Skip to comments.Why Rand Paul Is Sinking the Surgeon General Nominee
Posted on 03/21/2014 8:23:14 PM PDT by PaulCruz2016
Its about guns, its about the midterms, and maybe its about the first primary states in 2016, too.
Democrats thought they would win confirmation for more of President Obamas nominees by waiving the 60-vote filibuster hurdle for executive branch appointments, but they didnt factor in nervous red-state senators afraid of taking tough votes that could sink their reelection in November.
The latest apparent casualty is Vivek Murthy, a 30-something British-born American doctor, whose parents are from India, and whose Ivy League credentials and activism on public-health issues includes co-founding Doctors for America, which launched in 2008 as Doctors for Obama.
Murthy is Obamas nominee to become surgeon general, the nations top doctor and a mostly ceremonial post that occupants use to highlight and elevate health issues of national concern. Testifying before Congress, Murthy said he would focus on obesity, but Republican Sen. Rand Paul believes Murthy would use the post to propagandize on behalf of the Affordable Care Act and against the Second Amendment.
I doubt theres been a surgeon general dating back to the days of Lyndon Johnson that would pass the NRA litmus test, says Jim Kessler with the centrist Democratic group Third Way. The most famous surgeon general in modern times, Dr. C. Everett Koop, appointed by President Reagan, helped educate the country about AIDS, drew attention to the dangers of secondhand smoke, and after leaving his post wrote an editorial for the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992 titled Time to Bite the Bullet Back, arguing that the right to own or operate a firearm should carry the same restrictions as car ownership.
A surgeon generals views on gun violence have never been a litmus test before, but Murthy got the attention of the National Rifle Association with this 2012 tweet: Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c theyre scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue. The NRA went public with its opposition to Murthy, and says it will score any vote to confirm him, meaning the organization will hold it against lawmakers, a threat that makes vulnerable Democrats get all wobbly-kneed.
The White House is now recalibrating what to do, and with as many as 10 Democrats poised to defect, Murthy looks like a lost cause. The last thing they want is to take a vote that is considered anti-Second Amendment, says an aide to Sen. Paul, who is leading the effort against Murthy. Nobody wants to walk the electoral plank for a surgeon general, the aide adds. If it were a Supreme Court nominee, maybe .
Murthy is backed by a long list of public-health-minded organizations from the American Hospital Association to the March of Dimes, and on Wednesday, the influential New England Journal of Medicine challenged what it called the NRAs single-issue political blackmail, quoting a team of doctors who know Murthy personally and say they are appalled that a candidate of such high caliber would be taken to task for speaking out about a problem that lands thousands of people in emergency rooms every year.
The critical question is this: Should a special-interest organization like the NRA have veto power over the appointment of the nations top doctor? The very idea is unacceptable, the editors declare.
Unacceptable, yes, but the way politics works in Washington when you have a president with a 41 percent approval rating, and his partys control of the Senate hanging by a thread, the better part of valor on the part of the White House is to back off, at least for now.
This is about Rand Paul making guns a signature issue in his run for the presidency, says Kessler, who has tracked gun issues since he worked as an aide in the Senate. He points out Paul pushed an amendment to a bill that moved through the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee last month to allow people to carry concealed weapons into post offices. A compromise was worked out to allow concealed weapons in your car in the parking lot. Hes out of step with some Republicans because hes a libertarian, so hes making a stand on guns, says Kessler. Its part of his plan to win New Hampshire and South Carolina [primaries], and hes looking for places to highlight that issue where no gun legislation has gone before.
If Democrats are now siding with Rand Paul, its because the NRA has weighed in. But this may not be the last word on Vivek Murthy. We expect this is something they will put in their hip pocket and save for the lame duck, says Pauls aide. The lame duck is when you do things that are unpopular. You dont have to worry about the electoral backlash.
If Murthy were confirmed in the special session traditionally held after the November election and is the last hurrah for defeated and retiring lawmakers, he could still serve two years. Another nominee that might be resurrected in the same way is Debo Adebile, whose defeat in the Senate this month Obama called a travesty. Seven Democrats joined Republicans to reject Adebile as the nations top civil-rights lawyer at the Justice Department. Adebile ran afoul of nervous Democrats for his work as a lawyer for the NAACP in its representation of a cop killer in Philadelphia who is serving a life sentence without parole.
Gun Owners of America deserves credit.
I dont know if the NRA would be as strong if they were not being schooled by the GOA.
Rand Paul comes across to me anyway, as the most deft politician of the 2016 possibles. No one else can claim to get standing ovation at both CPAC and UCBerkley.
The thought of a British-born doctor of Indian descent lecturing Americans about gun ownership ought to make any free citizen of the United States vomit.
Fun stuff for sure. Beating Obama and Reid even though they rigged the Senate rules so they would always win.
Rand Paul is showing himself as a clever cookie.
Watch out for him.
Somehow I suspect that Clift would not be having a case of the vapors if a single issue group like NARAL were to attempt to block the appointment of a pro life Surgeon General.
NARAL wouldn’t have to lift a finger; the MSM would be all over an appointment like that.
Rand Paul is picking some interesting battles, one of the hallmarks of an effective leader. Wouldn’t it be nice if the current leadership could come up with a few ideas on how to fight?
They might be as conservative as Paul, Cruz, and the lot of them, but their failure to fight effectively is the reason McConnell and Boehner need to be replaced by better leadership.
I’m pretty sure the strongest lobbying group in the nation (for individual Americans) would be doing just fine without the GOA’s “schooling”.
“Guns are a healthcare issue.”
Well, he made his bed with that statement. Now we get to see if the Senate agrees that guns are a healthcare issue.
That’s all we need, is a Surgeon General working on gun laws.
But on topic, this nomination is DOA. Another, uh, black eye for PO(tu)S....
A very astute observation.
Those two should have been removed in 2009 after the 2008 loss. I was calling for that back then.
But it took years before most here caught on to that, like till 2011.
The problem was that talk radio hosts were pushing the ‘Miss Bush yet? ‘ line the first couple of years after Obama became POTUS, and those two were associated with those disastrous last years 2007 and 2008, so it was the defensive.
Now five years later who wants those jobs?
10 democrats against the guy. So why would Rand Paul get credit for going against this guy? Seems like a no-brainer.
I hate these foreigners who come to America with anti-American views with reference to the US constitution. I arrived on a student visa but then decided to acquire US citizenship because I like and respect the US constitution. Go back to where you came from Vivek Murthy. We do not need your views here.
Is this the surgeon that did Rand’s hairpiece? I could see why Rand would be ticked off.
Hussein’s ‘surgeon general’ is a gun-grabbing, neck-chopping MOSLEM.
If Senator Paul hadn’t put a hold on this gungrabber; Reid would have passed him through a month ago, before the NRA finally came out against him.
Too many doctors think they know what’sbest for you.They have no basis for such an attitude.I don’t care if they did spend years studying medicine.Too many in all professions believe their degree entitles them to dictate to the rest of us.