By Don Walton
It isn't as if Korey Reiman doesn't understand the challenge he faces.
Attempting to oust an established four-term Republican congressman in a presidential year in Nebraska is tough enough.
But Reiman also is taking on that task in a House district that hasn't elected a Democrat in nearly half a century. Make that 48 years. Lyndon Johnson was president. The Beatles had just started singing "I want to hold your hand."
"I know I'm long odds," Reiman says.
"But I think it's time we have an adult conversation about how to reduce our (budget) deficit and talk to each other across party lines instead of having people retreating to their ideological base, and sometimes to their extremist views," he said during an interview over coffee in the Haymarket.
"Nothing is going to get done if people only worry about getting re-elected and not about doing what's right.
"Well, it's time to do what's right for the country, and that's why I'm running."
Reiman, a defense attorney, jumped into the 1st District House race on the filing deadline day. A second Democratic candidate, Robert Way, has since withdrawn and endorsed Reiman.
"It's obvious to me that you also need to raise revenue as well as cut spending" if you're really serious about attacking federal budget deficits and reducing a ballooning national debt, Reiman said.
"It's a horrible idea to privatize Medicare," he said.
"That's not an entitlement; that's a commitment."
And Reiman said he'd also be reluctant to privatize a portion of Social Security, turning over some of those earnings and savings to a private market composed of some of "the same people who brought this country to its knees in 2008."
Sometimes, he said, "greed is more powerful than a sense of doing what's right."
Reiman said he didn't believe Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry's views on social issues accurately reflected those of a majority of Nebraskans.
"I believe Mr. Fortenberry has a very difficult time separating his religious faith from his politics," Reiman said. "Most Nebraskans are concerned about economic issues."
Health care is in crisis in America, Reiman said, but it is manageable if both parties would cooperate instead of trying to score political points.
"Forget special interests," he said. "Lose your ego. Work this out. Do what's right for the country."