Updated: Jan 6
Former President Obama last week said, “Even if we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality. The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
As posts began to flow in response, a comment was made drawing a comparison between Kara Eastman’s campaign and the essence of what President Obama had to say. The comparison drew a defense of Eastman based on the illusive word “if.” If this had not happened or if that had not happened, Kara would have won.
In the spirit of the exchange, let me add a few “ifs” of my own. If Kara’s campaign had not been brilliantly managed; If she had not had an amazing amount of money pumped in from outside special interests; If she had not spent a lifetime doing good works; If the public had been aware of the full implications of some of her policy positions; and If she had not been a kind and charming woman, she would have lost her race by nine points or more. I know that is hard to hear, but it is nevertheless true.
There are two major reasons for my conviction, and they stand as a strong indicator of why Kara Eastman should not be our nominee in 2020. I don’t like to hurt anyone, especially someone who is good and kind, but if we are to win as a Party, we need to understand our passion can only move numbers so far. In a democracy numbers are all that matter.
The first reason, as I mentioned in a blog a couple of weeks ago, is that campaigns need to be honest, positive, local and reasonable to be successful. You buy things all the time. How often do you buy something from someone who is obsessed with complaining and negativity? Throughout her last campaign, Kara was almost exclusively negative, focused on presidential politics and policies that seemed more in tune with New York or Chicago than Omaha. I heard her speak only a week ago, and her tune has not changed. Her message did not land even with a crowd that was exclusively Democrats.
My second even more concerning reason is her stand in favor of Medicare for All. Most of us agree that everyone in America should be covered one way or another, but Medicare for All is exactly what President Obama was talking about. As presently conceived, the plans are not grounded in reality, and people are not inclined to give up the coverage or system they have for some pie-in-sky notion. Especially, when there is literally no way to pay for it – even if we tax the rich out of all their money.
But my biggest problem with Kara’s stance on Medicare for All is that it would destroy the economy of Omaha. It would literally cause thousands of our friends and neighbors that work in the insurance industry to lose their jobs, and the cascading effect would have an even greater impact on our economy as a whole. Understanding why a candidate from Omaha would think Medicare for All is a good centerpiece for her campaign for congress is an absolutely baffling proposition. Our congresswoman is supposed to watch over us and take care of us, not sell us down the river to an interest group focused only on themselves.