As soon as Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to be HHS Secretary , a lot of liberal bloggers started throwing around the names of Howard Dean and John Kitzaber, both former Democratic governors and both physicians, to replace him. Neither, we noted at the time, was seriously in play. We seem to be right.
We did mention Kathleen Sebelius and while there's no certain confirmation that the Kansas Governor will be nominated to be Barack Obama's HHS Secretary, outside groups following this closely tell me that Sebelius is undergoing final vetting and the White House wants to be extra, extra careful not to have this one blow up. After all it would be the fourth withdrawn cabinet nomination, following Tom Daschle, Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg. Sebelius was vetted for vice president but that's not enough. Everything is being updated, I hear. The announcement could come this week and certainly by Obama's address to the nation and a joint session of Congress on Feb 24 where Sebelius is likely to be in the gallery seated near Michelle Obama.
There's some disappointment among liberal groups about Sebelius's nomination, not because of her positions which they like but because she had the best shot at a Democratic pickup of the Senate seat that will be vacated by Sam Brownback, the Kansas Republican, when he retires at the end of his term.