WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS

WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS: Freshly re-elected governor Kathleen Sebelius has some gratifying parting shots for Kansas's outgoing Underwear Drawer Monitor Phil Kline:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today criticized Attorney General Phill Kline�s actions in his abortion investigation into George Tiller.

�The story just continues to get stranger and stranger,� Sebelius said in response to questions from reporters.

On Wednesday, a state district judge rejected for the second time an attempt by Kline to file charges against Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performs abortions.

Kline, an abortion opponent, said he would appoint Don McKinney, also an anti-abortion advocate, as a special prosecutor to take over the case before he leaves office Jan. 8.

Asked if she thought Kline�s actions were appropriate, Sebelius said, �I think what the judge found is that he did not follow the law, he did not abide by the steps that needed to be taken. He looked at it twice, and to me that�s not appropriate to have an attorney general who isn�t following Kansas law.�

Sebelius, a Democrat and abortion rights supporter, said she looked forward to Jan. 8 when Democrat Paul Morrison, who defeated Kline, a Republican, in the November general election, would take over the job.

There are two points to be made here. First, any Democratic woman who can win re-election in a staunchly Republican state as an unapologetic pro-choicer really should be discussed more when it comes to potential national candidates. Second, while pundits for whom the solution to what ails the Democrats is always to throw women's reproductive freedom under the bus are cherry-picking cases like Bob Casey and Heath Shuler to make their case, Sebelius shows there's another side to the argument. The evidence that adopting the majority position on abortion has been an electoral albatross for the Democratic Party has never been well-supported empirically or logically, and the recent election results in Kansas (not just the re-election of Sebelius, but the repudiation of Kline) are another case in point.

[Thanks to Julia for the tip.]

--Scott Lemieux

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