Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kim Brown....Part Deux

How many "family connections" does my party think I can take? Let's be frank. It's every Democrat's torture that we revere the Kennedys, a family that set the table for decades of rampant nepotism. And some Democrats (the moderate and conservative ones) contend we only HAVE an Indiana Democratic Party because a guy named Evan Bayh decided his Dad's gig seemed pretty good. But don't we also have to admit that at least in those cases, the bona fides were in place before the candidacies? Don't many of us say Robert Kennedy would have been a BETTER president than the sibling he served?

Contrast this with Kim Brown, who was ranked 30th out of 33 judicial candidates by the Indianapolis Bar Association, with only 58% of the people who appeared before her saying she should be a judge. Source:

In my opinion, Kim Brown's campaign can't be more than arrogance, riding on the coattails of her sister, and faith in the value of alphabetic ballot placement in down ticket races. No, Kim isn't Robert to Linda's John. She's more like Woody Burton to Dan Burton. In both cases, without the latter, would the former even be a blip on your political radar screen?

Same thing with Dane Mahern. I voted for Mary Ann Sullivan at slating, but I was torn. I think Dane would have run a good race. He knows the district, he had a good message, and I think he would have worked hard. But would he be a councilor without the Mahern name? I revered the oratorical skills of his Uncle Lou when he was in the Senate, but that couldn't stop the Mahern name from dooming him with me. What ultimately swung my vote was this thought: "Holy crap, man! How many Maherns can we send to the Indiana General Assembly to become lobbyists? How many Maherns can we possibly get on the city counsel at one time? At some point, don't we all just have to say, "This is too much power in one family!" regardless of how "credentialed" we believe they are? Imagine how we feel when the candidate ISN'T particularly well-credentialed.

As Democrats, we LOVE to say how we hate trust fund kids who haven't "earned it," but we have a whale of a time shaking political aristocracy in our own party. Who? Oh, yeah. Andre Carson. (He's a later blog, too).

I really hope the leaders of my party can "grow a set" and start telling family members that they don't get a free ride, in particular when they're putting their finger in the eye of the party's workforce. I know the party generally "buys out" its opponents to make them play nice, but I hope this time they flex the muscle to just defeat Kim Brown outright without offering her anything. There have to be consequences for running against the slate, or the flood gates are going to open.

Now, people may correctly point out that a slated judge, Garland Graves, ranked even lower than Kim Brown under the IBA system. This is a very fair criticism. But if you look at the rankings, people like Mr. Graves who were attorneys (not judges) almost all ranked lower than sitting judges. One wonders whether this is because few people on the opposite side of an advocate will see "fairness" or "even temperament," in particular when the advocate is zealous in his/her representation. In other words, many of the "lawyers" were rated low on characteristics they never had a chance to exhibit by virtue of their vocation. BUT if you ranked low AS a judge, that is REALLY unflattering.


Cackles About Ackles....Kim Brown is next.

KUDOS to whoever in the Marion County Democratic Party served as the fulcrum that wedged Dr. Ackles off the ballot. This takes the fire out of my "search for truth" about his selection, so I'm moving on to my next pet peeve. I will offer that many "informed sources" say we wanted diversity and lacked any other "diverse" candidate, most likely because it's the rare to find one with medical experience content with an anemic coroner's salary. But the notion of diversity leads me to....our need for diversity from the same friggin' family.

With the withdraw of Republican Judges Miller and Johnson, there is now one judge running against the slate in Marion County. Democrat Kim Brown....come on down! You're the next contestant on "Running on My Family's Coattails!"

Ms. Brown is taking a cue from her big sister, Marion Superior Court Judge Linda Brown, who also got into office running against the slate. In the interest of full disclosure, I served on the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association with Judge Linda Brown, and I had always been a HUGE fan of hers. When she ran against the slate, I was angry, but I let it pass quickly because of my affinity for her. Herein lies the problem with the Marion County Democratic Party (and maybe the Republicans as well, though I haven't seen it to the same degree). We have a hard time telling family and friends of those who hold our offices or who have influence in our party the following: "Sorry, but you're (insert family or business relationship here) isn't what's best for our party, and they damn sure shouldn't be running against slated candidates!" (Stay tuned for an entry on "slating" injustice!)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The search is on...

...welcome to my blog! In the interest of "radical honesty," I have no idea what I'm doing yet, so who knows how this will pan out. I think my first post will be an investigation into how a party that was controlling the county recruited such an embarrassingly incompetent candidate for county coroner. Specifically, who brought this man to the forefront, who signed off on his candidacy, and why, oh, why, were we unable to find somebody else to run in 2008? Stay won't want to miss this.