Palin group tries to derail Sebelius HHS confirmation

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    The Senate is on the verge of confirming President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Debate begins this morning, with a vote anticipated later in the day. Kathleen Sebelius is expected to get the 60 votes needed in the Democratic-led Senate.
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Congratulations, you got the job. Now fix the Swine Flu problem ...

If things go right for Kansas Governor Kathy Sebelius, that'll be her first task as President Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services. Debate begins this morning over her confirmation, and the vote is expected this afternoon.

She needs 60 votes to clear confirmation and it looks like she'll get the nod.

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Derail

That's not to say the forces against Sebelius aren't making a full-out attempt to derail her. Some 70,000 supporters of Sarah Palin are staging a late-in-the-game rally against her confirmation.

Yesterday, the TeamSarah website sent out an "action alert to its members, asking them to call the office of Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and urge him to vote against Sebelius' confirmation."

"Today's the day! Our Not on Our Watch! Phone Bank Blast is set for TODAY from 2pm - 4pm ET. Write a note & stick it on your forehead, set your cell phone alarm - do what you have to do to remember to make your calls TODAY!"

Although these are supporters of Palin, it's not as though she's leading the charge against Sebelius. "The organization has no formal connection to the governor," notes the Anchorage Daily News.

Sam I am

All eyes will be on Kansas Senator Sam Brownback today to see how he votes.

The Kansas City Star reports that although he was expected to vote in favor of Sebelius' confirmation, his vote has softened.

"His office Monday declined to reveal how the staunchly anti-abortion Republican will vote, but last week Brownback told a reporter Sebelius’ recent veto of new abortion regulations made it 'harder and harder' for him to vote yes on the Democrat’s nomination."

By voting for Sebelius he raises the risk of alienating pro-life groups in Kansas -- organizations that he'll want on his side during his forthcoming gubernatorial run.

But he could weather that storm, according to a political science professor from Kansas State University.

"It will be a heavy thundershower. A few lightning strikes, but no permanent damage," the prof told the Star.

Hold on

Fox News commentator Glenn Beck says "Whoa Nellie" on acting too fast.

"There's no need to go all Tim Geithner here and confirm people just because a crisis is looming," he said. "This government likes to push things through so you don't have time to think."

Tradition

If Brownback does vote against Sebelius, it will be an anomaly.

The Congressional Research Service reports that only two times in the last 20 years has a senator from one party failed to back a home state nominee from the opposing party.

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As an aside, one of our favorite things about Kansas is the band.

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