Following up on a previous diatribe about the silly excuses that sources are now required to give for wanting to be quoted anonymously, I just saw this beauty in today’s New York Times scooplet about the fact (already widely expected) that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will be named Health and Human Services secretary:
“Ms. Sebelius accepted the president’s invitation and will be introduced by Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, said an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the formal announcement.“
How, exactly, does this avoid upstaging the formal announcement? I assume that should have read “who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to upstage the formal announcement without being held publicly responsible for doing so.”
Speaking of the Sebelius appointment, this could turn out to have important political ramifications. There will be an open Senate seat from Kansas in 2010 (incumbent Repub Sam Brownback is leaving the Senate to run for governor; Sebelius could not have sought another guv term because of term limits). Sebelius is very popular in Kansas and was widely considered the only Dem who could have given her party a chance of picking up a Senate seat in bright-red Kansas (which hasn’t elected a Dem. Sen. since the 1930s!)
I suppose it’s possible that Sibelius will serve one year in the cabinet then go home to run for the Senate, but that seems unlikely given Pres. Obama’s ambitious plans for remaking the health care system. The Hill ran a good piece last week, based on the growing Sebelius-for-HHS rumors, about the fact that Obama has now appointed to the cabinet several of the best Dem hopes for Senate pickups in red or purple states (Janet Napolitano of Arizona, who could have challenged John McCain in 2010 but is now secretary of homeland security, Tom Vilsack of Iowa, who could have challenged Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2010 but is now Ag secretary, and now Sebelius.
Given how close the Dems are to a filibuster-proof Senate majority, these could turn out to be big deals, said a source who asked not be identified because he didn’t want to be accused of turning every story into a political analysis.