The Practical Sen. Brownback

Republican Kansas Senator Sam Brownback has received a lot of flack for his support of fellow Kansan Kathleen Sebelius’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services – it even caused the Family Research Council to pull out of “Values Action Team” that Brownback leads.

To date, Brownback hasn’t offered much in the way of explanation for his stance, much to the dismay of anti-choice activists who once viewed him as a solid ally. Other than saying that getting Sebelius confirmed to HHS will get her out of the Kansas and thus away from a possible run for Brownback’s open Senate seat in 2010, Brownback has been rather quiet about the whole thing … though today he admitted to the Topeka Capital-Journal that his stance has hurt his reputation among anti-choice activists:

Sen. Sam Brownback is aware anti-abortion forces in Kansas remain baffled by his unwillingness to be the catalyst for a campaign against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination to lead the federal agency guiding abortion policy.

Brownback, a prominent national voice against abortion, said pragmatism guided his decision not to sound an alarm upon nomination of the abortion-rights Democrat as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“People have been pretty upset,” the GOP senator said. “I’ve been saying to them there’s a practicality to this.”

He said any HHS nominee put forward by President Barack Obama would be someone who believes abortion should remain a legal option for women.

“If you’re going to have a pro-choice person in that position, it’s better to have a Kansan,” Brownback said.

That is essentially Brownback’s entire explanation: since whomever becomes HHS head is going to be pro-choice, it may as well be someone from Kansas.  Why that matters or how it is supposed to justify his stance on her nomination, he doesn’t say.

I have to say that this has to rank among the single lamest explanations I have ever seen – it is almost as if he knows that he can’t square his support of Sebelius with his well-establish anti-choice views and has just decided that he’s not even going to try.