Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is my Choice for Obama V.P.

This question will continue to dominate the political landscape over the next few weeks as Michigan and Florida get resolved. But, there is continuous speculation on who will be the heir apparent. Much of that speculation focuses on whether Obama owes that pick to Hillary Clinton. I have long argued against this pick and still am vehemently opposed to it. The least of which is her Republican turn in the primaries and hawkish tone as well as unsavory rhetoric among the white working class voters. But, all that is forgivable as she is a seasoned politician that would serve as the hammer in the campaign that Obama is unlikely to do. But most important is that Obama's message of change becomes weakened with the Clinton pick. In step Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

She has been my pick for a while, but I have wavered as many tinker with the talking points of no foreign policy experience, blah, blah. She is an exact replica of Obama's change message, however in Kansas while still sticking to extremely progressive ideals and reaching out to voters one would never expect. With that comes the question is he (Obama) or she (Sebelius) tough enough? Well, the answer to that question is in the actions. On May 19th Sebelius said no to a Republican favored, politically expedient, but well accepted voter I.D. law that seeks only to disenfranchise the poor. The Supreme Court recently upheld the sanctity of these bills in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. And so far, few states have gotten riled up, preferring instead to spend their little remaining legislative time this session on real solutions to real problems, rather than disenfranchising elderly nuns.

This is how the Brennan Center described the bill:

The Kansas legislature recently passed legislation requiring voters to show citizenship papers when registering and photo ID when voting in person at the polls. This is the harshest such law in the country, beyond any other state. And though there's no indication that there's a pressing problem this solves, there are already reports from other states with less restrictive rules that real people are showing up and having to cast ballots that won't count. Most people, yes, have specific types of documentation. But some just don't—and without the right papers, it's actually not a small thing to get the right papers. Sometimes, you're stuck in an endless loop: needing to show a birth certificate to get a photo ID, and needing to show photo ID to get a birth certificate. At times, the bureaucracy can be majestic in its capacity to frustrate. I have spoken to clients on the phone with this issue. It is common among the poor or those who are homeless.

The bill landed on Governor Sebelius' desk and she quickly vetoed it. She stated: the bill created a roadblock that prevents citizens from voting. “Additionally, she said "no elected official should support enacting new laws discouraging or disenfranchising any American who has been legally voting for years.” The law of course is passed with the notion to protect voter fraud, but like in the Crawford case there is no (count it none) evidence whatsoever that indicates voter fraud. This is also no small act because last year the rationale was the bill could be unconstitutional, but since the measure has been upheld by this right wing renegade court Sebelius may suffer political consequences. Instead she chose to stand up and do the right thing, a rare quality in national politicians.

Sebelius for V.P. all the way. She was against the war, firmly pro-choice, and has consistently stood up to the right wing in Kansas. For more on Governor Sebelius go here.