Monday, September 1, 2008

Pawns Get Played

People warn that you never talk about the family of a friend. It's dangerous terrain.

Yeah, yeah. When have I ever listened before?

Last week Tyrion at the Bilerico Project reported that Mitch Daniels is filming a TV ad in which Sam Carson, the son of Julia Carson, endorses Daniels in front of Julia's politically historic house on North Park Avenue.

(This is not the only head-scratching move made by a Carson of late. You may all recall that Julia's grandson, Sam Jr., threw his name in to run against Marion County Democratic Party Chairman, Ed Treacy, only to withdraw days later).

I'm reluctant to attack party "mavericks," since "independent" instincts can help keep a party "clean." But this isn't "maverick" for the better interest of the party. This is a foolishly naïve gentleman embracing the opposing team thinking he'll get something, and he's getting played in the process.

Governor Danielsalaam knows that getting ANY Carson to endorse him, in particular, in front of that house, is political kiting. Governor Danielsalaam wants viewers to believe that Sam Carson is speaking "for the family."

You now how I know this? Because Sam Carson, void of the name "Carson," is nobody politically. A Sam Carson ad would be the equivalent of Mitch Daniels filming an endorsement from his gardener, accountant, or bartender. They might be salt-of-the-worth people, but nobody will vote based on those endorsements. This means Daniels wouldn't put Carson, or the house, in a commercial unless it bears a strong "meta-message."

Okay, pay attention, class. A political ad has "the message" and the "meta-message." The message is what you read on the screen or what the person says. But the "meta-message" is the larger symbolic content in the ad. A guy in a wheelchair might say, "I support Mitch Daniels because he does what he says he'll do." That's the message. But the symbolic meta-message is identity politics driven, and it says, "Mitch Daniels treats people like me well because he cared enough to put me in an ad, and he'll do the same for you."

Political consultants play the meta-message game with gender, race, age, religion, region (city vs. rural), socioeconomic status (factory workers versus guys in suits) and sexual orientation as well, which is why many political ads look like commercials for the United Colors of Benetton.

The coup part of such a Carson for Mitch ad, if it airs, is that a large group of people who know Julia's house and see it as a staging point for progressive change might think Daniels must have been okay in Julia's mind. But this idea stands false. In no universe would Julia Carson endorse Mitch Daniels.

As a student of political tactics, I tip my hat to Governor Danielsalaam for this major coup. But I also don't mind telling him that he needs to take a shower once this airs because he just went gutter.



Anonymous said...

Oh, so true....there is probably something Sam wants in return......

Jon E. Easter said...

Well, Bill Clinton had Roger. Jimmy Carter had Billy. George H.W. has W. and Neal. You really can't pick your family.

The next step would be for André to come out and film a spot for Jill Long Thompson talking about how his grandmother liked Jill...etc. (Don't know if that's true, but it's politics).

That would be called "trumping Daniels' "10" with an ace."

Anonymous said...

That would be forcing Jill to spend time and money defending turf she shouldn't have to defend.

And by the way, Andre would also be a political nobody without his last name.

Wilson46201 said...

André has the heart and compassion of Julia. Folk around Julia knew of André's abilities and politics. The name helped but he inherited her political organization... that was key.

Wilson46201 said...

Julia early on endorsed Schellinger in an attempt to get a decent gubernatorial candidate early. Sadly, she got sidetracked. (as did Peterson)

Julia Carson was as much a feminist as an African-American leader. You can be damn sure if Julia were still around she'd be campaigning for Jill!

Anonymous said...

I don't question that she'd be campaigning for Jill. Nor do I question that Andre inherited a political organization. What I said was that if Andre's last name was Smith or Jones, he'd still be a political nobody.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"Because Sam Carson, void of the name "Carson," is nobody politically."

Yea, that's right...and Andre Carson, void of the name "Carson," would still be a total loser.

Now he's just a pandering loser.

Anonymous said...

Sam Carson is around town pimping himself as Andre Carson's brokerer, asking folks in the community 'what' they WANT. Those who I've spoken with claim he doesn't have any power, but is just using his influence with Andre Carson's office. Sounds familiar? Thats exactly what the Ghetto mafia did, especially when Julia become sick, distant and incoherent. Some claim Julia was great at some point, she may have been but I've never seen it, I've only seen the ghetto mafia's exploitation of her, but I've only been following politics for a few years now and she was sick by that time.

Then again, I've never been on public assistance and therefore needed her services which seemed to be the focus of her constituent services directed toward black people.

Does the Carson family have no shame.

Anonymous said...

You are correct in that you are out of touch if you think that Julia Carson was only interested in doling out assistance to black people. Julia expected that recipients of all races take steps to get off assistance and if they didn't, she cut them off.