Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Only Way This Makes Sense ...

Is if the master plan is to have HHS Secretary Sebelius successfully advocate for and serve as administrator for the roll-out of the Obama health plan in the coming 3 years, then have Biden not serve as VP in 2012 and let Sebelius take over. Then this makes sense. Otherwise, unless Barack Obama enjoys having Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe water down his legislation, so that he can point to them when The Left asks why he hasn't done everything they want, he's just making life harder for himself.

7 comments:

Unrepentant Whitlamite said...

You know, that actually does make perfect sense.

Obama won't need Biden in 2012. He barely needs Biden now. He clearly likes and respects Sebelius; he can give her four years of high national exposure, add her to the ticket, and make her his clear and undisputed successor in 2016 (unless he goes sour in his second term).

He may like the idea of more senators, but perhaps he likes the idea of Sebelius as his successor more. He might be playing a very long game.

corvus said...

Maybe Sebelius just doesn't want to be a Senator?

matt w said...

Right, corvus; it's not certain that Sebelius would've run for Senate. And it's not certain she would've won (this is Kansas, and governors may start to get unpopular over the next two years), and it's extraordinarily unlikely that she would've been the only Democratic pickup in the Senate -- if a Democrat (even a popular one) can win in Kansas, a Democrat can probably win an open seat in at least one of New Hampshire, Ohio, or Missouri. Which means it'll be Ben Nelson watering down the legislation, not Arlen Specter (who is no shoo-in himself).

One of the factors that'll affect those Senate races is whether Obama's programs succeed, and one of the biggies is going to be health care. If Sebelius at HHS would really help move his health care program, her appointment could actually result in a net gain of Senate seats.

If we're talking about dumb appointments, I wonder why he doesn't just staff Treasury up, and tell Geithner to nationalize flipping Citibank already.

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

I don't care if Sebelius doesn't want to be a Senator. Barack Obama should be willing to give her a Kidney to get her to run. Rahm Emanuel should be calling dem-leaning law firms and financial firms and telling them not to hire Sebelius to do anything interesting. She wouldn't have a hard time winning; it would be Warner redux. Run!

Not my idea of having Biden not seek the VP for the 2nd term is actually a really good idea IMO. It's not like Biden is likely to run in 2016; having a successor will keep the lid on a potential fractious primary (what if Russ Feingold is tired of being in Afghanistan), etc.

ikl said...

Sebelius is not Mark Warner. More importantly, Kansas is not VA. She might have won, but it would have been a real fight, not a walkover.

I'm still not happy about this. Even if we get to 60 anyway, having a reliable vote from a conversative state is still very valuable. It would shift the Senate left regardless of what else happens. 60 is not some magic number - it just means that Ben Nelson is the last vote we need on average rather than Olympia Snowe. If we are a 63 rather than 62 then we are can do without the vote of one more centrist Dem on any given bill.

BruceMcF said...

Of course, since there will be 60 or more Democratic Senators if the issue in 2010 is "Republican Obstructionism", having someone who effectively communicates with independents as director of HHS and one of the lead administration voices as the Republicans try to obstruct the Health Care reform could well be the path to getting a Democratic Senator from Ohio, and Missouri, and Kentucky.

dr said...

I dunno. It's been awhile since I've been back home in Kansas, but my sense of the political landscape there is that folks really don't like the idea of things like socialized medicine. A lot of Kansas voters would see the opportunity for obstructionism as a reason not to vote for any Democratic Senatorial candidate, personal popularity notwithstanding.