Tag Archives: Gregg

The First Encouraging Sign

If reports are correct, later today John Gregg will finally announce a smart decision–one that will actually motivate, rather than depress, his Democratic base. According to Jim Shella, Gregg will announce that Vi Simpson will be his running mate.

One of my Facebook friends posted that she will “gag less” when she votes. Another noted that–while a Simpson/Gregg ticket would be better than a Gregg/Simpson one–the choice meant that he, too, would be a more enthusiastic supporter.

Vi Simpson brings major assets to the campaign. Cynics will attribute the choice to gender; Mike Pence picked a woman running mate, presumably to blunt the impact of the Republican war on women, so they’ll shrug and say Gregg countered with a female running mate of his own.

The cynics couldn’t be more wrong. Vi Simpson brings party legitimacy, legislative savvy and uncommon principle to the ticket. A long-serving, well-liked and effective legislator and party leader, she has also earned a reputation for calling it like it is. She has been a standard-bearer for doing the right thing–and not just for women. Thanks to her years of service, she also has instant name recognition.

Contrast that with Pence’s running mate, a freshman legislator few people have ever heard of, a woman who (among other things) voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and is thus unlikely to help him with women voters alienated by the GOPs assault on contraception and reproductive rights.

The November election is now a contest between a team of experienced public servants and a team composed of an ideologue who has never passed a bill and an unknown freshman legislator obviously chosen for her gender. If Hoosiers actually want their government to work–an open question, admittedly–the choice is now clear.

Game on.

Indiana’s Choice

Now that the primaries are over, and the outlines of the gubernatorial campaign are getting clearer, it is beginning to look as if Hoosiers will have a choice between a candidate with bad ideas and one with no ideas.

The Star reports that Democrat John Gregg is advocating both a tax cut for businesses and the elimination of Indiana’s gasoline tax. He proposes to make up the lost gas tax revenue by “better management.” This at a time when government is struggling to provide basic services, and when all available evidence rebuts the tired rhetoric about tax cuts generating jobs and government funding services by cutting “waste.”

Add to these positions his anti-choice and anti-gay-rights pronouncements, and apparently, Gregg has decided to campaign as the non-Pence Republican.

Meanwhile, Pence has refused to take any policy positions. In 11+ years in Congress, he never passed a bill. He’s never held an administrative position, and–to use a Republican talking point–never made a payroll. He has never disclosed the slightest interest in the complexities of public policy.  The only thing he has done is sermonize and hector. In fact, given his holier-than-thou persona, it’s odd he didn’t just go into the clergy.

Unfortunately, one of these men will win in November. Rupert Boneham, the libertarian who has thus far made more sense than either of them, is simply not viable in a state and country that doesn’t elect third-party candidates.

So our choice–as my son frequently notes– is between a competent conservative from the 1950s, and a posturing theocrat from the 1590s.



Indiana’s Hangover

Well, we’ve had our “party”–yesterday was Primary Election day.

Today, we have to live with the hangover.

The most troubling result, of course, was the defeat of Dick Lugar by an embarrassing know-nothing unworthy to polish his shoes. I have posted several times about the pathetic campaign run by a once-towering statesman. Truth be told, Lugar has moved steadily to the right as the party’s base has migrated to the fringes, and a dignified retirement might have rescued his legacy. That said, to see a man of genuine stature defeated by a cartoon was hard to take.

Add to that ignominious defeat the victories of equally noxious GOP congressional candidates in safe districts–districts where the Primary is for all intents and purposes THE election–and Indianapolis and Indiana can kiss all of the good PR we generated from the SuperBowl good-by. By our dingbats we shall be known….

The open question is: what will Hoosiers do in November? Will we confirm our status as a buckle on the Bible Belt, electing Mike Pence (who, in his years in Congress, never managed to pass a single bill, but spent LOTS of time talking about what God wanted) and Tea Partier Richard Mourdock? Or will we come to our senses?

The Democrats running for Governor and Senator are, by national standards, conservative. (As my youngest son says about the Gregg-Pence matchup, we have a choice: we can go back to the 1950s or the 1590s.) Joe Donnelly is a “blue dog.” Neither will satisfy true progressives. But both are good people, savvy and compassionate and vastly preferable to Pence and Mourdock.

To all my Republican friends who voted for Dick Lugar, and all my Democratic friends who swallowed hard, took a GOP Primary ballot and did likewise, let me echo the Facebook message posted this morning by a friend from Lafayette: Our job is to ensure that there is NEVER a Senator Mourdock. To which I’ll add: or a Governor Pence.

The last thing we need is “hair of the dog.”

Voting for Indiana

I see that John Gregg is throwing the proverbial hat in the ring, and running for Governor against Pious Mike Pence.

I know relatively little about Gregg.  What I do know is that he was once Speaker of the Indiana House, that he is more socially conservative than I am, and that he’s a folksy public speaker. But I really don’t need to know much more, because I do know Mike Pence. And I also know that the last thing Indiana needs is a preacher-in-chief–a Governor with an extreme religious agenda and a very limited grasp of Constitutional history and principles. (Whether that “limited grasp” is a matter of political convenience or genuine ignorance is irrelevant in this context.)

We have seen the harm that can be done when a crop of zealots is elected to the legislature only to be enabled by a Governor who really does know better, but who sacrifices sound policy (not to mention human compassion) to political expediency. The last thing Indiana needs is a Governor who would be a cheerleader for the intolerant, “Christian Nation” elements of that legislature.

I’ve heard very good things about John Gregg, and I hope they are true. But he has my vote because he isn’t Mike Pence.