There’s nothing wrong with being smart. In politics, it’s strategize or die. But at some point you must have principles or you’ll end up like…well…Arlen Specter.

Some think Brownback crossed the line with his recent vote for pro-abortion lunatic Kathleen Sebelius. Others think the pro-life criticism is just another example of the pro-life community eating its own.

The question being asked (I think rightly) is why would a Catholic Senator who calls himself “pro-life” vote for Sebelius for HHS Secretary.

Many people, including Steve Skojec writing at Inside Catholic, are comparing it to Sen. Rick Santorum’s endorsement of Specter over Toomey, which enraged many pro-lifers.

Brownback has lots of ready excuses for his actions, none of which hold much water. His vote for Sebelius – far more problematic than Santorum’s endorsement of Specter – comes in direct contrast to the 32 members of the House who wrote to the President and asked him to withdraw her nomination “in light of her close collaboration with the abortion industry.”

These political machinations wind up like this every time. When are we going to stop taking the bait? When are we going to stop going to bat for “pro-life” politicos who wind up selling their inheritance for poisoned pottage?

When I read this I sadly nodded my head. But this one surprised me. I looked into it further and there are some circumstances here that should be in evidence before Brownback gets thrown off the wagon.

One conservative Kansas blogger at Kaw and Border thinks Brownback may have made the right decision because it gets Sebelius out of Kansas. And let’s face it, whoever Obama picks to head up HHS is going to be completely lockstep with the pro-choice community. He says:

It is for those very reasons that a yes vote was also justfiable — particularly when all the other political AND policy factors are taken into consideration — such as the fact it gets Sebelius out of Kansas, for one; and two, it ensure that the winner of the Tiahrt/Moran Senate primary will be facing a much weaker Democrat than the substantial and real political force that is Kathleen Sebelius.

Now, some may be aghast at such a statement — “you’re putting politics before principle!!” There is another argument, however. First of all — there are actual principled policy reasons for removing Sebelius from the Governorship; and second of all, the fact is what we’re talking about here IS politics — there is no getting around it. Most dedicated principled conservatives compete in politics not for the political game but for the end results of such victories. However, in order to get there — you have to win. In the famous words of former Chiefs Coach Herman Edwards, “You Play to Win the Game.”

Now, does that mean you throw aside all principles for the sake of political victory? Of course note. Any effective principled politician must weigh both sides of those two words — both the “principled” and the “politician”.

Now I do think that strategy must play a role. But I do get a little tired of Republicans tossing their hands in the air over “conscience voters.”

Here’s the thing, pro-lifers have been burned sooooooooo many times that they’re fed up. How many times have Republican Presidents nominated “moderate” judges when it was the pro-life community that knocked on the doors and donated much of the money to get the President elected in the first place.

The vote for Sebelius wasn’t a close one and Brownback could’ve easily just voted against her as it was a 65-31 vote. So that leads me to believe that a deal was cut that Brownback had to vote for Sebelius thus keeping the opposition against Sebelius somewhat muted and in turn he got Sebelius out of Kansas for a few years.

Republicans in Kansas are thrilled to get ride of Sebelius. One Kansas City Star columnist said:

How do you spell “relief” in Topeka?

No more K-A-T-H-L-E-E-N.

What was striking about a visit to the Capitol last week was just how relieved — to use a form of that word again — many lawmakers were to have Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in Washington.

Yes, these lawmakers are Republicans…

So in the end, it comes down to the question of does the ends sometimes justify the means. If Kansas gets a pro-life Conservative governor, would that redeem Brownback’s Sebelius vote? It’s quite possible that Brownback himself may be eyeing a gubernatorial run.

And we all know that no matter what you think of Brownback’s vote, having a Governor Brownback would likely be a great help to pro-lifers.

But here’s the problem? Imagine that Brownback’s the Governor and he sees a possible avenue to the Presidency if he only moderates a little bit on the life issue. Now, many pro-lifers won’t completely trust that Brownback won’t give a little to get a little. That’s the problem with making deals.