Nebraska Senate hopeful Bob Kerrey, once considered a potential Democratic presidential contender in his previous Senate stint, is skipping the party’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week because, he says, fellow Democrats don’t want to hear the dose of reality he’d bring.
“I am not there because what I have to say to my party is not very welcome,” Mr. Kerrey, who trails in the polls by double digits to Republican Deb Fischer in his political comeback bid, said at an Omaha, Neb., news conference on Tuesday.
“If I were there, I would say that our biggest budget problem — the growing cost of federal retirement programs — was not caused by the Republicans. It wasn’t caused by the Democrats either, for that matter. It was caused by politicians of both parties promising more and more generous benefits to voters over the age of 65 in an effort to win their support at election time,” he said.
Ms. Fischer addressed the GOP gathering in Tampa last week and is seen as one of her party’s best hopes to pick up a Democratic Senate seat this fall, as two-term Democrat Ben Nelson retires.
As Democrats strive for unity in Charlotte, and as President Obama’s re-election team tries to assure the nation that it is better off than it was four years ago, Mr. Kerrey continues to take a different tack. He has embraced the role of the alarmist, criticizing his own party for not taking the nation’s fiscal troubles seriously enough.
“If I were in Charlotte, I would tell Democrats that time is not on our side,” he said. “America does not need more applause lines. America needs solutions to our problems, not salvos that solve the problems of our political parties.”