Career politicians are a curious breed. They are the only species known to man that creates grand catastrophes and then expects praise for quietly slinking away and pretending it was someone else’s mess all along.
This month, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts (R) ran to the cameras and called for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Of course Kathleen Sebelius should resign, or if we lived in a sane world, be fired unceremoniously. That much is true. But what Senator Roberts hopes you won’t realize is that we wouldn’t be in this mess today if he himself had not supported Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination to become the head of ObamaCare.
Barack Obama’s appointment of Kathleen Sebelius to HHS was controversial, but he knew he could count on Pat Roberts’ support. Not even moderate Republican senators like John McCain or Lindsey Graham could bring themselves to support Ms. Sebelius, but Sen. Roberts not only supported her, he publicly endorsed her and voted for her, not once but twice. In fact, only two Republican senators were willing to provide the two critical votes Kathleen Sebelius needed–in committee and on the floor–to become the head of the department that would oversee ObamaCare: northeastern liberal Olympia Snowe and the Kansas senior senator, Pat Roberts.
Kansans have long recognized that Kathleen Sebelius is an unmitigated disaster. As Kansas governor and, before that as insurance commissioner, Ms. Sebelius unleashed a fury of government mandates that ultimately served to chase several insurance companies out of the state and left tens of thousands of Kansans without insurance.
In 2009, the executive director of Kansans For Life declared that there was “no real excuse” for Senator Roberts’ support of Sebelius, adding that it was “wrong” and “regrettable.”
We sincerely believe that today’s vote is one that Americans will come to grievously regret as they meet up with Ms. Sebelius’ policies in their hospital rooms or, more to the point, denial of those rooms and essential health services.
If anyone should recognize that the Kathleen Sebelius version of government-knows-best is a betrayal of Kansas values, it should be Senator Roberts. After all, before his three-decade tenure in Congress, Pat Roberts spent another decade on Capitol Hill working for Kathleen Sebelius’ father-in-law.
Once she was in Washington, the Sebelius disaster continued. On the eve of the health care vote in 2010, Kathleen Sebelius buried her own report that gave cover to President Obama’s false promises. Her report exposed the reality that ObamaCare would increase the cost of health care by $400 billion over a decade and cause 14 million Americans to lose their insurance policies. By withholding this critical information, she assured ObamaCare would be passed by Congress.
In 2012, investigators announced Kathleen Sebelius was in violation of federal law when she campaigned for Barack Obama’s re-election. Soon thereafter it was discovered that Ms. Sebelius was shaking down private companies in the health care sector in hopes of propping up the president’s already crumbling health care law.
Earlier this year, Kathleen Sebelius sat in judgment of 11-year old Sarah Murnaghan, whose tender life depended on a lung transplant denied to her not by her doctors but by untouchable bureaucrats. After rejecting Sarah’s desperate pleas, Kathleen Sebelius–herself the consummate bureaucrat–coldly stated: “Someone lives and someone dies.”
Kathleen Sebelius is an unmitigated disaster. The untold misery left in her wake as Kansas insurance commissioner and governor and now head of HHS is breathtaking and heartbreaking. Yet it was still not enough to prompt Senator Pat Roberts to act, and I should know. On October 15, I announced that I will challenge Senator Roberts in the Kansas Republican primary for the United States Senate, in part for his support of Sebelius. Three days later, he suddenly discovered that Ms. Sebelius has to go.
“If you think those two developments aren’t connected,’ a Kansas City Star columnist wrote, “then you probably think the Kansas Jayhawks are headed for the national championship this year–in football.”
Now Senator Roberts wants credit for talking tough about the mess surrounding Kathleen Sebelius that he himself helped to create by putting her there. That would be like me offering my patients free x-rays but only if I get to kick them in the knee first.
We Kansans appreciate that Senator Roberts cast his vote against ObamaCare, but a senator should have something far more powerful than just a vote; he should have a voice. For three decades, until he feared for his own job, Senator Roberts couldn’t find his. When we needed him most, when he could have spared Kansans and all Americans the disaster of Kathleen Sebelius, he turned his back on our state and sided with Washington.