A good bunch of folks seem to think so. I wouldn't be so sure. The fact remains that the 2010 Senate race in Kansas is one the Democratic Party and Barack Obama would really like to win. And while Obama may have had some trouble with the ethical failings of some of his appointments, Phil Bredesen is not likely to come up dirty in the vetting process.
Yes, Bredesen has a controversial profile in the health care community but that is a policy issue. If Bredesen is clean, the Republicans will throw up just as little resistance as they would for Sebelius. The progressives can whine all they want about TennCare, Obama is gonna pick the person he wants for the job, and the fact is Bredesen has been on both sides of this issue, the public side and the private.
Phil Bredesen has no definable future in electoral politics. Eventually he may want a Senate seat but Alexander isn't up for six years and Corker (and his money) doesn't look to be wanting to go anywhere anytime soon. The appeal of Bredesen to Obama over Sebelius is that Bredesen can be focused on the actual job of HHS secretary and not the politics.
Because, while the thrill of getting picked and the chance to tackle an issue can be invigorating, in many cases cabinet positions tend to be less than glamorous. Cabinet secretaries are more often on the downslope of their careers that in there prime. It is an easy place to disappear. Quite simply Sebelius should want to pass on this and Obama should let her.
Getting picked for a cabinet position is a deft thing to maneuver. Just because you haven't heard much from or about Bredesen in the past few weeks in regards to HHS doesn't mean he's not in the mix or lobbying hard for it.
A cabinet position is not something you openly campaign for. You want to be seen, as much as possible, as not campaigning for it while leaving yourself open to the possibility of getting picked. When the progressives attacked him on TennCare he had to make sure his name was clear and that his message was out there.