Friday, April 11, 2008

Myers (basically) calls Carson a "PAC Rat!"

Dr. Woody Myers has taken off the surgical gloves in the 7th District race. In a press release today, Dr. Myers takes issue with Carson's hypocrisy in claiming in a recent TV ad that “Lobbyists and CEOs have too much power in Washington," while Carson has received over $100,000 from PACs, lobbyists, and corporate CEOs.

As an initial thought, this attack gives credence to some rumored numbers on Advance Indiana showing Carson trailing David O. with Dr. Myers a close third. Most candidates get "rough and tumble" when they're within striking distance.

But more importantly, my thought is: "What a dilemma!"

What I like philosophically about Democrats is that they represent (or try to represent) "the little guy." Admittedly, the "little guy" sometimes means a BUNCH of little guys who form politically powerful things like IBEW 481. GO ELECTRICAL WORKERS! (Sorry, but those are my folks).

So, as a Democrat, I cling to the romantic notion that you don't need money to be a member of Congress. In theory, ANYBODY could get elected, I say to myself. So I'm conflicted when Woody Myers spends just shy of $1 million of his own money on this Congressional race when he's been living in California until recently.

Democrats are suspicious of money as "the great equalizer." We don't believe certain things, such as, ya know, DEMOCRACY, should be able to be bought by somebody who has money. (If it could be, Iraq would have paid to get theirs installed 10,000 times over already). And if not for a personal fortune, would a Hoosier native turned carpetbagger have any chance? I doubt it.

But if you don't have millionaires like Woody Myers running with their own money, and campaigns cost a million to run, how do the "regular" guys compete? Take Andre Carson. Working in law enforcement, you KNOW he made less than a lot of people, and I imagine his work with an engineering firm, while certainly better, wouldn't exceed the income of a law firm partner. To run for office then, Andre is probably going to HAVE to take money from PACs, lobbyists, and CEOs of SOMETHING, isn't he?

So, we're left to weigh competing values. Is it better to have a self-financed wealthy person or a person well-financed by "special interests?"

I tend to actually favor the wealthy candidates when I have a clear sense they'll serve those without means. Specifically, if Woody isn't buying power to ensure that millionaires like himself (the SUPER wealthy, as he might say) get to keep their tax cuts, then what's our worry? And what's our worry if Woody has the courage to look at his millionaire doctor friends and say, "You know what? Part of the reason health insurance is so expensive is because we make so much damn money, so physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies are all going to have to make less!"

Ultimately, this issue hinges on which money is more likely to pervert the theoretical "district will."

Not knowing Dr. Myers (and not having a voting record to review), I can't say, so I won't reach a final conclusion. However, I will offer the following thoughts:

(1) I'm HIGHLY suspicious anytime a PAC gives money to a member of Congress that has NO connection to the district in which the member resides. Examples in Carson's case are the Seafarers' PAC ($2,500), the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC ($2,000), the Florida Sugar Cane League's PAC ($500), and the Rural American Police Committee's PAC ($500).

The last time I checked Indianapolis wasn't RURAL anything, we had, at most, thirteen Cubans, we don't grow any sugar, and the closest thing we have to a SEA is Lake Schaffer, which is in a different congressional district.

Andre Carson, what in the world are you doing taking money from these groups?

Here's how the groups operate, folks. The sugar growers know they're going to already own the congressmen in their districts, but that's not good enough to get a majority. So they'll throw money around in districts that have NO sugar interests. What will the result be? Depending on how Andre Carson votes on sugar issues, maybe higher sugar prices for Indianapolis consumers. But only maybe. This leads me to my second point.

(2) The greatest skill a member of Congress has is making a "special interest" believe it will get something when the member knows damn well it never will. Charlie Rangel, the famous Harlem Democrat, is a genius in that way. His critics talk about him being insanely "liberal," but if you look at his balance sheet, he gets more corporate money than any member of Congress.

This is because his fundraising people are geniuses when it comes to playing corporate interests off of each other. Do the cable people have a fight with Direct TV? Charlie Rangel gets $5,000 from each. FedEx versus UPS? Charlie's got $5,000 from each. Bankers want to do mortgages? $5,000 from the Bankers AND the Mortgage Brokers. But NOBODY ever gets anything that doesn't benefit consumers in Charlie's district. Why these corporations even keep trying is borderline pathological. In essence, it's akin to the idea that it's better to be made fun of at the cool kids party then to not be invited at all.

Which gets me to Andre Carson. If Andre is of the Rangel mode, who cares what the sugar cane growers will give him because he'll give them nothing that the people of Indianapolis wouldn't give them as well. And if Carson can get money to improve I-70 by voting for some sanction against Cuba that doesn't hurt Indiana agricultural exports, I say "Viva la Cuba!"



Anonymous said...

What I resent is millionaire Woody Myers paying no propety tax on his 2.1 million dollar condo while my small home increased another $500 a year under Governor Daniels property tax relief plan passed by the legislature. This is the 3 increase in 4 years. It is obvious to me that Woody is in this for Woody and not for the people in the seventh district.

Chris Worden said...

Anon 5:22, If we're going to "resent" people for taking advantage of laws and ordinances that are passed, then I guess all the renters in Indianapolis should resent all the property owners who are getting relief. Your home didn't increase $500 on Daniels' plan. It probably increased $1,500 BEFORE any plan because they finally based the assessment on fair market value as was constitutionally mandated by the Indiana Supreme Court. If you're ONLY paying $500 more, it's because renters are paying more in sales taxes to give you a break. (Don't holler too loud, my friend. Your yells will come back at you).

artfuggins said...

but I also pay the increased 1% increased sales tax which was supposed to give me property tax relief...I could not begin to sell my home for the current assessed evaluation price..especially with outrageous property taxes now associated with it.