Tuesday, January 29, 2008

...and yet another prominent female politician does not not endorse Hillary.

Today, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius officially endorsed Obama.

There are at least two reasons this is significant. First, here is yet another prominent, successful female politician that is NOT supporting Hillary. Any question about Sebelius's prominence in the Democratic party is answered by the fact that she was chosen to give the Democratic response to last night's State of the Union Address. Second, Sebelius is a Democratic governor who won election twice in a very Republican state. More on that later...

Here's some background on Sebelius:
Kathleen Sebelius won election as the 44th Governor of Kansas in November 2002, becoming the first daughter of a U.S. governor (John Gilligan, Ohio, 1971-75) to serve in that same position, continuing a proud tradition of responsible public service. As Governor, Sebelius pledged to bring a fiscally disciplined, people oriented approach to state government, and she has delivered. In her first three legislative sessions, Governor Sebelius placed the state on sound financial footing, steered a massive economic growth package to passage, and restructured a financially troubled highway program to ensure timely completion of all projects. Budget balances have been restored and safety net services secured, without a tax increase.
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Prior to her election as governor, Sebelius served four terms (1987-1995) in the Kansas House of Representatives and two terms (1995-2003) as the state's elected Insurance Commissioner. As Insurance Commissioner, Sebelius reduced the operating budget by 19% and did more with less. Under her leadership, the Department became an unprecedented consumer watchdog -- cracking down on HMOs that refused to cover legitimate medical expenses and helping Kansas seniors save nearly seven million dollars on prescription drugs. As Insurance Commissioner, Sebelius was named one of Governing magazine's "Public Officials of the Year" and one of the "100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare" by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

Governor Sebelius presently serves as chair of the Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee of the National Governors' Association and as policy chair of the Democratic Governors' Association.
Wikipedia adds some other details about her term as Insurance Commissioner:
In 1994, she left the House to run for state insurance commissioner and stunned political forecasters by winning — the first time a Democrat had won in more than 100 years. She is credited with bringing the agency out from under the influence of the insurance industry. She refused to take campaign contributions from insurers and blocked the proposed merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the state's largest health insurer, with an Indiana-based company. The decision by Sebelius marked the first time the corporation had been rebuffed in its acquisition attempts."
So, Sebelius has extensive experience in an area in which Hillary considers herself an expert, health care. And yet Sebelius chose not to endorse her sister expert. Hmmm...

Wikipedia gives details on another matter on which Sebelius is an expert.
On May 26, 2006, Sebelius formally announced her candidacy for re-election. Four days later, Mark Parkinson, former Kansas state GOP Party Chairman switched his party affiliation to Democratic; the following day Sebelius announced that Parkinson would be her running mate for Lieutenant Governor. Parkinson had previously served in the state House from 1991-92 and the Senate from 1993-97. Parkinson was a popular and successful GOP Party Chairman. He was viewed as a pro-business moderate who strongly supported public education. This was somewhat reminiscent of the fact that John Moore had also been a Republican, before switching just days prior to joining Sebelius as her running mate.

She was challenged by Republican Kansas State Senator Jim Barnett. A September 1 Rasmussen poll showed Sebelius with an 11% lead over Barnett. Other polls gave Sebelius as much as a 20% lead. However, as of 2004, 50% of Kansas voters were registered Republicans, compared to 27% as registered Democrats. Sebelius, nevertheless, won a landslide re-election with 57.8% of the vote to Barnett's 40.5%.
In other words, Sebelius knows what it takes for a Democrat to win over Republican voters, and as I have said and will keep saying, any Democrat that wants to win a Presidential election has to get some Republican votes.

Everything I said in this post about Janet Napolitano and Claire McCaskill is equally applicable to Kathleen Sebelius. She is a self-made woman who did not have to ride someone else's coattails to success. She has many more years experience than Hillary in running for and being elected to public office. Her success has given her more first hand experience and knowledge as to what it takes to get the support of people from both parties. And based on that knowledge and experience, Sebelius--like Napolitano and McCaskill--determined that Obama has a better chance of winning in November than does Hillary.

So what now, Hillary supporters? Do you claim that Sebelius is misogynistic and has betrayed her gender? Or do you take notice that yet another highly successful woman is supporting Obama instead of Hillary? Do you take notice that perhaps there is something about Hillary other than her gender that is important?

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