor to Carson, who lived in Iowa, published a scathing and defamatory attack on Kiser's personal life on an Internet blog. Chucked full of inaccuracies and downright false information, the purpose of the story was to play on people's worst stereotypes of gay men, which was a bit ironic given the fact that the Carson supporter who published the material was a member of the GLBT community. The Carson campaign pitched the information to the mainstream media, but none of them took the bait, figuring the poor guy didn't have a chance, why beat him up further.

The Carson campaign repeated this sort of dirty campaigning in the fall election when it dug up a 15-year-old arrest record involving an alleged crime for which her Republican African-American opponent, Eric Dickerson, had never been convicted. The issue involved domestic abuse and was raised by Rep. Carson herself in an interview with the Star's editorial staff. Never mind that Carson herself had a well-known reputation for her own marital discord with her former husband, which sometimes became public and extremely ugly. This time the Carson folks hit pay dirt and the local media ran with the story just like they had hoped. The Star even endorsed the ineffective Carson. For good measure, the DCCC targeted a mailing raising the issue to the mostly-white areas of the 7th congressional district, playing on their worst stereotypes of black men. Carson won, but barely. Even though Dickerson spent little more than $50,000 in the race without any party backing, he still managed to pull nearly 47% of the vote, one of Carson's closest victories.

And so you have it. The Democrats nominate another Carson, this one even more incompetent and unqualified than his grandmother, whose 12-year congressional record proves she accomplished virtually nothing for all her years of service. The younger Carson has spent his young adult career working in government jobs his grandmother got for him with her political connections. The voters of the 7th District are repulsed by the choice the Democratic Party has served up to them. The Democrats know this, and they understand the only way Carson can beat Elrod in next month's election is to smear him as much as possible between now and election day. Their hope is that they can drive up Elrod's negatives enough to turn off voters so they won't bother to vote in the special election, which historically draw a small number of voters anyway, thereby paving the way for their underwhelming and unqualified candidate. Don't you just love politics?


Anonymous said...

I hope it is goodbye Carson and the stranglehold over the 7th. Went to send an email to house rep. regarding an issue forgetting that I have no rep, and haven't for years.

Anonymous said...

Rep Mays will siphon primary votes away from Andre, and Carson's backers know it. That's a sad statement because Carolene is a DINO and a sorry legislator. The only D primary candidate who has a clean path to victory, without voters getting peeled away drip-by-drip, is David O. He could win with 30-35% of the total.

I haven't heard a whisper campaign about Jon Elrod yet, but then I'm guessing that I wouldn't, given that I'm a Democrat.

I'm not ready to call the Carson name "ballot box poison' yet. I have nothing against the name itself. I am compeltely aghast at the method by which Andre was propelled into this nomination. My anger has nothing to do with his name, and everything to do with the lame explanations offered up by party regulars: especially considering, that every single D candidate against Andre is more experienced and qualified, by any reasonable measure.

Care to gauge that impression? Turn this around: Say that there was one Democratic candidate in a district whose Republican Congresswoman had just died. And there were a half-dozen potential Republicans running, only one with little or no experience, the rest well-qualified (wrong on many issues, mind you, but still, qualified).

The Center gand would be screaming their heads off about the qualifications and cronyism shown the slated Mar. 11 candidate. You know they would.

And they'd be RIGHT.

As for the Dickerson dirt, remember it was Julia herself that dropped that stink bomb on The Star's Editorial Board. It should've been a warning she was near the end, which I think she knew at the time: in all her past campaigns, she let someone else do the dirt-digging. Right, Peaches?

Anonymous said...

.....and the Carson legacy lives on...

Anonymous said...

Carson went negative because Wilson Allen told him to!
André is an idiot who can't think for himself, Wilson thinks for him.
If Wilson told him to jump off a bridge, he'd do it.
Wilson will probably come to the next city council meeting and tell André to hit indyernie so that he can say he saw Ernie started it.

I hope the voters send the Carson Machine packing away!

Anonymous said...

If you want to send the Carson machine packing, it starts with Wilson, Bill Crawford, Billy Breaux, Carl Slummer, Macy Johnson, and the concerned flunkies( aka clergy). Confused individuals and definitly disturbed.

Anonymous said...

it is quite a leap for you to take from connecting an article in the Star to claiming that Carson is starting a negative campaign. As the media reported, Elrod was on the taxpayer payroll while working on his political campaign. That is a no no anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Was there any video of Carson handing her ID card to another person so they could vote for her? I remember 'some' people excusing that significant bit of rule-breaking as 'doing her a favor'. I detect a heaping helping of 'do as I say, not as I do' mentality.

Anonymous said...

Carson is busy cultivating the "black vote" and has done nothing to speak to white people,
like me, about his relationship with
Farrakhan. I voted for his Grandmother everytime she ran. And,
I fully expect to vote to elect Senator Barak Obama as President of The United States! YES! America
needs change.
However, Andre Carson isn't someone I want on Barak's team.


Anonymous said...

I am white and Andre has repeatedly asked for my support and he will have it!!!!