New Surgeon General Approved Despite Opposition

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In finding a new man for the role of Surgeon General of the United States, President Obama had his pick of almost anyone. Instead of finding someone with an established and distinguished background in medical leadership, though, he chose Dr. Vivek Murthy. Dr. Murthy’s qualifications for the position are scarce – at the age of 37, he has neither the clinical nor administrative experience that would recommend him for office – but it’s his political leanings that have many concerned.

Since 2008, Dr. Murthy’s objectives have become increasingly liberal. He formed a group called Doctors for America (created as Doctors for Obama) which lobbied hard for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It hasn’t escaped notice that his nomination for the nation’s highest medical office seems like political payback for that early support.

Still, that kind of favoritism is not exactly a new phenomenon for Washington. By itself, it would hardly constitute a reason for the Senate to oppose his confirmation. But Dr. Murthy’s insistence on classifying guns as an American public health threat has many concerned about what his tenure as surgeon general will entail. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming was among those speaking out against his confirmation, saying, “Americans don’t want a surgeon general who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution.”

Barrasso’s concerns are echoed by the National Rifle Association. Spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, “America’s next surgeon general should not be a political operative whose professional inexperience has been a source of bipartisan concern.”

The “bipartisan concern” he speaks of is not an NRA fiction. Democrat Senator Joe Manchin left the specific topic of guns out of his statement of opposition, but he still thought Dr. Murthy’s history of political activism made him a poor fit for the role of surgeon general. He expressed strong doubts as to whether or not the doctor would be able to “separate his political beliefs from his public health views.”

Most troubling to Second Amendment advocates are Murthy’s stances when it comes to policy. He was supportive of the gun restrictions Obama was attempting to push through after the Newtown shooting, and he even went further than that, insisting that the country needed mandatory licensing and training laws in place. He has also spoken out in favor of mandatory waiting periods and rationing laws that would limit the amount of ammunition a customer can purchase.

Surrounded by all of this controversy, Dr. Murthy has assured the public that he will not campaign for gun control while in the position. But such assurances are hardly worth the expenditure of air it took to make them, considering this administration’s record of lies. While the surgeon general has no specific power to set health policy in the United States, he can wield a mighty effective bully stick if he so chooses. The last thing we need right now is a surgeon general muddying the Second Amendment waters with self-righteous, liberal activism.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Dr. Murthy took his thoughts to Twitter: “NRA press conference disappointing but predictable – blame everything in the world except guns for the Newtown tragedy. #wakeup,” he wrote.

Murthy’s comment is equally disappointing but predictable. In his tweet, in his advocacy, and in his career, he has distinguished himself as the perfect Obama Democrat – blame everything in the world except for the person responsible. Can’t wait to see how that philosophy informs his position on the real medical crises facing the U.S.