In Kansas, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts has focused the message of his campaign not on issues or his record, but on his opponent, independent Greg Orman. Specifically, his campaign has been defined by a continuous stream of negative ads characterizing Orman as a Harry Reid Democrat hiding as an independent.CNN and others continue to ask, "which party will Orman caucus with?" -- demonstrating once again that the media itself is part of the partisan problem. Truth is Orman doesn't have to caucus with either one of the major parties and his record suggests that he might just be exactly what he claims to be:
Traditional Republicans for Common Sense
In September, more than 70 former Kansas Republican lawmakers endorsed Greg Orman through the group Traditional Republicans for Common Sense.
The group represents moderate Republicans who are tired of the endless political backbiting of partisanship.
Rochelle Chronister, a member who has also served as the chair of the Kansas Republican Party, stated that Orman is a pragmatist who could broker compromises between the two parties in the most do-nothing environment ever.
Affordable Care ActOrman is against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but is also a realist -- it is very hard to undo laws once in place without hurting businesses and consumers.
Orman has openly spoken out against the American health care system, stating that it was broken before and after Obamacare.
As a businessman, he has faced the reality of insurance premiums rising each year, and that these increases only hurt employers trying to expand and employees' paychecks.
Orman has stated that his goal is to protect businesses, consumers, and the health care system, not just undermining "unpopular" legislation.
ImmigrationBut he does acknowledge that Kansas' own industry would be crippled if we attempted a wholesale deportation program of the 11 million illegals in the United States.
The meatpacking industries and agriculture of Kansas have historically relied on illegal immigrants to fill jobs that couldn't be filled locally. and while this is part of the overall problem, a quick fix isn't going to help anyone.
Orman has repeatedly stated that current illegals should have to perform community service or pay fines before they are given the opportunity to apply for citizenship -- or face deportation.
Orman believes the U.S. tax system is too complicated, favors some more than others, encourages expatriation of funds and companies, and then punishes businesses when they try to bring assets back into the United States from abroad.
Orman also believes our country should live within its means and that both parties are to blame for expanding debt and credit downgrades.
Democrats Would Accuse Him of Being a Republican
With his conservative stance on many issues, would he be treated as a Republican if running against a Democrat this year?While Roberts likes to push the hot-button that Orman has contributed to Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, the facts say something different -- most importantly that he's supported both sides.
Orman supported Obama for his first term, yet threw his support behind Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. In 2010, he donated to former Republican Scott Brown's campaign to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts in his efforts to keep Obamacare from passing.
Orman has stated that he's tried both parties and didn't fit in with either. His mixed politics and centrist positions would make associating him with the "enemy" a viable tactic regardless of which party he ran against.
Is Refusing to Commit to a Party Really a Bad Thing?
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of his Republican and Democratic beliefs, the most criticism Orman gets is over his refusal to commit to caucus with the Republican or Democratic Party -- not over particular issues.
There was even speculation that Milton Wolf, the tea party candidate in the primary election, would have endorsed Orman if he had only promised to caucus as a Republican.
Joe Biden was reportedly quoted on Tuesday saying that Orman was a sure thing to join with the Democrats, but Biden also said Democrats would keep the majority. Orman has repeatedly stated that he will caucus with the majority, but declined to comment on what he would do if he were the deciding factor.
Refusing to commit to caucusing one way or another may be a wise decision for Orman. As pointed out on IVN, independent senators may hold the power to force the parties to compromise as their critical votes may hold the balance of power.
Photo Source: AP