Capitol Hill conservatives are gearing up to fight the confirmation of anti-gun rights crusader Dr. Vivek H. Murthy as the next Surgeon General.
President Barack Obama nominated the Boston physician Nov. 14 to succeed Regina M. Benjamin, who resigned in July after four years of ridicule.
The first confirmation hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4 before the full Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Thomas R. Harkin (D.-Iowa), who just returned from three days in Cuba, for years the Left’s model of excellence for its health care system and disarmed populace.
A senior staffer familiar with conservative strategy said pro-gun rights senators Randall H. Paul (R.-Ky.) and Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.) plan to use the hearing to slow or defeat Murthy’s nomination in committee. Failing in committee, the two men will bring the fight to the Senate floor, hoping that their committee skirmish will be high-profile enough to alert both colleagues and advocates for restoring gun rights to the battle afoot.
The “nuclear option” helps the Paul-Enzi team’s effort.
Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), with the approval of the GOP House leadership, eliminated the 60-vote threshold to end debate, Republicans, who used to assist Democrats on procedural votes can no longer vote to end debate, which was the salient vote, and then vote against the actual motion that only required a simple majority. With both votes a simple majority, there is no place to hide.
What concerns conservatives is Murthy’s attacks on gun owners and gun rights as the co-founder and president of Doctors for America, the Obama-linked cousin to other progressive groups, such as Organizing for America, nee Obama for America and the Center for American Progress, whose founder John Podesta is now the senior grownup on the White House staff.
Both Murthy’s personal assistant Rachel Curley and press secretary Brannon Jordan are fellows at CAP, a think tank supporting by financier George Soros.
Republican leaders forge a governing coalition with the Obama White House, conservatives want the Murthy confirmation to be a referendum on gun rights as attention turns to the 2014 midterm elections.
Forced to defend 21 seats, with at least 10 of those seats competitive, the Democrats do not want to make anti-gun votes that would energize pro-gun voters. Typically, as an election gets closer, party discipline tightens, conservative fear that in the spirit of the new coalition with Obama, there may be Republican senators prepared to trade one-for-one with Democrats in trouble.
The Twitter feed of @vivek_murthy leaves no doubt eager the Obama nominee is to restrict gun rights:
Signs of progress-we got 20 votes in the senate in favor of gun violence legislation that we wouldn’t have had 1 year ago. Have faith #dr4a
18,000 annual gun suicides. 80% suicide success with guns, 2% without. Most survivors never reattempt – Eric Fleegler #dr4a conference
Murthy also used his Twitter feed to attack the National Rifle Association.
NRA press conference disappointing but predictable – blame everything in the world except guns for the Newtown tragedy. #wakeup
In the days after the Dec. 14, 2012 spree-shooting in Newtown, Conn., Murthy posted an open letter to the president that urged restrictions on gun rights in the name of the medical profession.
According to the group’s website the letter is part of a larger campaign. “It’s time for common sense gun rules like background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as a comprehensive plan to address gun violence including ensuring funding for research and data-collection on gun violence and ensuring that health care providers can ask patients about gun ownership in order to counsel them appropriately about safety measures.”
Using a common rhetorical construct of Obama’s, it dismisses discussion or the give-and-take of debate: “The complexity of gun violence and politics of gun safety laws can no longer be excuses for our elected leaders to avoid taking action to curb gun violence.”
As the Surgeon General and the head of the U.S. Public Health Service, Murthy would not only be in a position to use public funds to promote gun control schemes, he would also be able to open up another front in the Left’s war on gun rights by leveraging the doctor-patient relationship to attack gun violence as a public health crisis.
On the 2013 anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, Dr. Nina Agrawal, the coordinator of the DFA Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence wrote on the group’s blog: “Gun violence is an urgent public health crisis and as physicians on the frontlines of health care delivery it is our obligation to take action to keep children and families safe by talking with our patients about guns.”
The Left is not shy about manipulating research in pursuit of its agenda. Think about the studies predicting the Global Warming we are experiencing this balmy winter.
One cannot imagine the “research” about gun ownership the Murthy-led Public Health Service will produce.
What Murthy is also advocating is incorporating doctors and other medical professionals into the political fight to disarm Americans, just as medical professionals are more and more dependent on government funding, favors and sanctions.
The Senate has a constitutional duty to advise and consent to presidential nominations and determine if Murthy is fit for the job.
Murthy is academically qualified for the job by virtue of his experience. But, conservatives are convinced disqualified himself, because of his overt activism and the likelihood that he will use his federal government position to fight against rights protected by the Second Amendment.