Kathleen Sebelius sounds kind of like UnParty material


Until a couple of days ago, I had never heard of Kathleen Sebelius. That may seem odd since I once had charge of the political reporters at the largest newspaper in Kansas. But that was more than 20 years ago, and I long ago shook the dust of that place from my shoes, thank the Lord.

Then on Sunday, I heard this advance feature on NPR about Gov. Sebelius, who was to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union address. I was ready to be displeased in principle, because I’ve always thought those responses to be an offensive institution in practice as well as in theory. The Constitution requires a state of the union message. The "response" is just partisanship for partisanship’s sake; it has existed mainly to have an argument.

But I was pleased at what I heard about this governor who has "spent years learning how to get along with her political opponents," and the piece on the radio seemed to promise something different this time, more along the collaborative lines of the recent economic stimulus deal.

Then came her actual response the next night, which is worth reading. An excerpt:

Good evening. I’m Kathleen Sebelius, governor of the state of Kansas, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak with you tonight. I’m a Democrat, but tonight it really doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as a Democrat or a Republican or an independent or none of the above…

And so I want to take a slight detour from tradition on this State of the Union night. In this time, normally reserved for a partisan response, I hope to offer something more: An American response. A national call to action on behalf of the struggling families in the heartland and across this great country. A wake-up call to Washington, on behalf of a new American majority, that time is running out on our opportunities to meet our challenges and solve our problems….

Nice beginning. You’ve got this UnPartisan’s attention. Sure, she goes on to give a challenge to the president that is very Democratic in nature, and he as a Republican is bound to take exception to parts of it. And sure, she gets in the usual antiwar licks. But she presents it all in terms that an independent like myself can respect, instead of spewing the usual vile mess we hear out of Washington. I’ve got no problem with Democrats and Republicans setting different sorts of ideas out in competition with one another. I just want them to do it in a way that doesn’t make me want to turn a hose on them.

So — lots of UnParty points for Gov. Sebelius. How could she top that?

Like this: by endorsing Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for president who embodies the same kind of "One Country" approach that she tried to invoke in her address Monday night.

The only way she could possibly top herself would be to endorse John McCain as well, he being the natural Republican counterpart of Sen. Obama. Sure, I know that’s asking a bit much, like whipped cream on top of hard candy. But just think: If she did that, we’d have to give her the UnParty nomination for president on the spot!


20 thoughts on “Kathleen Sebelius sounds kind of like UnParty material

  1. Lee Muller

    I did not hear the SOTU address (working), but did listen to the Democrat response. She sounded like her idea of getting along was, “Give us what we want and you get what you want. What the hell, it all comes from the taxpayers, our common enemy.”

  2. Mike Cakora

    The Guv also backs her son in his new venture, a game:

    The son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is peddling a board game titled “Don’t Drop the Soap,” a prison-themed game he created as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design.
    John Sebelius, 23, has the backing of his mother and father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius. The governor’s spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, said both parents “are very proud of their son John’s creativity and talent.”

    You can read the linked AP story for some details, but your sister McClatchy publication, the Kansas City Star has the straight dope:

    “It’s a game played like Monopoly, sort of,” says Hobbs owner Mark Swanson. “Only it’s a game based on prison life. The object of the game is you’re supposed to get out on parole, but you collect smokes. Smokes are money.”
    How outrageous is it?
    “Fight your way through six different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole,” the box reads. “Escape prison riots in the yard, slip glass into the mob boss’s lasagna in the cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse’s desk in the Infirmary, avoid being cornered by the Aryans in the Shower Room, fight off Latin Kings in Gang War and try not to smoke your entire stash in the Hole.”

    Fun for the whole family, no? It has loads of useful information that young adults need to master if they want to succeed in life.
    What’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything? I thought it was “42”, but now it appears to be “smokes.”

  3. Mike Cakora

    So I was having a bit of fun with that first post. It does look like Governor Sebelius has what it takes to be a member of the UnParty.
    She campaigned as a fiscal conservative, but then introduced unproven measures to simplify sales and use tax collection among states and created a disaster that’s hurt business in the state.
    (Because the company I work for produces software that allows states to coordinate fuel tax computation and receipts among states, I have firsthand knowledge of the complexity of such an arrangement; she introduced a concept that had no practical foundation. Here’s a practical foundation.)
    Remember her performance after the Greensburg twister?

    The disaster struck at 9:45 P.M. on May 4, a Friday night, the dark abyss of the week’s news cycle. When U.S. Senator Pat Roberts and two Republican congressmen arrived on the scene the next afternoon, they discovered a small army of volunteers already at work, led by local men like Dennis McKinney, a conservative Democrat and the minority leader of the Kansas house. For those who were paying attention that weekend, the early news out of Greensburg was the inspiring story of how Kansas courage — a potent mixture of faith, family, friendship, hard work, and especially Midwestern self-reliance — was triumphing in the face of a huge natural disaster.
    Three days later, and just in time for Monday’s morning news programs, the governor of Kansas, liberal Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, was on the scene explaining that, because some of the state National Guard’s equipment was in Iraq instead of in Kansas, “The real victims here will be the residents of Greensburg because the recovery will be at a slower pace.”
    Very few of the residents of Greensburg were around when Sebelius said this. She was talking mostly to reporters, for whom the belief that sending National Guard assets to Iraq and Afghanistan puts people at risk in the U.S. is now accepted, if also utterly unconfirmed, wisdom. Governors, especially Democratic ones, repeat this charge all the time, since it neatly marries populism to anti-Bush sentiment — a marriage that certainly needs no shotgun these days. So the remark passed quickly, seamlessly into print and over the airwaves without anyone pointing out that the residents of Greensburg were not victims because of an alleged administration screw up, but because a tornado had just demolished their homes.
    The effects of the twister were indisputable; all reporters had to do was look around. Greensburg looked like this and this. But most of them missed that part of the story. They were focusing on what was supposed to be the real source of Greensburg’s victimization — that “slower pace” of recovery, those missing Humvees and dumptrucks sent to help Bush fight his crazy war. Yet, even for Sebelius, that “slower pace” part was hard to spot because, unlike the tornado, it simply didn’t exist — something the governor’s office admitted to the AP and others the next day. Greensburg’s recovery was going “absolutely fine,” her press secretary, Nicole Corcoran, said. Well, heck…as they say in Kansas. Maybe former FEMA director James Lee Witt was right back in ’96 when he told a congressional panel that “disasters are very political events.”

    Read the whole thing to get a sense of how well her grandstanding was received. Folks noticed that she did not show up until three days after the twister struck, in part because she was in New Orleans at the time. You can’t make this stuff up…
    Two weeks after the tragedy, was the good Governor invited to deliver the commencement address to Greensburg high school’s graduating class? Nope, they invited Senator Pat Roberts, the guy who got there first to make sure the folks had all they needed.
    I suggest that one criterion you UnParty folks use for selecting members is to differentiate between what a person says and what s/he does. Actions should speak louder than words.

  4. bud

    Yup, Governor Sebelius used a bit of political grandstanding to make an important point. Good for her. The fact that National Guard assets are being squandered in the whole Iraq quagmire needs to be pointed out. Did it affect the situation in Kansas? No one knows for sure but it certainly didn’t help. Those assets need to be in the U.S. for situations like that, not in some phony war against phantom enemies that pose us no harm. That’s the real tragedy of the Iraq occupation, the waste of American resources. The whole Iraq debacle is costing us dearly in terms of lives and treasure and damn it that needs to be said.
    Just today a new study indicated that 1 million Iraqis have died since the U.S. invaded that country. This study used sound methodology to interview Iraqi families in all parts of the country. A whooping 1 in 5 households had lost at least one family member to violence since the invasion begain in March 2003. And the leading GOP candidate wants to continue with this for another 100 years. It’s time to renew the discussion on Iraq. The media stenographers have gotten away with presenting the GOP party talking points on this issue for too long now. We need to recognize that we’re wasting valuable resources in that country while Afghanistan and the U.S. homeland suffer from a lack of attention. It’s time to analyze this whole claim that the surge is working with honest facts about what has happened and not just allow the right-wing spin machine to control the airwaves.
    Sure economic issues are important but they are not unrelated to the occupation of Iraq. The two are intertwined. Folks like Brad and Mike who never want to admit to any problems in Iraq need to be called down for their cheerleading of this disasterous cause. It makes me sick to see how they’ve twisted this disaster around to appear like it’s succeeding. It’s time to set a timetable for withdrawal before another million Iraqis and 4,000 Americans die in vane.

  5. weldon VII

    Tough luck, Brad. Mike has proven you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth again.
    But that’s OK. For an op-ed guy, once or twice a day is to be expected.
    I’m surprised you didn’t remember the shameful Sebelius performance after the tornado virtually wiped out Greensburg, particularly because you wrote here you used to live in Kansas.
    As I remember, you called Kansas a real farming state as opposed to South Carolina, where you thought (and probably still wrongly think) the principal crop is peaches.
    You see, Brad. the day you were born in Bennettsville, agriculture was probably 90 percent of South Carolina’s economy, and cotton was king, and then tobacco, and corn, and wheat, and soybeans, and — somewhere down the yellow brick road that leads to Kansas, the Unparty state — peaches.
    Sibelius’s endorsement may HURT Obama in Kansas, such a bad governor has she been.
    Meanwhile, populating the Unparty with the unsuccessful who propose ideas that are untenable won’t exactly swat the Republicans and Democrats aside for you.
    But that’s OK. You can believe what you want to believe. It’s still that much a free country, even if the left is curtailing freedom of speech.

  6. weldon VII

    Die in “vane”?
    Oh, Bud, that’s the worst spell of a weather-related homonym we’ve had in a long time, a killer finish, so I guess you posted in vain.

  7. Richard L. Wolfe

    Weldon, the left is not the only ones who try to curb free speech. Try to tell the truth in The State Newspaper and see how far you get. They stake out a position then try to drown the opposition with a million words so that it appears there is this huge concensus going there way. When that fails they try to distract us with lets see Britney Spears on the front page.

  8. weldon VII

    Richard, The State is the left.
    Its presidential endorsements include the most liberal Republican candidate and a Democrat so liberal he dares not spell out his actual positions.

  9. bud

    The State Newspaper liberal? Come on Weldon. They’ve endorsed the far right-wing Republican candidate for president in each of the last 7 elections. The centrist democrat in each of those races was never even considered. Only in an ultra-far-right state like South Carolina could the somewhat far-right paper like the State be regarded as liberal.

  10. weldon VII

    Is McCain the far-right Repubican?
    Tommy Moore? Obama?
    Of course The State’s left of center, Bud. It’s a McClatchy newspaper.
    You’re just so far off the Left Coast the curvature of the Earth limits your perspective.

  11. bud

    McCain supports:
    Stay the Course in Iraq (for 100 years!)
    He virtually ignores health care issues
    He was for the Confederate Flag before he was against it.
    He’s now in favor of extending big tax cuts for the wealthy (repudiating 2 previous votes).
    Let’s face it, the Republican party is either far right or very far right. The U.S. in general has moved way to the right and S.C. is simply off the map to the right. A centrist politician would at least discuss the problems with health care in this country but not the GOP. Oh no. All other countries are leaving Iraq and the dems are at least discussing it. Our GOP maverick wants to stay 100 years.
    Let’s face it guys, conservatism has been tried for the last 7 years and it has failed, and failed miserably with huge budget deficits, military occupations and a broken health care system. The fact that the State Newspaper tepidly mentions some of these important issues is enough to send the crazy right into a tizzy.

  12. Mike Cakora

    bud –
    Hate to rain on your death parade, but you need to be reined in because truth reigns supreme here, hear?
    In that vein, the 1 million deaths study that appeared just before the 2006 Congressional elections has been discredited by a new study that appeared this month in the New England Journal of Medicine:

    A new survey estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country. Roughly 9 out of 10 of those deaths were a consequence of U.S. military operations, insurgent attacks and sectarian warfare.
    The three-year toll of violent deaths calculated in the survey is one-quarter the size of that found in a smaller survey by Iraqi and Johns Hopkins University researchers published in the journal Lancet in 2006.

    That earlier study with the larger number was funded by George Soros, so some folks suspect that it was politically motivated.
    Whatever the case, that’s a lot of death, no cause for celebration. History will judge this episode. In the meantime, it looks and feels right to me.

  13. bud

    Brad, you haven’t made the connection yet so I’ll do it for you. If a left-winger like me has the perception of John McCain as a hard-core conservative hawk who is now pandering to the right AND the right-wingers like Weldon and Lee see McCain as this ultra liberal in GOP clothing shouldn’t that be an indication that he is somewhere in the middle? I don’t care much for McCain’s stance on the issues and find it laughable that anyone would regard him as liberal but it does seem like McCain has found a way to appeal to independent voters. And that scares me for the general election.

  14. Mike Cakora

    We defeated Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945. We still have troops in both countries, almost 63 years later. I in fact received an Army of Occupation Medal for my service in Berlin almost thirty years after the war ended.
    Now there’s an occupation.

  15. Richard L. Wolfe

    Bud, These labels don’t mean anything. McCain could call himself a communist or whig it wouldn’t matter to me. It is his actions and his record that is troubling the real conservatives. We simply don’t trust him.
    Last night in the debate he said I get it, Americans want the border secured. He never said that his position on amnesty was wrong. He says that he will appoint judges that will follow the constitution and not legislate from the bench. I believe that to a point. With a democratic senate he will send those judges to them at first and they will send them back. After two or three rejections he will cave and send them one that they will like and he will be confirmed. That judge will be another David Souter. That in a nutshell is the problem with McCain vs conservatives.
    If Hillary or Obama did the same thing you would have a problem with them.

  16. Lee Muller

    The official Red Cross toll of Iraqis starved to death under the UN Food for Peace program is over 1,100,000. Clinton, Kofi Annan, Hillary, and 200 Europeans bribed by Saddam Hussein helped to kill those people.
    Anyone who dismisses their deaths should not act bothered by 1/10 as many Iraqis killed during the US invasion and occupation of this terrorist nation.

  17. Howard

    So far, the most prominent references to race in the primaries, as well as in the general election have been from the Obama campaign … usually in terms of the Obama campaign accusing anyone, and everyone of racism, who disagreed with Obama, or challenged his lack of credentials, or his lack of experience, as racism. Obama has also vocally predicted and anticipated racism, when nobody actually said or did anything racist. Obama also used the race card against Bill Clinton. And, now democrat, and Obama supporter Kathleen Sebelius is once again using racism as an excuse, in case Obama doesn’t win in November. But, what about the other side of the coin? 90% of Blacks in America are voting for Obama simply because he is black. This is racism also, but it always gets swept under the carpet.
    No Wright, no Farrakahn, no Rezko, no Pfleger, no Ayers,
    no mean Michelle, and, NOBAMA !!!

  18. Mashukakiev

    Интернет-магазин DVD | DVD фильмы | сериалы на DVD | интернет магазин DVD Фильмы на DVD | купить DVD | интернет-магазин Blue-ray диски | Продажа DVD Фильмов | интернет-магазин Blu-ray фильмы видео HD-DVD| интернет магазин DVD | видео диски | Аниме на DVD | Интернет-магазин DVD Продажа DVD | PSP игры на DVD |PC игры на DVD
    наш адрес http://www.dvd-mag.com.ua


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *