Thumbnail image for breaking.jpgEvery week conservative leaders meet with congressional leaders at separate off-the-record House and Senate Values Action Team meetings.
Senate Sam Brownback hosts VAT meetings on the Senate side.
Today’s VAT meeting saw the room uncharacteristically packed with pro-family group leaders as well as congressional staffers….


Brownback brought an ally to the meeting, Senator John Cornyn, although Cornyn did say he would oppose Sebelius’ nomination.
Brownback agreed KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was a bad choice for HHS Secretary. He said he could think of more reasons than anyone there to oppose her, but he hoped group members would take politics into consideration – that it would help Republicans in the long run to get Sebelius out of KS. Rumor was she had her eye on his Senate seat, he said.
Brownback only apologized for not communicating his decision better to groups. But he said he would not change his mind.
That’s when Family Research Council’s Tom McClusky stood up. He told Brownback he was wrong, that now Sebelius would be the country’s problem. He said FRC would score the Sebelius vote, a big deal to conservative senators.
McClusky said FRC was pulling out of Senate VAT meetings. Brownback offered to resign as Senate VAT facilitator.
After the dust settled, it was unclear who, if anyone, was resigning.
Per my source, “Brownback needlessly drove a wedge into the conservative movement. His action basically allows the other side to say, ‘Those opposing Sebelius are to the right of Brownback, and how crazy can that be?’
“The Sebelius nomination could have been a wonderful opportunity to debate the life issue,” my source continued. “Brownback was insulting. It would be sad but poetic justice if Sebelius used her new national prominence to go back to KS and raise money against Brownback (who is rumored to plan to run for governor in 2010).”
There is also now a rift among Brownback’s staff, I’m told.
I’m proud of Tom McClusky.

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