May 11, 2007

Please Tell Me This In't True (UPDATE: It Isn't)

I've long felt that Democratic leaders (not most Dem voters, who I think are generally good folks) will stoop to any level to achieve their political goals, but if the following conversation relayed to is true (and I have strong doubts, but would like them put to rest), then heads should roll:

XM Radio’s Quinn & Rose made the allegation that DNC Chairman Howard Dean called Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius early Sunday morning and instructed her not to request federal assistance in recovery from the Greensburg tornado, and to lie about the federal response to date, on their show, The War Room, today. After I discussed the story via phone with both Quinn and Rose today, here’s what they sent me.

Quinn & Rose relate specific allegations from an anonymous source that claims to be in a position to know of a conversation between Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback.

I encourage you to read the account in full.

If correct, Sebelius willfully lied when she stated she did not have enough National Guard troops to respond to the Greensburg tornado, and she did so at the direct requests of Democratic National Committee Chairmen Howard Dean and Democratic Senator Dick Durban of Illinois.

I'd typically discount such claims as conspiracy theorizing, except for the fact that several Democratic governors are now voicing the same concerns, from Maryland's Martin O'Malley, to North Carolina's Mike Easley and Arkansas' Mike Beebe, and with equally questionable reasoning.

Easley states that our state's National Guard could handle the largest natural disaster we face, a hurricane, but bases his complaint on the fact that we aren't equipped to handle a pandemic. This is a devastatingly shallow response: in the case of a pandemic, the surge capacity of our medical system would fail far before out National Guard will.

Were other Democratic governors prodded to a response by Dean as Sebelius reportedly was?

Did Sebelius, Chairwoman of the Democratic Governor's Association, make a call to Democratic governors on behalf of Dean? Or did Easley, Beebe, etc merely respond to a media inquiries?

Frankly, I don't know how much "meat" there is to this story, or if it is true, but think that if Howard Dean would disclose his personal home, DNC, and cell phone calls to the 785 area code for May 5, we could potentially rule out this story fairly quickly.

If the story does pan out to be true—and I do have strong reservations, as to date, it is based upon a single anonymous source—Sebelius should be impeached on ethics violations, Dean should step down, and both they and any other government officials that may be involved should be investigated for charges of conspiracy and racketeering under federal RICO statutes.

I sincerely hope that state and national Democrats would not stoop to such a level.

Lets see those phone records, Dean-o, and put these rumors to rest.

Update: Hot Air is now reporting that the DNC has sent cease-and-desist letters to XM Radio and the Free Republic, stating that the claims made were "demonstrably, uneqivically, and absolutely false."

Let's hope so.

Update: Brownbeck denies the call as well.

Stick a fork in this one.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 11, 2007 09:30 AM

Easy Mike's concern is there won't be enough gaurdsmen to shoot sickly republicans when a pandemic strikes. Primarily because they'll be standing guard around his and Johnny Edwards homes making sure the riff-raff don't get in.

At least that's what I'd say if I were a conspiracy theorist.

Posted by: phin at May 11, 2007 10:40 AM

Don't you think that with the C&D letters that they are proving their guilt by protesting too much?

Posted by: David Caskey at May 11, 2007 10:57 AM

It is difficult to think of a way to debunk this for certain, short of a statement from Brownback. But if it is true that Sebelius said what she did about equipment shortages because Howard Dean asked her to, it is hard to understand why she would admit doing so to Brownback, or a confession from Sebelius or Dean.

It is true that this is not the first time Sebelius has brought up this subject. Go here to see a MediaMatters article "debunking" the Quinn and Rose allegation (I don't think it does so conclusively):

I know MediaMatters is a partisan site, but this article does contain links to AP stories on Sebelius' earlier complaints about the effects of Iraq War deployments on the Kansas National Guard.

It also suggests that the equipment shortages are real. At any rate, Sebelius brought this up earlier--she didn't need Howard Dean to suggest she take advantage of such a golden opportunity to point the problem out again.

And so what if the Iraq War decimates state militias? Those of you who support the war believe this is a price worth paying. Those of us who oppose it believe it is not. The point is not really whether the Governor of Kansas is making political points--she is, after all, a politician. The point is whether the Iraq deployment brings with it costs in terms of local disaster relief that are higher than we want to pay. So the real question should be: How high are these costs?

Voters in Kansas probably care, and that is why Sebelius keeps bringing it up.

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 11, 2007 11:18 AM

If there are equipment shortages then she should tell the democratic Congress to get moving and fund the military.


Posted by: Mikey NTH at May 11, 2007 11:48 AM

If is true, you'd get the exact same response from the DNC anyway.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 11, 2007 11:57 AM

CY: Thanks for the update on this. Kudos for putting it to rest.

Mikey NTH: The reason for the equipment shortages is not lack of funds (though this will become a problem later when we can no longer wait to replace equipment being used up in current conflicts). The Kansas National Guard has little equipment for disaster relief because much of their stuff is deployed elsewhere. We can disagree about whether this is the best use of their gear. But bringing out the "Dems won't fund the troops" strawman doesn't add much to this debate.

And if funding the troops is such a priority, why not ask for the funding in the regular budgetary process? Why wait and ask for "emergency" funding when this is no longer unanticipated cost?

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 12, 2007 07:53 AM