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Opening Arguments

Unequal pairs

The fact that both Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg picked female running mates in their gubernatorial matchup drew this odd sex- and race-conscious paragraph out of The Associated Press:

The announcements virtually guarantee that Indiana will continue its string of white, male governors who have a white woman as second in command. Gov. Mitch Daniels has run Indiana since 2005 with Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, and former Gov. Joe Kernan chose Indiana's first female lieutenant governor, Kathy Davis, in 2003.

Boy, talk about going out of the way to diminish a progressive breakthrough. Yeah, well, OK, woman are making it into the second-in-command slot, but they're just white women.

Here's what's really interesting about the choices. In State Rep. Sue Ellsperman, Pence chose someone who's very much on the same philosophical page that he is, strongly supporting such conservative causes as private school vouchers and the right-to-work law. This will allow Democrats to paint them as a zealous rightwing pair out of step with Indiana. But they need to be careful about pushing that message too strongly. In choosing  State Rep. Vi Simpson, Gregg went someone from the most liberal wing of the party, and i'ts being said that if might shore up his support among the base that might be upset with Gregg's anti-abortion stance and opposition to same-sex marriage.

The most important qualification for lieutenant governor is the ability to immediately take over if something happens to the governor. If something happened to Pence, Hoosiers would get a replacement who sees the world the way he does and would act accordingly. The same can't be said about Gregg and Simpson.