The Case For Governor Kathleen Sibelius
As the date for selecting a running mate for the presumptive nominees approaches there have been many names thrown into contention for both candidates. While there have been many qualified names offered up for the Democrats and many people have their own personal favorites, I am no exception. According to conventional political wisdom the main purpose of the vice-presidential nominee is to bring unity to the party if there has been a fractious primary, or to bring geographical strength to an area where a candidate may be weak, or for gender, generational or ideological concerns. I believe that one of the top and best choices for Senator Obama’s selection as a running mate would be Governor Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas.
Now, I have to admit that I have a personal bias towards Governor Sibelius and the State of Kansas. I attended the University of Kansas and have been a major Jayhawks fan for decades. All of that aside though, I would like to discuss my case for having Governor Sibelius on the ticket for the Democrats. I have been a big fan of Governor Sibelius since she was elected Insurance Commissioner, while I live in the neighboring state of Missouri I have been keeping an eye on Kathleen Sibelius. Her star has risen swiftly in state and national political circles and she had been rumored for other positions previously.
Most of you I am sure are familiar with her biography, but for those who are not let me give you some of the highlights. She was born in Cincinnati, OH and attended Catholic schools throughout her life. She moved to Kansas in 1974 and attended the University of Kansas where she earned a Master of Public Administration degree. Her father was a Governor of Ohio and her husband is a federal magistrate judge. She was born and raised a Catholic and I believe is still a practicing Catholic. While I personally have issues with the Catholic Church, I do not hold them against the Governor.
My first point for Governor Sibelius is the fact that she is a Governor. Unlike legislators the public views Governors as actually doing work and accomplishing things. Let’s face it a legislator can go through their whole career and never produce any meaningful legislation. Governors on the other hand govern, they submit budgets and handle crisis’. There is a reason that many of our past Presidents were ex-governors. The two political Parties have done such a good job of tearing down each other in the Congress that the public’s perception of legislators is just above child molesters.
Next is the fact that she is a blue Governor of a traditionally red and Midwestern state. For the record though Kansas is not a traditionally red state. Let’s remember that Kansas was a free state and fought for the abolition of slavery. Kansas also offered free homesteads to freed slaves. Kansas has had it’s issues with race, but they have always been willing to give people a chance. As a rural farm state they have always believed in the value of hard work and common sense. While they may be too conservative for a lot of folks taste they have a history of live and let live and Kathleen Sibelius typifies that attitude. As Governor she has refused to sign abortion legislation that would criminalize, eliminate, or reduce access to abortions, even though she is personally pro-life.
Another of her strong characteristics is that she is a fighter and will stand up for what she believes in. This was demonstrated when she stood up to the energy companies that wanted to build coal fired power plants in the state. Many thought this would reduce her popularity due to the smear campaigns being employed by the energy companies, in actually she became more popular. Governor Sibelius has continued to gain popularity in the state and nationally for her stands on the issues of capital punishment, the environment, and a rational gun policy. Governor Sibelius would be a hearty foe for any Republican VP candidate during the debates and on the campaign trail. She is tough and effective yet she has not lost her capacity to be a woman.
My final point but by all means not the final reason for Governor Sibelius to be chosen is the fact that she is a woman. I believe that having Governor Sibelius on the ticket will not only shore up the rural white and Midwestern voters, but would also allow the Democrats to break two historical barriers in the same election. Many of the women in this country wanted to see Hillary elected not only because of her being a great candidate, but also due to her historical candidacy. Having Governor Sibelius on the ticket would go a long way to motivate and excite those many Hillary supporters who wanted to also be a part of a history making campaign. It would also demonstrate how much the Democrats respect the significant contributions women have made not only to the Party, but also the nation.
Will Governor Sibelius get the nod for VP? I doubt it the odds on favorites coming out of the Obama camp are white males with strong national defense backgrounds to short-circuit the un-patriotic and inexperience arguments that the “swift boaters” are going to present in the fall. The Republican memes have already begun with the same campaign rhetoric they have used the last three election cycles (flip-flopping and weak on defense), I guess if it keeps working. I for one would applaud the selection of Governor Sibelius because she exemplifies many fine qualities that our country is sorely in need of.
You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman. ~Jane Galvin Lewis