Why Sebelius is safe: Confirmation hearings on her successor would be brutal

“No one that the administration could pick to replace her could ever be confirmed — not even the Lord himself,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “The animus is such that they would find something to criticize Him over.”

And not just among Republicans — the thinking in some quarters is that, despite Democratic control of the Senate, vulnerable Democrats might benefit from getting to cast a vote against Obamacare by voting against any nominee. Avoiding that vote, people familiar with the situation say, is part of why there has been eagerness to see her stay in place for a second term, despite whatever problems or desire for change existed.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said the opportunity to reopen the case against Obamacare is indeed one of the main things driving him to call openly for Sebelius’s ouster, an effort he calls part of the same spectrum that led him and other Republicans to shut down the government on Oct. 1.

“I think that would be a healthy thing, for her to resign and we then begin the hearings,” Fleming said.