Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Snow vs Sebelius? My money is on Kathleen

The Useless Tool™ is coming to Kansas for a photo op. But Greensburg isn’t getting verklempt about it all. In fact, I get the impression as I peruse the websites of the western Kansas press outlets that they probably consider his visit just another frickin’ thing they have to deal with.

Haven’t they suffered enough?

- A visit by President Bush on Wednesday would normally be the biggest event in the town's history.

But digging out from under a tornado's rubble, the people of Greensburg are just too busy to pay the visit much heed.

"He doesn't want us to stop," Steve Hewitt, city administrator, said of the president, "and we don't want us to stop."

People are too busy mapping out how to eat, where to sleep next, where to get fresh laundry and how to literally pick up the pieces of their lives, their futures and their homes.

For them, they said time has blurred, and they grow weary with fatigue and the sorrow that comes with the reading of the newly confirmed dead: three more at a news conference this morning.

Simultaneously, Tony Snow is lyin’ and spinnin’ like he ain’t on his way to hell.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the fault was Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’.

In a spat reminiscent of White House finger-pointing at Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco after the federal government’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina, Snow rapped Sebelius for not following procedure to find gaps and then asking the federal government to fill them.

”If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it,” he said.

(Just let me say, cancer or no, this guy is a dick.)

The Kansas Guard itself seems more in tune with what the Governor is saying than the spin of the Snow-job.

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general, said the Kansas National Guard was equipped at only about 40 percent of its required levels, down from the 60 percent that it had at the start of the war.

Even as Snow insisted he wasn’t trying to get into a political tussle with the Democratic governor, he aggressively defended the administration’s performance.

Now I am not worried about Kathleen Sebelius. She will come out of this on top, and Snow-job will rue the day that he questioned the competence of the most popular Democratic Governor of Kansas in the last half century - maybe the most popular governor of either party of the last half century.

The Kansas City Star pointed out that Governor Sebelius has been bringing up the issue of the under-equipped nature of the Guard for over a year now.

The governor’s concerns date to at least December 2005, when she wrote to the then secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, pleading for the replacement of equipment that would be needed in a state emergency.

The following month, while riding with President Bush to Kansas State University, she again mentioned equipment that never returns from Iraq.

Kansans as a general rule have good bullshit detectors, and they are beeping like crazy right now, every time they hear the slurs against the Governor they reelected with something like 96% of the vote in November. (I kid - it was more like 88%...)

But still…Where is the national Democratic Party? They need to get behind the Governor right god-damned now.

Howard Dean, do you have anything to say about this?

UPDATE: Via Think Progress, here is a more comprehensive list of Sebelius agitating for Guard equipment:

Jan. 23, 2006: Sebelius personally urges Bush to increase National Guard funding. In an one-hour motorcade ride in Kansas with Bush, Sebelius expressed concern about “a reduction of National Guard troop strength in its next budget.” Bush assured her he was “dealing” with the shortages. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/24/06; Kansas City Star, 3/11/06]

June 28, 2006: Sebelius sends Army Secretary list of equipment lost in war. In a meeting with Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, Sebelius told Harvey that the state had lost about $140 million in National Guard equipment to the Iraq war. Her office then sent him a list of the lost equipment. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 6/29/06]

Sept. 2006: Sebelius lobbies for replacement of National Guard equipment sent to Iraq. “Kansas’ congressional delegation, Sebelius and governors from around the country have been lobbying the Pentagon for increased funding to replace National Guard equipment that has been left in Iraq or damaged beyond repair after repeated use in war.” [AP, 9/5/06]

Feb. 27, 2007: Sebelius pushes White House and Congress for more funding. “Now the Guard needs Washington’s help,” Sebelius said in press conference on Capitol Hill. “The President and Congress need to step up to the plate and give our Guard members the support they deserve.” [Press Release, 2/27/07]

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