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February 20, 2009

Gov. Sebelius leading contender to head HHS

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas is seen as a top contender to replace Tom Daschle as the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, the New York Times reports.

This is a picture of Gov. Sebelius speaking at Planned Parenthood's inauguration week brunch. I'm excited at the prospect of a vocal advocate for reproductive choice taking the top job at HHS.

Howard Dean is also being considered for the job, but Alex Koppelman reports that the Dean is not a front runner because of his perceived "inability to work with Republicans" on health care reform.


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show me a true party democrat with a history of working with republicans. i can't off the top of my head think of any.

what is killing dean's chances are his perceived inability to co-exist with rahm.

While I think Gov. Sebelius would be a great pick for the HHS job, I'd really like to see her stay in Kansas as the Governor for the time being. She's doing a great job in Kansas, and many consider that state to be the deepest red of red states. To me, she's a rising star who would make a great 2012 nominee for President.

President Obama's team is filled with many of the Democratic Party's best young minds, but if we want to have continued success for the next 10 years and beyond, there's got to be a nice stable of talent outside of Washington, too.

Historically, being the sitting Governor of a state works very well for Presidential ambitions. I'm not so sure that a position at the HHS would offer as good of a starting off point for Gov. Sebelius in the future if she has any designs on higher office, which I sure hope she's got.

I think Dr. Dean makes a lot of sense as HHS's top honcho irregardless of perceptions by Republicans or Democrats. He's got the golden touch and knows how to make change happen.

Gov. Sebelius could very well be our country's first Lady President in 2012, and I don't think you want to put someone like that in such an anonymous place.

Oops, I meant 2016 as opposed to more coffee!

No Responses to '“I’m just deeply disappointed that once again we may have to settle for the lesser of two evils. “'

I have written a lot of articles about what seems obvious to me, and that is recommending Dr. Dean for HHS. I am about to throw in the towel, and Dr. Dean's remarks soften the pain of the blow dealt to American Health by ignoring Dr. Dean. I know he will rise to the top because of his integrity and his own intelligence, and it is the Nation’s loss more than it is his loss.

I have been fighting enormous battles of consumer protection, all involving ghastly chemicals the FDA still approves of, in both the Hawaii and the New Mexico Legislature. It is unspeakable stupid that this chemical is still allowed on the market, when FDA and every 11th grade chemist can look at the
molecule and see that it is metabolized as methanol and formaldehyde, so how could it not have neurodegenerative properties?

To have an M.D. as Secretary of Health and Human Services has only made sense to one President thus far: Ronald Reagan, who appointed Dr. Bowen, former Governor of Indiana, to his Cabinet. Far as I know, he did not do a lot of good, nor did he do any bad, that I can find…..nothing compared to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes approving Aspartame, but to read that whole story, just google and read this:

Rumsfeld's bioweapon legacy.

so I won’t repeat the sordid story again here.

My point is that having an M.D., especially the genius of Dr. Dean who is a graduate of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, would make real consumer protection possible, and would also make Obama’s Change and Reform
believable. This job and the FDA were my litmus test for Obama Presidency, and I am putting that in the past tense, now....

And what is so ridiculous is that Dean’s 50 state strategy had a large hand in Obama’s Victory, and as Dr. Dean so aptly summed it up: he did it for the country not for the spoils of victory.

Here are two of my articles on Howard Dean for HHS:


Please take the time to email both President Obama and VP Biden in support of Dr. Dean at HHS; I believe the very future of American Health and Illness Prevention is at stake; I welcome your insights and ideas.

With every good wish, and stay tuned. A lot can happen in 4 years….

Thank You!
Stephen Fox, Political and Consumer Editor, New Mexico Sun News

Alex Koppelman is wrong. Period.

Contrary to all objections, the one name that does belong at the top of the list is Howard Dean's. He is more than well-suited for the job, a fact that his critics go to great lengths to avoid, preferring instead to focus on his alleged inability to work with Republicans.

Political bickering and personal differences have nothing to do with health care. It simply serves to prevent the best possible candidate from being appointed to a post that would benefit greatly from Dean’s medical and political management background.

It's regrettable that the egos of the few in Washington are the major obstacle to true health reform in this country, which Howard Dean can definitely deliver as Secretary of Health & Human Services.

The truth is, we need 60 Senators to break a filibuster and this is true no matter who the HHS Secretary is, because any healthcare reform package will have to pass through the Senate. This is a no brainer.

Save Sebellius for the Senate.

Appoint the BEST qualified candidate for the job, and that is HOWARD DEAN!

Oh and by the way, how do you think Gov. Dean successfully passed healthcare reform measures during his 11 year tenure as Governor of Vermont? hmmm.... I think he might have done some reaching across the aisle.

I'm not asserting that Howard Dean can't work with Republicans, I'm saying that some senior Democratic decision-makers believe that he can't, or claim to believe that as an excuse to deny him the job. Ironic, given that one of the key Dean antagonists is Rahm "Fuck You" Emanuel.

I'd be more than happy with Dean for HHS.

New England Republicans ≠ national Republicans.

But you're right, Sebelius should be saved for the Senate. Unless Obama screws up the Democrats will get their filibuster-proof majority in 2010, but they need it to be as strong as possible as a cushion against being slaughtered in 2012, when they have to defend 24 seats.

Howard Dean is by FAR the best person for this job. It disgusts me that Barack Obama does not seem to recognize this. Is Barry still seeking approval from the kids at Punahou, still trying to fit in -- rather than LEADING the country? Choosing Howard Dean would virtually guarantee that Obama would achieve the comprehensive health-care reform that has so long eluded this country. I did not work my butt off this election to have Republicans or compromising "bipartisans" occupy the seats of power in DC, that is NOT change that I believe in.

The stumbling block is NOT Republicans, as Alex Koppelman alleges. Rather, it is the "DEMOCRATS" (DINO's) who Dean spoke the truth to, about their support for the invasion of Iraq (as with Rahm Emanuel, who called for a "muscular projection of force"), their support of "No School Board Left Funded" (like John Kerry), their waffling on choice (like John Edwards).

As a 5-term Governor, Dean knows how to work with Republicans better than most people in the US Senate. And, as shown in recent votes on the stimulus etc., better than Obama and Emanuel.


Agreeing with many Progressives, I think Gov. Sebelius is great where she is in Kansas, but would be a huge disappointment if chosen over former DNC chair Howard Dean, a former governor, surgeon and chair of the National Governors' Association, which he won with bipartisan support.

I don't have anything against Dean getting the job, but I have a hard time getting worked up about it. Whoever gets HHS will mostly be administering the nuts and bolts of the health care bureaucracy. If they have any role in advocating health care reform, it will be the administration's proposal and legislative strategy they're carrying out. It won't be the administration carrying out the HHS Secretary's proposals.

Dean's own record on health care is basically wherever the center of gravity within the Democratic Party is at the moment. He tried to pass a version of the Clinton plan in '94 (which most on the left were lambasting as a DLC sell-out); later on in the '90s, covered more children through incremental expansions of the existing patchwork of programs (lambasted by the left as DLC timidity); and during his presidential campaign, called for a reform plan that was to the right of what was proposed by the three leading Democratic candidates in '07-'08. I don't know what Dean would favor now, but I would guess that it's something in line with the Obama plan. All fine and good, but the same would probably be the case for whoever gets HHS in the end.

The cult of personality stuff being displayed here about Dean is weird. The guy's not the Son of God, people. He was a DLC Democrat as Vermont Governor, who became center-left-with-the-volume-turned-up in 2003. He hit the g-spots of a particular slice of the Democratic Party coalition (whites with post-grad degrees) while everyone else was fairly indifferent to his candidacy.

What matters most to me is that the administration gets health care reform done. Is Howard Dean HHS Secretary when it happens? Yawn. The delicate egos of politicians and their supporters bores me.

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