I’ll admit when I first heard the news that Kathleen Sebelius was resigning, I was disappointed. The first thought that went through my mind was, “Great, now Republicans can use this to ratchet up their propaganda.” But I reminded myself that knee-jerk reactions are usually wrong, and I thought about it a little more.
Then suddenly I saw the brilliance of it.
By her resigning now (and trust me, the Obama administration knew about this well before it became public) Republicans just lost a “face” to plaster on their campaign ads attacking “Obamacare” for this year’s elections. Because let’s face it, she was the face of the disastrous rollout of the marketplace website.
But she took the blows, stuck in there, and remained in her position as the website was fixed and “Obamacare” enrollment hit its goal of over 7 million signed up at the end of March.
Still, she remained a liability. Before the website’s embarrassing issues, I’d guess that hardly anyone had any idea who this woman was. Fast forward to present day and millions of people recognize who she is at least by name. Fair or unfair, she became the first person (aside from President Obama) that sprang to most people’s minds when they thought of the disastrous marketplace rollout.
She was also someone Republicans had fully planned to use against Democrats during the midterm elections this November. They undoubtedly planned to use many clips from her testimony about the issues the website initially experienced, and interviews she gave, in campaign ads to show the “horrors” of the Affordable Care Act.
And they still can – but now they’ll just look desperate and foolish if they do.
What good will campaign ads do them six months from now slamming a woman who had long since resigned? In politics, six months is an eternity. Come September and October, Kathleen Sebelius will have been out of the news for nearly a year and she will have been gone from her position as the face of “Obamacare issues” for months.
In one move, Republicans lost one of their safest strategies heading into the midterms this fall – using Kathleen Sebelius against Democrats. Sure, they’ll try to spin her resignation as a sign of the law’s overall “failure,” but that just won’t sell 6 months from now.
So while some liberals are cringing at this news, I really don’t believe that they should be. While on the surface it seems like something Republicans will be able to pounce on, and they will in the short-term, her resignation just removed a huge “chip” Republicans had planned to use against Democrats this November.