Roberts’ remarks disappointing

Senator need not swing farther right

By The Mercury

We hold US Senator Pat Roberts in high regard, but it was disappointing to see him calling for Kathleen Sebelius to step down as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

He singled out problems with the federal website for the Affordable Care Act, which took effect Oct. 1. Sen. Roberts went so far as to say the problems reflect “gross incompetence” by Secretary Sebelius. He even said he regrets having voted for her confirmation to the post in 2009.

Looking for an explanation for such inexplicable behavior leads to just one place: a primary challenge from a tea party activist. That individual is Milton Wolf, a 42-year-old Leawood radiologist who happens to be a second cousin of President Obama. Mr. Wolf isn’t a household name, but he’s well known among tea party activists and conservatives. He made a point in his speech announcing his candidacy to take Sen. Roberts to task for his vote to confirm Mrs. Sebelius as HHS secretary.

Sen. Roberts doesn’t need to flash his conservative bona fides, and we hope he doesn’t feel the need to swing farther to the right to withstand the challenge from Mr. Wolf. Calling for Secretary Sebelius’s resignation two weeks into the rollout of the complicated health insurance overhaul serves no use other than to pander to Kansas tea partiers.

Sen. Roberts surely knows — though he can’t be expected to voice it during the campaign —  that the unveiling of Obamacare could have been smoothed considerably had much of the Republican Party not gone to such great lengths the past couple of years to thwart it.

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