Obama's anti-gun surgeon general nominee in trouble
The NRA has helped derail a pro-gun control nominee for surgeon general. Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy has said in the past the gun violence is a public health issue, and even though he claimed at his confirmation hearing that he wouldn't use the office of surgeon general to promote that cause, the NRA chose to oppose him.
With the NRA on the warpath, pro-gun Senate Democrats were likely to vote Murthy down. That caused the White House to delay a vote on the Senate floor - likely for good.
Democratic leaders in the Senate have begun surveying senators to determine whether there is enough support to save the troubled nomination. Few Republicans are expected to back Murthy, and as many as eight Democrats also could be opposed.
"We don't expect a vote to happen," a Senate aide said.
The divide between the White House and the president's party has widened in recent weeks as Obama's low poll numbers leave Democrats increasingly concerned about their chances in the November midterm election and whether they could lose their majority in the Senate.
Earlier this month, Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's civil rights division, Debo Adegbile, was rejected by the full Senate after several Democrats joined Republicans in opposing him.
Law enforcement groups had criticized Adegbile's past involvement in the legal appeals of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was on death row and is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for killing a Philadelphia police officer.
Gun rights issues are particularly powerful in an election year, and the entrance of the NRA into the surgeon general confirmation opens a new front in the gun lobby's efforts to halt any attempts at federal firearms restrictions.
In a letter to Senate leadership in February, the NRA warned against the confirmation, saying, "Dr. Murthy's record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns."
In the past, the NRA didn't venture into nomination battles beyond those directly related to 2nd Amendment issues, but the gun lobby's letter suggested "the likelihood he would use the office of surgeon general to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership."
A spokesman for the NRA said Saturday that the organization was simply responding to the White House decision to nominate a gun control advocate.
"We're forced to get involved and voice our opposition," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam
I don't think Murthy could keep his views on guns from influencing him as surgeon general. The next time the White House pushes gun control, Murthy was going to be trotted out to spout his nonsense about gun violence as a public health issue - rather than a law enforcement issue.
The guy should stick to trying to get Americans more active and lose some weight. Obesity is a genuiine health issue that needs to be addressed intelligently. The last thing we need is an suregon general wandering off into the political thickets shilling for the anti-gun lobby.