The Washington Post, as well as other news sources, are reporting that Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius has accepted President Obama's invitation to be nominated as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In many ways, Sebelius is an attractive and compelling figure. A reformer from a conservative state, with family ties to both parties and a reputation for facilitating bipartisan consensus to enact progressive change. Sebelius was an early Obama supporter during the 2008 primary season and is eminently qualified for the position.
She's no Howard Dean, whom netroots liberals like myself prefer, conservatives loath and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel despises. Thankfully however, she's also nothing like Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen, who is opposed to meaningful healthcare reform. Liberals of all stripes, including me, would have revolted had Obama nominated Bredesen instead.
Nonetheless, I disagree with picking Sebelius because she also happens to be the only Kansas Democrat with a chance of winning a senate seat in 2010. Republican incumbent Sam Brownback had previously announced he wouldn't seek re-election. A Democrat of Sebelius's stature could have a real chance to win this open seat.
As we have already seen with the stimulus debate, it is imperative that Democrats achieve a filibuster proof majority of sixty seats. Hence, Sebelius would better serve the cause of healthcare reform by staying home and campaigning for Brownback's open seat. I have to believe there were choices other than Sebelius, who support meaningful healthcare reform without being politically radioactive like Howard Dean.
The cause of healthcare reform is ill served by removing candidates who can pickup red states. Democrats may regret this pick if Obama's coattails are diminished during the midterm elections next year.