Really? With every Republican in the country set to run ObamaCare attack ads this fall, the Democratic Party’s going to double down in a perennially red state on the captain of the Healthcare.gov Titanic?
There’s got to be a hidden motive in pushing a story this bananas to the media. But what?
In her darkest hour last fall, Kathleen Sebelius suffered one of the deepest cuts from an old family friend who accused her of “gross incompetence” over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and demanded that she resign as secretary of health and human services. Now she is weighing revenge.
Ms. Sebelius is considering entreaties from Democrats who want her to run against that old friend, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas.
Several Democrats said this week that Ms. Sebelius had been mentioned with growing frequency as someone who could wage a serious challenge to Mr. Roberts, 77, who is running for a fourth term and is considered vulnerable. One person who spoke directly to Ms. Sebelius said that she was thinking about it, but added that it was too soon to say how seriously she was taking the idea…
But friends and Democrats who know her said that they seriously doubted she would follow through and mount a campaign, considering how personally difficult the past six or seven months had been.
Theory one: The left’s triumphalism about hitting seven million sign-ups, replete with treating Sebelius’s resignation as a measure of victory, has now logically metamorphosed into the insane belief that her ObamaCare record makes her a strong candidate, even in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate in 75 years. This is where reading Vox gets you, I guess.
Theory two: Sebelius’s friends feel sorry for her now that she’s politically toxic and planted this with the Times to boost her spirits. Her political career’s over and it hurts to admit that, so here’s a way of not admitting it just yet.
Theory three: She’s bitter about having been scapegoated for the O-Care rollout, especially in light of resignation postmortems claiming that Team Obama lost confidence in her months ago. Running for Senate is “revenge,” in other words — on the White House and Democrats, who were eager to shed her as dead weight.
Theory four: The Democratic bench in Kansas really is this thin. This is a state, remember, where Dems control slightly more than a quarter of the state House and just one-fifth of the state Senate. For all her flaws, Sebelius has unusually high name recognition there, partly because of her HHS platform and partly because of her years as governor. Meanwhile, on the right, Pat Roberts’s job approval is underwater and he and Milton Wolf are busy kneecapping each other in a bitter primary. Between GOP infighting and the fact that, at least nationally, more voters prefer the Democratic plan for health care than the Republican one, maybe Democrats figure that it’s worth rolling the dice on a big name, whatever her liabilities. If not for the O-Care debacle, she’d be a no-brainer as a Democratic recruit in Kansas; maybe, they think, the hometown crowd will have some sympathy for her and decide that it’s worth giving someone else a shot after more than 30 years of Roberts in Congress.
That’s the best I can do to rationalize this and I’m not remotely convinced. One more theory for the road. Sebelius as sacrificial lamb (again)?
Theory: Democrats want Kathleen Sebelius to run for Senate so her opponent absorbs 100% of all 2014 GOP donations nationwide
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) April 16, 2014