Debate Analysis From KC Star: Pat Roberts fails to scare anybody with Harry Reid talk; Greg Orman shines in debate

Debate Analysis From KC Star: Pat Roberts fails to scare anybody with Harry Reid talk; Greg Orman shines in debate

Barbara Shellythe
The Kansas City Star

While a sour Pat Roberts attempted to scare Kansans Wednesday with the spectre of another four years with Harry Reid as majority leader of the U.S. Senate, his opponent Greg Orman talked knowledgeably about the nation’s problems and ways to resolve them.

Roberts may yet win his bid for a fourth term, but not on the strength of this debate before an audience of business types in Johnson County. The Republican incumbent muttered about the evils of Reid in every one of his responses to questions, usually throwing in something about President Barack Obama as well. His focus on Reid quickly turned comical. But he proposed very few solutions to any of the problems raised, other than replacing Reid with a Republican.

Orman, who is running as an independent, showed he was versed on issues ranging from health care to immigration to tax policy. Instead of casting blame, he talked about solutions.

Roberts did his best to paint Orman as a liberal Democrat who won’t take a position on much of everything. Trying to nail Orman down, he said in his closing statement, is like “trying to nail jello to the wall.”

Unfortunately, anybody listening had just spent an hour hearing Orman clearly articulate positions on a variety of topics. He sounded nuanced, not evasive. That is not a bad thing.

Take the question on tax policy.

“You won’t have tax reform with Harry Reid in charge,” Robert said, and went on in that vein for awhile.

Orman talked about reforming the tax code to bring it more in line with that of U.S. trading partners, and the problems with picking winners and losers.

One could only conclude that Orman would go to Washington with ideas while Roberts would shuffle back to D.C. to continue blaming the Democrats for whatever has gone wrong.

Roberts told the audience that “our way of life is at a tipping point.” Meaning, I guess, that another few years of Harry Reid would send us over the edge to whereever. He didn’t elaborate, but I guess we’re supposed to be worried.

Orman said, “What frightens me is two parties that are more interested in seeing the other party fail than in seeing the country succeed.”

That makes a lot more sense.

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