The Senate approved Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) as President Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary, said Sarah Rubenstein in The Wall Street Journal, filling the final vacancy in his Cabinet. The outbreak of swine flu was an “extra incentive” to get an HHS secretary in place, after “plenty of delays,” including the failed nomination of Tom Daschle. Sebelius was confirmed, 65–31, despite a big push by anti-abortion activists to derail her, too.
Opposing Sebelius for her views on abortion is one thing, said Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly. But when that failed to get traction, conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck threw “nonsensical tantrums” over the flu epidemic, suggesting that Obama was talking up the flu threat to rush through Sebelius’ blocked nomination.
Yes, all but seven Republicans voted against Sebelius, said Barb Shelly in the Kansas City Star, but at a time when the GOP is starting to look like an “ideological fortress,” give credit to the “very conservative,” very pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback (R, Kansas), who voted for his fellow Kansan. If there were more “honorable and collegial” acts like that, we’d all be better off.