But that doesn't mean Hoosiers don't care about social values.
In a conservative state like Indiana, with a socially conservative Republican like Mike Pence running for governor, you’d think topics like abortion and gay marriage would figure heavily in the race. But the so-called “social issues” have been largely absent in a campaign focused mostly on jobs and the economy.
Not that those issues aren’t always there, lurking just below the surface. The idiotic comments by Missouri Republican Todd Akin about “legitimate rape” reminded us of that; he later explained he was merely trying to differentiate forcible rape and statutory rape. It turns out that Pence (not to mention Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly) voted for legislation that would separate out forcible rape when it comes to federal funding of abortions, The Associated Press reported.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg seems frustrated by Pence’s silence on social issues, obviously because he thinks Pence’s views are extreme even for Hoosiers. He also seems perplexed over what to do about it. On the one hand, he complains that Pence seems to be hiding from his voting record in Congress by “saying you’re about jobs and disregard your past.” On the other hand, he keeps telling audiences that he prefers to “focus on jobs, not social issues” as if Pence is doing nothing but talking about social issues.
Political commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz of Indianapolis makes a good point about jobs and social issues in the gubernatorial race: More jobs, better education and greater economic stability are at the heart of all social issues. “More jobs and economic opportunities mean more stable families and fewer people on the government dole. More educational opportunities mean fewer dropouts and more students get a post-secondary education, which means fewer people trying to break into my house and get my stuff.”
That sounds about right. But that doesn’t mean voters don’t care about things like abortion and gay marriage. Being in tough economic circumstances might focus their thoughts elsewhere, but they still have values, and we doubt they are as far from Pence’s values as Gregg seems to think.
Good and bad energy news
Pence and Gregg are addressing Indiana’s energy needs, an important topic for Indiana’s economic future. The good news is that both of them are supportive of the coal industry, so vital in this state.
The further good news from Pence is that he says nuclear energy has to be part of the package. The bad news from Gregg is that he seems to be enamored of windmills, which are basically an expensive dead end for energy. Let’s hope he gets two out of three right and comes out against ethanol, so we can have at least our corn back.