Monday, March 02, 2009

Brownback's shocking support of Sebelius

The national media is shocked I tell you, SHOCKED that conservative Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is happy that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has been nominated to lead health and human services. Pundits are busy reading tea leaves as to what this could possibly mean.

What does it mean? It means that Sebelius will be tied up in Washington, D.C., probably won't run for the Senate against a hapless Republican and won't be campaigning for whichever Democrat takes on Brownback when Brownback finally runs for governor.

Obama's announcement today has the Kansas Republican Party dancing in the streets.


Nancy Jane Moore said...

I'm sorry for the effect on Kansas -- it would be nice to see a Kansas Democrat in the Senate -- but it's certainly nice to see another woman in the cabinet.

I've been somewhat surprised that the anti-abortion activists opposing her are getting any press. I mean, duh, this is a pro-choice administration; obviously the Department of Health and Human Services is going to have a pro-choice secretary. Clearly her position is not going to stop her nomination; why take the anti-abortion position seriously at this point?

Diane Silver said...

Only two theories make sense of this, at least in my mind.

First, as TPM's Josh Marshall notes, DC is still wired Republican. In other words, after 30 years of conservative dominance, beltway insiders still find it easy to resonate to conservative talking points. To insider ears, those talking points are conventional wisdom, and everything else is unintelligible.

Second, even though Sebelius is your garden variety pro-choice politician, she governs the state where Dr. George Tiller lives. Tiller does late-term abortions and is the reason Operation Rescue is now based in Kansas. To anti-abortion folks, Tiller is the worst villain possible, and Sebelius committed the unpardonable crime (to them) of treating Tiller like any other doctor who lives in Kansas. Their fury at her can't be underestimated.

I do have to laugh, though, at the idea that anyone can successfully undermine the nomination of a pro-choice cabinet secretary by a pro-choice president.