February 6, 2008


Since What's the Matter With Kansas? came out a couple years ago, scholars and political pundits have enjoyed slicing and dicing--as Obama might say--the state into statistical bits and cranking out models that explain why low-income, low-education voters consistently vote against their economic interests and elect firebrand Republicans to Senate and state house.

Soon, though, we might be singing another tune. If Obama's momentum continues and he clinches the nomination, I can easily see Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D), a "Yes We Can" fellow traveler, joining the ticket as VP candidate. Gov. Sebelius boasts several assets, in addition to sharing Kansas heritage with Obama's mother:

1) popular red-state politician despite liberal positions, ex. opposition to capital punishment, pro-choice

2) one and a half terms of executive experience

3) good campaigner for the woman vote

4) record turning around a difficult budget impasse

5) Her father used to be governor of Ohio, a key swing state in the general election

I'm sure there are other assets I'm neglecting. I don't claim that Obama could win Kansas in the general election, but the heartland ticket could play tough for Missouri's votes. If Obama can carry Missouri he can wrap up the country.

Gov. Sebelius' official bio is found here.

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