Dr. Vivek Murthy, wearing a doctor's coat because he's a doctor.
Almost one year ago, President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as surgeon general, and the NRA went insane
because Dr. Murthy, being a reality-based person, had once talked about the reality of gun violence being a public health issue. Which, of course, resulted in a flurry of vows from Republicans to block his nomination. Now that a particularly scary virus has come the U.S. (and affected approximately one-gazillionith of the population compared to gunshot wounds), people are noticing that it would be really nice to have the position filled. And, of course, Republicans are all saying it's President Obama's fault
that we don't have one.
On "Meet the Press" yesterday, for example, Chuck Todd asked Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) about the vacancy in the Surgeon General’s office. "This seems to be politics," the host noted. "The NRA said they were going to score the vote, and suddenly everybody’s frozen. That seems a little petty in hindsight, does it not?"
Blunt replied, "Well, you know, if the president really ought to nominate people that can be confirmed to these jobs, and frankly, then we should confirm them."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went even further during an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley.
CROWLEY: Do you think it would have helped … had there been a surgeon general in place to kind of calm what has become the fear of Ebola?
To hear the Texas Republican tell it, Dr. Vivek Murthy isn’t even a "health professional," which is the exact opposite of reality.
CRUZ: Look – look, of course we should have a surgeon general in place. And we don’t have one because President Obama, instead of nominating a health professional, he nominated someone who is an anti-gun activist.
That's news to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where Murthy is an attending physician and Harvard Medical School, where he teaches. What's more, any healthcare professional who doesn't have an opinion on the public health problem of what's truly an epidemic in the country—gun violence and accidental shootings—is either an ideologue or a not very well-qualified healthcare provider. Additionally, the surgeon general has no ability to make policy about guns, and Murthy himself testified
that he would not use the position to advocate for gun restrictions.
And here are Republicans arguing that Murthy isn't a qualified health professional because the NRA—so well known as a public health advocacy group—told them so. But, it's all Obama's fault that we have Ebola in the U.S. and that we don't have a surgeon general to help deal with it.
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Meanwhile, the U.S. is on track to meet its annual average of 30,000 gun deaths
and 100,000 victims of gun violence this year.