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.



Exit 465 said...

Hey, Chris, great blog. This is very timely, and your posts couldn't be more on target.

There's a lot of talk about the Carson/Elrod race over A lot of Dems, myself included, can't believe this pick and are seriously considering or already decided to vote R this time.

Welcome to the Indy-centric blogging community. I will add you to my blogroll (

Jason said...

Being objective truly can be painful. I agree that we shouldn't elect a candidate because of his or her name. That makes no sense.

But I wouldn't NOT elect a qualified candidate because of his or her name either. Seems like you could be missing out on something.