Last week, Evan Bayh's campaign asked Republicans to leave his two twin boys out of the campaign after Bayh used the 20-year-old twins in a campaign ad.
The ad is one I'm sure you've seen. Bayh is refuting some of the claims against his post-Senate career and touting his record as a legislator and as Governor of Indiana. In the last scene, he lobs up a basketball for his son Beau to slam home, and the ball goes in. It's a nice moment, and the smile from Beau is a truly awesome moment you don't see in campaign ads too often.
The "boys" as we've come to know them are all grown up. They love their dad, and it's great to see them stumping for them. I love the ad.
Of course the GOP was quick to criticize that both Beau and Nick attend Harvard and largely grew up outside the Hoosier State. They also point out that the Indiana Pacers and Indiana State gear they are sporting in the ad may have been even more of an attempt to refute the anti-Hoosier charge that Bayh has had to beat back over the last few weeks from those loyal to Todd Young.
Bayh's request to leave his twins alone is noble but misplaced. If a politician is actively attempting to shield his family from the limelight, I would totally agree with Bayh's request to leave his sons out of this. That said, Beau and Nick are 20-year-old men now, and, after all, it was the campaign's decision to bring them into this fight. No one forced Bayh to make an ad with his sons.
So, let's move to the second part of this. Is the attack isn't unfair or overly nasty? If the Republicans had just attacked with "his sons go to Harvard" without any pretext, I might agree more with Bayh. That said, Beau and Nick Bayh are stars of a campaign ad with their father that is, in fact, trying to portray him as more Hoosier.
For this reason, I don't think that the discussion of the twins in the context of this ad is out of bounds at all.
I think it's a particularly weak argument though. The GOP's attacks that the Bayh family isn't Hoosier enough requires some definition for me. Beau and Nick may have grown up somewhere else, but they were born in Indiana. They are Hoosier by birth. Evan Bayh is a Hoosier, too. If Beau and Nick identify as Hoosiers, that's all I need. Evan and Susan Bayh have every reason to be proud of their two sons. Twins...at Harvard? That's impressive. I congratulate them.
Something tells me that Beau and Nick are capable of taking care of themselves. Whatever happens in this campaign with their father, they clearly have long, successful careers ahead of them...in the family business or otherwise.