My sources tell me that Mitch Daniels has been shooting a commercial at the home of the late Congresswomen, Julia Carson. For more than three decades, Julia organized her supporters from the house on north Park Avenue. The house, now in probate and occupied by Julia's son, Sam Carson, holds great symbolic importance to Julia's supporters, as well as to many citizens of the Fall Creek neighborhood and Indianapolis at large. Nevertheless, if my sources are correct, a commercial featuring Sam Carson's endorsement of Mitch Daniels will use the home as its set, in what appears to be both a vile and pointless attempt to appropriate Julia's legacy.
Let's be clear: Julia would never, not in a million years, have supported Mitch Daniel's bid for reelection. It's no secret that André Carson, Julia's grandson and successor in the House, has put his full, enthusiastic support behind Daniels' Democratic opponent, Jill Long Thompson. While Julia and Mitch were publicly cordial, they couldn't be more different in their approach to government and politics. Julia was a tireless advocate for all of Indiana's citizens. Daniels, first as OMB Director for the Bush Administration and now as Indiana Governor, has been a tireless advocate for the wealthy and multinational corporations. His administration's disastrous record on providing services to low-income citizens stands in stark contrast to so much of the community activism Julia ran out of her home - activism which took as its focus making sure government was responsive to even the poorest and most marginalized Hoosiers.
Updated at the End
Sam Carson is his own man and his support for Mitch Daniels has been a matter of public record for some time. Given the world of difference between the governor and his mother, it's difficult to understand what Sam sees in Mitch. Maybe Sam naively believes Mitch will be more receptive to a quid pro quo if Sam butters Mitch up politically.
Regardless, publicizing Sam Carson's support to trade on the Carson name in Indianapolis is tacky and classless. It won't fool anyone or win any votes, so it just seems like a petty jab at Democrats from the Governor - a way for the Governor to fan the flames in somebody else's house.
But using Julia's home to do it? That's not just tacky and classless. That's downright disgusting. Julia's home is a symbol of her legacy. It's a material reminder of the countless hours she poured into her community. It's a monument to her efforts. Mitch didn't join her efforts. He opposed them. Indeed, Julia was often trying specifically to undo the damage wrought on her community by the policies of George W. Bush and his crony, Mitch Daniels. To appropriate that monument in his reelection campaign is brazenly disrespectful to Julia's legacy.
While it would be impossible to tarnish Julia's legacy, associating it with the malicious incompetence of the Daniels Administration is about as close as you can come. Mitch Daniels should be ashamed.
Updated 4:18 PM EST, August 25, 2008
To be clear, the Sam Carson in question is Julia's son not grandson. Julia's grandson, Sam Jr., recently made an abortive run for Chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, but it's his father, Sam Sr., who is endorsing Mitch Daniels. Jim Shella reported last month that Sam Sr. was volunteering for the Daniels campaign.