Magazine article The Masthead

Kansas Governor Dishes Up Bland but Charming Platitudes: Impressive Style but Disappointing Speech

Magazine article The Masthead

Kansas Governor Dishes Up Bland but Charming Platitudes: Impressive Style but Disappointing Speech

Article excerpt

Sometimes being even a few minutes late for your next appointment can have ruinous consequences. Several minutes late to a recent speaking engagement with the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius could have reached the top floor of Kansas City's Intercontinental Hotel and delivered a dry, paint-by-numbers address that she's probably doled out to audiences a thousand times before.

And that's basically what she did this time, too. With a strong and confident voice she took a series of jabs at the Bush administration--though never not too harshly. She mentioned a few of her big accomplishments as governor-but only briefly. She even began the brief affair with a disarming little comment--"Please, eat your soup"--to help loosen up the journalists gathered before her. Her charm appeared to be clicking from the get-go.

Fifteen minutes down the line it had become a little easier to see how Sebelius had become governor in the first place. She looks and sounds and seems every bit the part she was hired to play.

All of a sudden she was dashing away toward the elevators, on her way to yet another event. No time to shake hands or share a few stories. Not even time to enjoy her own share of delicious hotel soup. I don't know that I'd enjoy being a governor if I didn't have time to enjoy life's little moments, although I also probably wouldn't mind making what state chief executives regularly get paid. I wonder if money, and the infrequent differences they inject into people's make the constanting to the next event worth the trouble.

Toward the beginning of her address, Sebelius said that the opportunity to reform government begins with credibility. It's the type of disarming, impossible-to-disagree-with statement that infiltrated her every breath. For instance, it turns out that one of the essentials to restoring trust in the public sector is common sense. …

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