Wasinger: Why so silent?

The recent discovery of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ tax problems will probably not obstruct her confirmation as secretary of health and human services. Perhaps her tax indiscretions really were unimportant… or perhaps they are now considered business as usual. After all, Sebelius is hardly the first of Obama’s nominees to have an embarrassing tax history.
She is, however, the first radically pro-abortion politician that Senator Sam Brownback has publicly supported.
Sebelius’ extreme pro-abortion views are well documented, as is her relationship with George Tiller, the abortionist currently in danger of losing his medical license after multiple accusations of financial misdoings, patient endangerment, and illegal bypassing of Kansas abortion laws. Tiller is just the sort of unsavory character that you don’t want your elected officials palling around with, regardless of your political leanings.
Brownback’s support of Sebelius’ nomination as HHS secretary, one of the few cabinet positions in which one’s views on abortion are immediately relevant, was an unpleasant surprise to many pro-lifers. Senator Brownback has never been known to waver on pro-life issues… until now.

Brownback claims that by helping to promote Sebelius to a national office, he will have rid Kansas of her negative influence. His disappointed constituents counter that her new job will give her much more opportunity to assert her pro-abortion agenda. HHS Secretary Sebelius would ultimately harm the state – and the nation – much more than Governor Sebelius. I’m willing to be optimistic about Brownback’s continued value to the pro-life cause, but I’m also deeply disappointed. His detractors make some excellent points.
Fortunately, not everyone in Kansas is content to sit back and watch the confirmation go through unchallenged. State Senator Tim Huelskamp may not have a vote in the confirmation process, but he does have guts. Huelskamp, who is running for Congress in Kansas’ 1st District, has been pretty outspoken in his opposition to Governor Sebelius’ nomination – not an easy thing given that he’s running for office in a state in which the two sitting Senators have supported her. Congressman Todd Tiahrt, who is vying for the Senate seat Brownback will vacate in 2010, has also voiced his opposition.
Notably silent among these voices is Rob Wasinger, Senator Brownback’s former Chief of Staff. Like Huelskamp, Wasinger is running for Congress in Kansas’ 1st district… but unlike Huelskamp, he hasn’t said a word about the Sebelius nomination. This is puzzling in a candidate who has a pretty good reputation as a pro-lifer. Sebelius’ record on abortion is so notorious that he’s got to have an opinion about her upcoming confirmation one way or the other – so why not voice it? At this point he wouldn’t even be the only voice, and it seems a shame to miss out on such a great opportunity for a group of Republicans to work together on a uniting issue. Wouldn’t that be a powerful statement, especially during preparations for a Primary? Wasinger’s silence begins to remind one of his long-time employer, Senator Brownback. And for once, that’s not a good thing.
I hope Brownback will stop with the careful politicking and return to his strong pro-life roots – and I hope Wasinger will decide to add his voice to those opposing Governor Sebelius’ confirmation. ‘

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Rachel Motte

Rachel Motte is a freelance writer, journalist and editor specializing in social issues, educational affairs, and international religious freedom. Her work has appeared at CNN.com, The Evangelical Outpost, The New Ledger, the Daily Caller, and in Jonah Goldberg’s recent anthology, Proud to Be Right. She is an alumna of Biola University, the Torrey Honors Institute, the Leadership Institute, and the World Journalism Institute. Rachel may be reached at rachel[at]rachelmotte[dot]com.

  • Christopher

    Thanks Rachel, I appreciate your incisiveness on these politics and religion.
    I do take issue with this post though. At HHS, Governor Sebelius has no legislating or policy-making authority (i.e., she can only implement the President’s policies). I’m from Kansas, and all signs pointed to the fact that Sebelius was going to run for the Senate, and all the polls show that she would have CRUSHED either one of her opponents (Tiahrt and Moran).
    In my mind, given the choice between Sec. Sebelius and Sen. Sebelius, I would MUCH rather have her in a position that she can’t actually make laws, legislate, introduce bills, hold nominations, etc. etc. etc.
    Further, its not as if though the President was going to put up a pro lifer to that position. It just wasn’t going to happen. So, whats the harm in encouraging her to take a position with less power? The alternative is having Senator Sebelius in 2010 AND a pro-abort at HHS. The fact of the matter is that we lost the election, and it is the President’s prerogative to put up whomever he sees fit. The ship has sailed on getting pro lifers into the highest levels of the executive branch.
    Just a thought. Appreciate everything you do.

  • JillD

    A man as outspokenly pro-life as Sen. Brownback should never have supported this woman for anything, no matter how politically advantageous one position might be over another. Sometimes, principals must come before politics. In fact, make that ALL the time.
    His mailings to me here in California will now enter the round file, unopened. I’m VERY disappointed.