Keeping Democracy Alive

March 8, 2009

The new administration is still in the process of filling positions and since the beginning, there has been problems with some major cabinet appointments as the nominees had withdrawn from considerations to avoid political challenges during the hearing process.

Lately, it appears to be the nominee CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

It is evidenced in the following article;

Gupta won’t be next surgeon general

Neurosurgeon and TV Correspondent withdraws from Consideration

By Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press – Thank you.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta won’t be the next surgeon general, the Obama administration confirmed Thursday.

Gupta 39, a neurosurgeon with star appeal, was seen as President Barack Obama’s first pick for the job. He would have brought instant recognition to the office of surgeon general, a post that has lacked visibility since the days of C. Everett Koop during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

An administration official said that Gupta had been under “serious consideration” but took himself out of the running because he wants to focus on his medical career and spend more time with his family.

“We know he will continue to serve and educate the public through his work with media and in the medical arena,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of nominations.

The official said there were no problems that would have disqualified Gupta, and it was his decision to withdraw.

The surgeon general is the nation’s doctor, and while the job doesn’t involve much policymaking responsibility, it’s a bully pulpit for promoting public health. Gupta could have helped Obama pitch his health care reform plan.

Initial reports in early January that Obama had approached Gupta about the job created a stir. The new president had not yet taken office. The chairman of the American Medical Association’s board said at the time it would be a boon to the government if Gupta accepted.

But Gupta would have had to give up a lucrative career. He hosts “House Call” on CNN, contributes reports to CBS News and writes a column for Time magazine. He also practices surgery at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, which sees more than its share of trauma cases.

Political opposition had started to form.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., called Gupta inexperienced and circulated a letter urging Obama not to appoint him. Conyers is a leading supporter of health care reform that would create a government system similar to Canada’s and is particularly influential among liberals.

Gupta does have some Washington experience. During the Clinton administration, he served as a White House fellow and a special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton.”


Washington Hypocrisy:

Strangely enough, with recent appointees for high profile cabinet positions involving decision-making on International crisis affecting billions of lives around the globe “experience” didn’t seem to matter to the members of the hearing committee.

Some were sworn in with a mere formality hearing and they were aptly called by the media a shoe-in appointment.

Also, there was swift approval of nominees considered “controversial” with tax issues, conflict of interest notwithstanding the nation’s critical cabinet post supposedly being “unconstitutional.”

However, an administrative post with none or minimal policymaking responsibility as cited in the above article, aroused skepticism in the minds of certain members prompting them to an all out campaign against the adequately qualified and nationally as well as internationally prominent candidate with White House experience, reveals the true colors of Washington Politics.

Last fall, history was made for a reason. People of the human race overwhelmingly came together  to convey a loud and clear message…

It is no longer the “red states” or the “blue states”, but it is the United States of America.

Apparently, like everything else it is being regarded a catchy campaign slogan rather than embracing and most importantly practicing to keep democracy alive.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant