The Obama Administration is floating Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to replace Tom Daschle as the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was very near the top of President Barack Obama's list of candidates to head the Health and Human Services Department, a senior administration official said Saturday.
The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private administration deliberations, said no decision was imminent. But the official added the former Kansas insurance commissioner was rising as Obama considers prospective candidates [...]
Advocacy groups like the consumer watchdog role 60-year-old Sebelius played as insurance commissioner for eight years before she became governor.
This is all well and good (though being a watchdog to insurers isn't the same as promoting any kind of health care policy agenda, which I haven't seen), and Sebelius is certainly a better choice than Phil Bredesen, who would be a disaster. However, just this week a poll commissioned by Daily Kos showed Sebelius way ahead in the race for the open Senate seat in Kansas being vacated by Sam Brownback. A Democrat hasn't won this seat in Kansas since 1932, and there's nobody but Sebelius who would have a chance. We've seen just this week with the stimulus debate that having less Republican rubber stamps in the Senate would probably be a good idea, and based on her performance in Kansas, I think Sebelius would be slightly less wankerrific than her red-state Democratic counterparts. Similarly, before she was picked for Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano looked to be a threat to send John McCain into an unwanted retirement in Arizona.
We need capable cabinet secretaries, of course, but this week showed the importance of the Senate. Maybe the Administration shouldn't be cherry-picking the best candidates to win Republican seats.
...the flip side of this is that Governors aren't going to be popular the next couple years with the economic meltdown and all the budget cuts, so Obama may just be saving the reputations of some of these red-state governors.