Two years ago, I wasn’t sure that Hillary Clinton would be elected the first woman President of the United States in 2008. Turns out my sense about the common wisdom at the time was right. But now, I’m wondering what slot in the new Barack Obama administration is available for the woman I WAS thinking of.
Seems to be the popular speculation at this point.
Since my blood has run Democrat blue for as long as I can remember, I would vote for Senator Clinton if she ends up being the Democratic nominee in 2008, but I think the chances are pretty slim this country is truly ready for a woman president, let alone someone who has been as polarizing as Hillary.
In any event, in recent times, Senators have had a rough go getting elected to the White House. Voters, for whatever reason, seem to like governors — George W. Bush (go figure), Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon.
So I say, the woman to keep your eye on is Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic Governor of Kansas.
Yesterday, Sebelius was named the first woman to head the Democratic Governors Association, which is tasked with, among other things, helping other Dems get elected nationally and taking back the White House in 2008. Depending on her level of success, there will be a lot of chits she’ll have built up she’ll be able to call in when she’s ready to leave Topeka.
More importantly to Sebelius’ national electability, Kansas is a VERY red state — think Bob Dole and Sam Brownback. If she has been able to convince the conservative Republicans there that she is a “good” Democrat, then she’s a gal the party ought to be paying very close attention to as a model.
Having lived in the lovely Sunflower State for six years (Rock Chalk Jayhawk, go KU!), a token spot of blue in a very flat field of crimson, I can tell you it is no easy feat for a Democrat to get elected to statewide office there. So with her two-term success as governor, Sebelius already has the imprimatur of many of the Midwest’s less-than-liberal voters as a Dem they can live with. Her views are across the political spectrum — pro-choice, anti-gay marriage and opposes allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons, among others — a little something for everyone.
So keep your eye on this Sebelius, as we start hearing all the hype about the Democrats hopes for the White House in 2008 or 2012. She could just be the stealth candidate who could go all the way.
And, of course, I’d love to see Baby Jayhawk visiting the Oval Office!
What do you think? I saw Governor Jennifer Granholm standing with Barack Obama at his first news conference as President-elect. Think there’s a place for Sebelius in Washington?