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Doctor Robert, he's a man you must believe

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Dr. Preston Burke isn't the only doc with an employment problem these days. Much has already been written about GWBush's seemingly tone-deaf nomination of Dr. James W. Holsinger, Jr., for Surgeon General. From Think Progress:

But as BarbinMD points out, Holsinger’s nomination to be “America’s doctor” is troubling. He has a long history of prejudice toward gays and lesbians. Some examples:

– Holsinger founded Hope Springs Community Church, which “ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian.” Holsinger said that he sees homosexuality as “an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]

– In serving on the United Methodist Judicial Council — the “court” that resolves “disputes involving church doctrine and policies in the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination” — Holsinger “opposed a decision to allow a practicing lesbian to be an associate pastor, and he supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gay man to join the church.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]

And Steve Benen writing at Crooks and Liars has this:

Following up on an item from last week, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, has a record of activism that suggests a strong anti-gay bias. Opposition to his nomination has been growing, but it’s been unclear whether there was enough information available to sink his chances.

Maybe this will do the trick. Holsinger wrote a paper in 1991 arguing that, from a medical perspective, homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy, a position rejected by professionals as prioritizing political ideology over science.

Holsinger, 68, presented “The Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” in January 1991 to a United Methodist Church’s committee to study homosexuality. (Read the .pdf paper here.) The church was then considering changing its view that homosexuality violates Christian teaching, though it ultimately did not do so. Relying on footnotes from mainstream medical publications, Holsinger argued that homosexuality isn’t natural or healthy.

“A confirmation fight is exactly what the administration does not need,” said David Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, who predicted the paper would cause a “minor storm” among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

“You have to wonder given the quality of some of the nominations that have gone forward recently, whether the selection group in the White House has gone on vacation,” Gergen said. “There has been a growing criticism the administration favoring ideology over competence, and this nomination smacks of that.”

Sorry, David, you're wrong. Karl Rove thinks a confirmation fight is exactly what the Far-right wing of the Republican Party needs right now, and here's why:

The nomination, which requires the approval of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has raised questions in the Senate. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts who is chairman of the health committee, released a statement saying he was “disappointed” that the administration had chosen a doctor “whose record appears to guarantee a polarizing and divisive nomination process.” Senator Barack Obama, a committee member and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a statement that he had “serious reservations” about the nomination.

Get it yet? Maybe this membership list of the Committee will help:

Edward Kennedy (MA)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Hillary Rodham Clinton(NY)
Barack Obama (IL)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)

Now does it make sense? Rove would like nothing more than to stage an event where 3 of the Democratic candidates for President ask his nominee why he hates Teh Gay. He can spin that back to energize the religious Right, wary because of Romney's cult, Giuliani's divorces, and McCain's . . . well, lunacy.

This gives James Dobson more ammunition, heck, it gives Fred Phelps a wink and a nod. This is a master-stroke from a political Ninja who, while on his way out, still has the power to Screw Things Up™. Rove knows Holsinger is a fringe wacko, yet hopes to parlay opposition to him as support for forced abortions, needle exchanges, and Halloween Parades in the Castro in San Francisco.

It's up to the Committee to spin this right back into Rove's face, by discussing medical issues and not moral ones, to show Holsinger as truly outside the mainstream in America.

Good luck, kids.

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Submitted by lambert on

This one:

“There has been a growing criticism the administration favoring ideology over competence, and this nomination smacks of that.”


Where has Gergen been? Moderate Republicans are wankers, the "responsible" Old Guard Republicans are wankers, and The Base is delusional. Nice.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Steve, you say

to parlay opposition to him as support for forced abortions,

now am I undercaffienated or just dense. This guy, I will presume, is for government control of uteruses (and such necessary restrictions on the owners of said birthing vessels as may be required) as opposed to control by the free self-determining humans within whom these organs reside.

That's the only "choice" that matters--does the government decide who bears children or does the individual doing the bearing? The government can decide either way--you must not have an abortion or you must--depending on whether it is China or the US government doing the deciding.

But how opposing this dork, whose main thing seems to be restrictions on penis usage rather than uterine, comes out to "support for forced abortions" is unclear to me. Ted Kennedy and Barak Obama have become Chinese?

That aside I agree wholeheartedly that the nomination must be safely shitcanned on the basis of technical matters. I don't give a shit what he wants to do with the Methodist Church, people are free to do theology in their spare time if that's what floats their boat over stamp collecting or Civil War reenacting.

I want to know if he's got experience managing a huge bureaucracy, preferably well. Has he ever done research? What's his position on intermingling government money and funds from the pharmaceutical industry? What funds has he ever taken from pharma reps? Say avian flu strikes tomorrow, and a vaccine is devised but not through the testing process fully--how would he set up an emergency vaccination campaign? Doses are limited--who gets them? Etc.

I'm gonna bet some deficiencies can be found in there somewhere. :)

Submitted by lambert on

Sure, they're running the government--sorry for saying that, I just can't think of a good phrase for what they're actually doing to the government--with winger ideologues and thirty-something children from Regent University. Sure, it's a total Clusterfuck, but that's not the point: The point is to let the operatives punch their tickets and get something on the resume, so when the judgeship, or the US Attorney's job, or whatever, comes up, they look like credible candidates. Plus it looks good when they want to get on the think tank tit.

Oh, you wanted the government to work? Silly.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.