In Harry Reid's Senate, it's difficult for one of President Obama's appointments to be too radical to win confirmation. But such might be the fate of Dr. Vivek Murthy, whose prognosis for confirmation as surgeon general is grim. So far, Mr. Reid can't muster 50 commitments for a favorable vote in a body controlled by 55 Democrats.
Eight Democrats could join Republicans in opposing the nomination, according to the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. When the political autopsy is performed, it's likely to show that several of the Democratic senators who voted against Debo Adegbile, the president's radical nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, had the same problem with Dr. Murthy. He's more political activist than physician.
Dr. Murthy founded Doctors for Obama, which in a logical world would be disqualification enough, considering what the president has done to health care. Yet Dr. Murthy has done much more to disqualify himself, tweeting before the 2012 election that "guns are a health care issue" and insisting that doctors counsel patients against owning a gun. That's particularly worrisome because that would be entered into a patient's private electronic medical records, available to the government under Obamacare.
The surgeon general is meant to be a doctor, not a politician, and he's certainly not supposed to use the position to divert research money into junk science that radicals can cite as a way to infringe the Second Amendment. The prospect of a vote for such a nominee keeps endangered red-state Democrats up at night. It's not a surprise when one Senate aide says, "We don't expect a vote to happen."
It's not yet clear whether President Obama will stand by his man or withdraw the nomination, but this patient is not likely to recover. London's Daily Mail reveals that Dr. Murthy has had an obsession with guns since he was a boy watching Saturday-morning cartoons. Instead of being entertained, he was appalled. When he was the 16-year-old valedictorian of his Florida high school class, he took the cartoon characters to task for "the growing problem" of kids and violence.
"Today," the teenage Vivek Murthy said, "a typical elementary student wakes up on Saturday mornings to fiery gun battles, explosive scenes of terror and the violent decimation of the 'bad guy' ... . With such destructive influence, society's preoccupation with firearms and brutal methods of conflict resolution is no surprise." Now 36, Dr. Murthy still hasn't grown out of his adolescent passion.
Endangered red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas or John Walsh of Montana are determined not to take the blame for this appointment. They want the blame put where it belongs, on villains like Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote.