I’ve made fun in the past of some Second Amendment advocates who see black helicopters full of Men in Black out to take their guns from them in every effort at regulating firearms.
In the case of President Obama’s choice for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, they may be right.
A number of Senate Democrats have indicated that they might oppose President Barack Obama’s choice of Vivek Murthy for the post of U.S. Surgeon General, according to Senate aides, putting the nomination at risk over the issue of gun control.
Dr. Murthy’s nomination is opposed by the National Rifle Association, the country’s largest gun lobby, because he has expressed support for gun control, calling it a public-health issue.
Chris Cox, executive director of the group’s political arm, said in a Feb. 26 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) that the NRA opposed Mr. Murthy because of his support for a “wide array of gun control policies,” including a federal ban of certain semiautomatic firearms, often called assault weapons, and their ammunition.
“Given Dr. Murthy’s lengthy history of hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms, along with his calls for the full weight of the federal government’s health apparatus to be used to target lawful gun ownership, there is little reason to believe that he would not work to further a gun control agenda if confirmed as Surgeon General,” Mr. Cox wrote.
The White House hasn’t yet alerted Senate leaders how they plan to proceed on the nomination, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide, who said that as many as 10 Senate Democrats are still considering whether to support Dr. Murthy.
White House officials said they were “recalibrating” their strategy.
Questions over Dr. Murthy’s ability to clear the Senate arose just over a week after the chamber blocked Mr. Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Debo Adegbile. Several Democrats joined Republicans last week to oppose Mr. Adegbile after opponents highlighted his role in an effort to commute the death sentence of a high-profile, convicted murderer.
The vote marked the first time the Senate had refused to advance one of Mr. Obama’s nominees on the floor since it changed its rules to speed such confirmations last year.
“Vivek was approved out of Committee with bipartisan support, but after the Debo vote, we are recalibrating the strategy around his floor vote,” a senior White House official said Friday. “We expect him to ultimately get confirmed and be one of the country’s most powerful messengers on health and wellness.”
Murthy made all the right noises at his confirmation hearing:
MURTHY: To start, I do not intend to use the Surgeon General’s office as a bully pulpit for gun control. That is not going to be my priority, as we spoke about. My priority and focus is going to be on obesity prevention. There are a number of public health challenges that are facing our nation. My concerns with regard to issues like gun violence have to do with my experience as a physician, seeing patients in emergency rooms, who have come in with acute injuries, but also seeing many patients over the years who are dealing with spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and other chronic complications from gun violence. But if given the opportunity to serve as Surgeon General, I’d like to point out a couple of things. One is that I recognize that the role is not to be a legislator or a judge the role is to be a public health educator and to bring the country together around our most pressing healthcare challenges and I believe at this point that obesity is the primary health challenge of our time, and that’s where I intend to put my focus. [Senate HELP Committee, 2/4/14]
Murthy might not use his office as a “bully pulpit” but what worries me is that when the White House cracks the whip during their next go-around on gun control, this guy is going to be all over TV talking about guns as a “public health issue.” So he’s been in emergency rooms and seen the result of the right to bear arms. There are casualties of free speech too. Perhaps we should make politically incorrect speech a matter of “public health” as well.
You don’t bargain away constitutional rights because there is a cost associated with them. That’s ass backwards logic and if this fellow doesn’t realize it, he shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place.
Sooner or later, those with an anti-liberty agenda will find a way to push something they don’t like into the sphere of public health where, with Obamacare operational, government can now bludgeon people into submission who disagree with them.