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.