Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sebelius for Veep a bad idea for do it!

So, over my pot of coffee this morning I was reading a story in the KC Star speculating the opportunity of Gov. Sebelius or Senator McCaskill to be the choice Obama as a running mate.

The pundits like to point to the notion that Sebelius won a solid red state twice and that she is a woman for reasons she would be a good choice. They claim the dems hold her in awe.

For me, it is such a simplistic view. If you really look at it there are reasons, and my conservative friends would kill me for pointing them all out here, why her success in Kansas as governor wouldn't translate into Kansas going blue in the next presidential election. I won't even get into the issues, just the obvious.

Let's keep in mind the political envirnonment in which she has won twice. There is a fight in the Kansas Republican party that has been waged for several years now over who is going to control the party. The very conservative right wing who are both socially and fiscally conservative and enjoy the support of the right to life and NRA crowd groups have been losing their iron clad grip on the party to the more socially moderate republicans in the state. It has been a really bloody fight that put Sebelius in the governor's mansion and has entrenched Dennis Moore in Congress. So, the ultras control in the infrastructure of the party and thus continue to push their candidates out of the machine and out of the primaries into general elections. They are too conservative for the majority of up and down the street republicans in Kansas and they reject them in the voting booth. The Dems got wise and started putting more moderate candidates against them and as a result many moderate conservatives have crossed the line in recent years. They are still Republicans, still conservative, they just aren't as ultra conservative as those running the party. I'm still convinced that a candidate that is not as right wing....socially a little more moderate and fiscally conservative can beat Dennis Moore and win back the governor's mansion. It is all about candidates and match ups. Any fantasy football guy can tell you that.

For Kansas, the democrats haven't been winning....the republicans have been, giving it away. Pride came before the fall and we will continue to fall until we get better candidates.

So, what happens if Sebelius is picked as Obama's running mate? My prediction is that Obama still won't carry Kansas. McCain represents more of what the majority of moderate Kansas republicans in the state prefer over the populist and more liberal Obama. She has been a do nothing governor who I'm guessing the majority of Kansans wouldn't even be able to name if quizzed. In presidential politics, I think Kansas will remain a red state, regardless if Sebelius is on the ticket or not.

Then there was The Speech. The state of union dem response delivered by Sebelius. A very well written and poorly delivered speech. Would have months more of that? She was visibly nervous on the national stage. That won't work.

Of course, it is hard to imagine the impact she might have on other swing states. I would view her as more of a populist herself than a liberal. She beat ultra conservative republicans both times and the second effort by the republicans was almost non existent. They walked away from the race which I have to admit was embarrassing. Could she help win Missouri which is actually really considered a swing state? I think Obama has a strong chance of taking it anyway after the term of Boy Wonder Blunt. I think McCaskill will have more to do with Obama winning Missouri than Sebelius ever would. I think whoever whichever party wins the governor's race in Missouri also gets it for the presidential election. It also depends on how many times each person living on the north side of St. Louis gets to vote. Ohio? I don't know. Florida.....probably not. Where is the advantage? If you ask Kansans what they think about her they would tell you, "nothing" in they don't think of her. She is not on their mind. You have to do something to be thought of by us. She has flown below the radar for the past two terms. Very inspiring. I guess that might be what you want as a Veep.

So, I say he should definitely do it. She is perfect for you, Obama. Take her for your ticket. Maybe someone will actually start to look at what she did as governor..........and find nothing. I guess that is safe but maybe it will help us get the office back in Kansas. I'd love to see the rally of Kansans flocking to support McCain. This could work.......I'm liking the sound of it...Obama Sebelius.

And.......let's jump to the ridiculous..........Obama picks Sebelius and Obama actually wins. Eight years of Obama and then a Sebelius candidacy for President? Can you see me rolling my eyes like an eight year old being told to clean their room?


Jason G said...


You provide very well articulated and thought out analysis of Sebelius as Obama's VP pick! For the most part I agree with you. Sebelius makes a perfect pick precisely for many of the reasons you state. As a SO JOCO Kansan, I would agree Sebelius isn't particularly inspiring, but Obama doesn't need an inspiring VP, just leave the inspiration up to him! The fact that she is a woman who has made great inroads in a Republican dominated state is inspiring enough for most.

You stated, "She has been a do nothing governor who I'm guessing the majority of Kansans wouldn't even be able to name if quizzed." - This is the point - if you asked me what she has done for Kansas, and I would have one answer for you - "She hasn't F-d up our state." The fact that Kansans have been able to go about their business w/o thinking about her is great, because that means she's done just enough to make sure Kansans (especially those of us in JOCO) can go about their everyday business with the usual amount of government intrusion. Yes, I'd take the governor who works hard to maintain the status-quo over one who will actively work to make destructive changes, any day. It's really the same story with Dennis Moore. I think Moore is a great guy, and is a good Congressman for the 3rd District, but he certainly plays it safe and does not provide bold leadership. This is okay, as he votes right on most issues.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. You are right about the political environment in Kansas being the biggest (if not the only) factor in the rise of Democrats in Kansas. However, again, this is why you are wrong that a Presidential candidate could not take Kansas. We are seeing the same phenomenon that started in the Kansas Republican party, spreading across the entire country. This is self-evident with the fact that Huckabee's shoe-string campaign has done so well, and there has been a huge conservative backlash against McCain (where's the logic in voting for Clinton before voting for McCain). In Kansas, I predicted (see my blog), and was right, that Huckabee would win BIG in the Kansas Caucuses. Why? Because the only conservatives left standing were the ultra-right wing conservatives who came out in droves for Huckabee. The rest of the conservatives and independents went to vote for Obama. This was evident in the HUGE turnout numbers and the long lines for the same-day voter registration (or change) at the Democratic Caucuses.

I don't disagree that McCain is a great moderate Republican, the kind that moderate Republicans in Kansas can take pride in voting for. The problem is, however, that despite his middle-ground, he represents the same-old "politics as usual" in Washington, and he supports the long-term continuation of a stale war in Iraq. Even Kansas moderate conservatives are fed-up. Obama is bold, he is inspiring, and he offers a real chance at unifying the nation and making changes in Washington. This is exciting. I have a few conservative friends who say they would vote for Obama. This is because, even if they disagree with some of his policy positions, they like the way he will go about making change.

Of course there is a long time to go before November, but do not underestimate Obama's power to attract voters from the entire political spectrum. This is probably his greatest strength and the best indicator of an actual possibility to create change in the future.

Also, keep in mind that we have seen other signs of conservative political unrest in Kansas. For example, Nancy Boyda's surprise win in 2006. Boyda ran a similarly strong campaign much like Obamas. She railed against special interests and promised to bring transparency to government. This populist tactic was really strong for a skeptical constituency. Ryan wasn't a particularly disliked Congressman, but he was solidly conservative. Overall he was a "safe" conservative. In the same vane that Sebelius is a "safe" Democrat. Boyda proved that Americans are hungry for a change to "poliics as usual" in DC. This is a fever that is spreading all across the country.

So once again, Kansas has shown itself to be a microcosm of the entire country!

JOCOeveryman said...

I really appreciate the thoughtful response to my blog. I see your point and it does make me think. I always like someone who stays out of my business for the most part and Sebelius did do that but I'd like to see someone in that spot work to keep creating a better environment for business in our state, lowering costs, etc. But, if they can't do that I'd rather have them do nothing than in your words "F-up" the state with a bunch of crazy spending and intrusive new laws. Again, I have to think a better candidate would have given her a better fight.

Your argument focuses on change which is why you like Obama so much. You are suggesting that it is the sake of change alone that is inspiring Kansans to vote democrat ie Boyda, Sebelius, Moore. My point was exactly that the "change factor" is overstated for Kansas. In addition to successfully splitting the conservative vote by the republicans continuing to put up only ultra conservatives and the dems in Kansas putting up more moderates they are getting the "Reagan Democrats" to come home.

You note that the "change agent" being new and not Washington insider as opposed to ideology as I suggest with moderate versus ultra conservative. Obama has been playing that well. It works against Clinton and should be an effective strategy for McCain. I think in the general election people will start to respond better to the voices of I hope.....for the republican's sake.

For your prediction and discussion of why Huckabee won Kansas, again, I see your point but I think it is the same trap many democrat strategists are falling. Huckabee won for the same reason ultra conservatives keep winning in the primaries for state wide offices and then lose in the general. The ultra conservatives control the party and thus control the support, machine, committees, etc of the party and can't control themselves in putting their ultra conservative candidates on the ballot. It used to be fine because like a Chicago democrat the race was usually decided in the primary with the Republican thumping whoever the dems put up. Everyone voted Republican in Kansas. The electorate in Kansas is still conservative, just not our parents conservatism and they don't blindly vote republican which is a whole different discussion about how voter trends have changed. I always vote but I didn't particpate in the caucus because I knew how it would turn out. They knew only ultra conservatives would show up. What a joke but in the general all moderate conservatives will show up for McCain.

Now quickly on Boyda. Ryan had ethical issues, ran an arrogant campaign and she ran in a district that really has become more and more liberal. I don't think that race was a good indicator of Kansas changing too much.

Finally, you say Sebelius is good pick for all the boring reasons I stated and that Obama provides enough inspiration on his own. I would just say, beware of playing not to lose, and playing the prevent defense.....all football fans know how that usually works out. As a student of politics, I would think he would want someone with some credentials on the world stage either in the state department or the military. I know it would make me more comfortable. I don't think he has any idea of what he is getting himself into if he wins.

So in conclusion, I liked your comments, they made me think a bit and you are welcome to add comments anytime. I just think you are getting a little excited thinking that these recent trends in Kansas point to a larger trend, especially if that trend is simply around change. If that is the case Dennis Moore better look out.

JOCOeveryman said...

Oh, one more thought that keeps sticking with me about a comment you made about the war. You stated how McCain would keep us in this war and thus presumably Obama would get us out of it.

It is unrealistic and immature for liberals to think we can "get out of this war". It is open to question if going into Iraq was the correct decision....meaning was a preemptive policy useful? I'd personally say I think it was a failed policy.

We are in this war and we are in Iraq. We need to get out as quickly as possible but it is so short sighted to get out now and leave this for our kids to deal with in 20 years. This is precisely why I love McCain on this issue. As a POW, I think he hates war but knows the realities and will execute it as quickly as possible and get us out. Even Hillary understands this. Obama doesn't get it on this issue. We need to clean up our own mess and not leave it for other generations to deal with.

Jason G said...

JOCO Man -

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know I've read all your comments, and I am thoroughly enjoying the intellectual debate. Unfortunately, I have some more practical and immediate matters to attend to, so I don't know when I'll be able to respond. I couldn't find an e-mail contact for you. You can check out my blogger profile for my e-mail. Just drop me a line letting me know you got this message, and that way you don't have to approve it for post on your blog.

JOCOeveryman said...

I'd love to just give me my email but I made a decision when I started this blog to do it annoymously.

I did it for very specific reasons. First, as a function of creativity. If I ever get so lucky that people look to my blog for entertainment I thought it would be great for people to speculate as to my identity. Second, I wanted the freedom to really comment precisely as I see it. Believe it or not, I actually have a public profile that needs protecting.

So, I love that you are commenting on my blog. I appreciate it and I look forward to hearing more from you. You provide intelligent and thoughtful comments which is a rare quality from most liberals.