According to a New York Times article last Friday, President Obama's pick for the next Surgeon General of the United States, rabidly anti-gun Dr. Vivek Murthy, faces a difficult and far from certain road to that high office:
Facing a possible defeat in the Senate, the White House is considering delaying a vote on President Obama’s choice for surgeon general or withdrawing the nomination altogether, an acknowledgment of its fraying relationship with Senate Democrats.
Why is that?
The nominee, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, an internist and political ally of the president’s, has come under criticism from the National Rifle Association, and opposition from the gun-rights group has grown so intense that it has placed Democrats from conservative states, several of whom are up for re-election this year, in a difficult spot.
This comes as something of a surprise. This column reported in early February that with the Senate's Democrat majority having invoked the "nuclear option" with regard to Presidential appointments, Murthy seemed poised for a fairly easy confirmation process. Indeed, several news sources at the time described Murthy as having "breezed through" the confirmation hearing before a Senate committee.
So what has changed since then?
The NRA has announced that it will "score" the vote on Murthy's confirmation, meaning that those who vote to confirm him will be judged (in a critical light) on that vote when it comes time for supporting and endorsing candidates--and opposing them. This is especially important for "pro-gun Democrats" running in districts where gun rights are still valued.
The interesting part of this is that the NRA's vow to score the confirmation vote comes quite late--and not without considerable arm-twisting by gun rights advocates who wondered if the group ever planned to do anything useful with the political capital it carries. And by "gun rights advocates," I mean National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea, whose drumbeat of pressure urging the NRA to take that critical step was something of a solo act.
When the NRA acted, a reader and correspondent of Mr. Codrea's emailed him:
I just watched Chris Cox on The Kelly File flatly state that they would be scoring the Surgeon General vote in the Senate. Mr Codrea, I want to thank you for being a decisive factor in this. Without the pressure and public shaming of the NRA, they certainly would have weaseled their way out of scoring this vote as they were clearly attempting to do. Thank you! I apologize if this is bothering you because you have been sick, but I think you deserve credit for causing the NRA to do what it's membership wants for once!
Granted, we cannot know for certain that it was Mr. Codrea's pressure that roused the NRA, but there seems to have been precious little pressure coming from any other direction, and judging by the long delay in the announced intention to score the vote, it appears unlikely that it would have happened without pressure.
We also obviously don't know at this point that Murthy will not end up being confirmed after all, and even if he is not, one might argue that it was not the threat of an NRA score that did it--another of Obama's recent anti-gun zealot nominees, Debo P. Adegbile, failed to garner a Senate majority vote despite some "pro-gun Democrat" support, abetted by the NRA's refusal to score that vote.
Still, if America's gun owners do end up being spared the rabidly anti-gun Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General, they might want to thank National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea. And anti-gun extremists like Mike "The Gun Guy" Weisser, who is so upset about the NRA's intention to score the vote, might owe him "despised by the despicable" honors.
- Surgeon General nominee's vow to refrain from anti-gun agenda likely big fat lie
- NRA opposition to Surgeon General nominee lacks credible deterrent
- Still Waiting to Score
- Knowing the Score
- ‘Pro-gun Democrat’ once more places Obama administration over gun rights
- NRA finally gets off its ass in the Murthy nomination fight.