Yesterday, Politico’s Manu Raju filed a report on the independent candidacy of Greg Orman, who is challenging Kansas Republican Pat Roberts for a Senate seat. If you follow the race closely, it does not provide much new information: Orman is cagey about where he stands but clearly goes left; he has some politically troublesome business associations; meanwhile, Roberts is unpopular and is definitely trailing.
These were the paragraphs that struck me:
Orman, who has avoided saying which party he’d caucus with in an evenly split Senate, declined to be interviewed for this story. At a coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas last week, he was asked if he thought his wealth would be an asset or liability for his campaign.
“You know, I haven’t thought of it,” he told reporters.
First, why not talk to Politico? It is not like it was a particularly hard-hitting story. Anyway, Orman could use the kind of national exposure that Politico brings -- at least if he hopes to raise the scratch necessary to withstand the impending Republican ad barrage.
But this is of a piece with the second item -- his refusal to answer a pretty simple, straightforward question about his wealth. “You know, I haven’t thought of it.”
From what I have read, that line could be Orman’s campaign slogan. He does not have a lot to say about specific issues, nor has he ostensibly given much thought to … very much anything at all. This tweet from NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, who did somehow manage to interview Orman, was positively gobstopping:
This is nonsense on stilts. Shifting loyalties in the Senate in the middle of a Congress would require a massive reorganization of staff, money, and infrastructure. The idea of switching back and forth every couple months is absurdly impractical. Anybody who is in serious contention for a Senate seat a month out should know better.
At this point, this race is reminding me of Saturday Night Live’s parody of the 1988 presidential debate -- with Orman as the Vice President Bush character and Roberts as Michael Dukakis:
Kevin Nealon (as Sam Donaldson): Vice-President Bush, there are millions of homeless in this country - children who go hungry, and lacking in other basic necessities. How would the Bush administration achieve your stated goal of making this a kinder, gentler nation?
Dana Carvey (as George Bush): Well, that is a big problem, Sam, and unfortunately the format of these debates makes it hard to give you a complete answer. If I had more time, I could spell out the program in greater detail, but I'm afraid, in a short answer like this, all I can say is we're on track - we can do more - but we're getting the job done, so let's stay on course, a thousand points of light. Well, unfortunately, I guess my time is up.
Jan Hooks (as Diane Sawyer): Mr. Vice-President, you still have a minute-twenty.
Carvey/Bush: What? That can't be right. I must have spoken for at least two minutes.
Hooks/Sawyer: No, just forty seconds, Mr. Vice-President.
Carvey/Bush: Really? Well, if I didn't use the time then, I must have just used the time now, talking about it.
Hooks/Sawyer: No, no, Mr. Vice-President, it's not being counted against you.