Greg Orman would seem to be the definition of a self-made millionaire and successful businessman.
Orman would like to add governor of Kansas to that resume´.
It isn’t going to happen.
When Orman announced his candidacy as an Independent, we thought the political landscape would make him a viable contender in a three-way race in which neither the Republican nor Democratic candidates were particularly popular or well-known.
And then Kris Kobach became the Republican nominee. At the moment Gov. Jeff Colyer gave his concession speech, Orman’s hopes of being the next governor disappeared.
It’s not that Orman might not be a good governor. He has some good ideas, such as requiring KanCare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices and calling for a truce in the tax break war between Kansas and Missouri when trying to lure businesses across the border.
Maybe his business experience trumps the background that either Laura Kelly or Kris Kobach have when it comes to running a $17 billion enterprise known as state government.
It’s hard to say whether bringing a different perspective will make Orman a better governor. We won’t find out over the next four years because Orman isn’t going to be elected.
Even if all the stars were lined up perfectly Orman was a longshot. By becoming the Republican nominee, Kobach completely disrupted the cosmos.
That’s because Kobach scares a lot of Kansans ... and he should.
Kobach feels the only reason the Brownback tax cuts failed was because state spending wasn’t slashed enough. We didn’t deprive enough poor children of meals, create enough potholes in our highways, axe enough teaching positions from our public schools, underfund KPERS enough or force a high enough increase in university tuition fees.
Had Kansans been willing to suffer just a little more, the Brownback tax cuts would have worked like a gem.
Kobach promises to fix that.
And roughly 42 percent of voters in Kansas believe he will, which gives new meaning to the Russian proverb, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Yes, the only voter fraud in Kansas is being committed by those who can vote legally but refuse to learn from the past.
Kelly has also been polling at about 42 percent, which means the remaining 16 percent of voters — moderate Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated — will decide the fate of Kansas when they enter the voting booth.
Polls consistently show Orman getting about 10 percent of the vote. Orman dismisses the low numbers, saying, “I can manufacture a poll that would have my 3-year-old daughter winning this election.”
However, his 3-year-old daughter isn’t a candidate.
Regardless of how much Orman chooses to discount the meaning of these polls, or how much traction he thinks he can manufacture over the next couple of weeks, Orman isn’t going to overtake Kelly or Kobach.
Neither will his 3-year-old daughter.
Orman acknowledges that his biggest obstacle — at least one of them — is fear that a vote for him is essentially a vote for Kelly or Kobach. Rest assured that a vote for Orman is not one less vote for Kobach.
Fear, however, is a factor in this race. Anyone who truly cares about Kansas should fear Kobach sitting in the governor’s office. That’s why Orman remains in political purgatory with only 10 percent of the vote.
Despite how Orman tries to spin it, he isn’t stealing votes from those who won’t be happy unless they can experience four more years of the Brownback debacle. He’s drawing votes from Kansans who are seeking a more reasonable alternative than the Republican Party is offering.
“I tell people that a vote for me isn’t a vote for Kobach or a vote for Kelly. It’s a vote for Kansas and that’s how people need to think about it,” says Orman.
That makes a good sound bite, but it ignores reality.
Orman is apparently a bright businessman and, we assume, a politician who cares about Kansas.
A good businessman knows when to cut his losses. A politician who is seeking office for the right reason will put the well-being of the constituency he wishes to serve ahead of his own personal ambitions.
Orman has the opportunity to do both. He has the choice between pursuing a fool’s errand or doing what’s best for Kansas and bringing an end to his campaign.
It would be a show of character that could bode well for Orman if he chooses to remain relevant in Kansas politics. Or he can remain in this race as a spoiler and become little more than a footnote in Kansas politics.
Rod Haxton is publisher of The Scott County Record.