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What the Gupta Are They Thinking?

By       Message David Glenn Cox     Permalink
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What kind of Gupta is this? We all make mistakes; it is, after all, normal to make mistakes. The Obama administration made a mistake in picking megachurch, megabuck, megabigot, religious leader Rick Warren to speak at the inaugural ceremonies.

Warren will make his remarks and then fade away, back into the world of dollar signs on crucifixes and feeling good about himself by casting stones at others. Safe in the knowledge that Jesus will never reach him to throw down his tables or to throw his punk ass out of the temple. Warren is a symbol of all that is wrong with religion today. Mother Teresa went into war-torn Beirut to rescue handicapped children and Warren goes on the Today show to hawk his book.

But the news that the Obama administration is seriously considering Dr. Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General gives one pause. At first glance it makes you say, ok, you got me, who's he really going to pick? This isn't a mistake, this is a f*ck up. A magnitude five, first-class f*ck up. We have a politician that ran for office on a promise of health care reform, and then he picks to lead its effort a corporate stooge, a shill who blows in the wind, repeating whatever message his corporate masters whisper into his ear.

A shill hostile to single payer insurance. Why not pick C. Everett Coop, he's not doing much except for "Life Alert" commercials? Apparently this administration has fallen and can't get up, and bumped its head on the way down. Let's forget that Gupta is a corporate stooge, lacking all credibility except as a cable network huckster. He has no administrative experience whatsoever; he makes Brownie look like a wise choice.

The Bush Administration appointed John Bolton as its UN ambassador, despite Bolton's life-long hostility to the UN. The plan was simple; Bolton was to act as an obstructionist to thwart any move by the UN that might appear hostile to American interests. So how then do you explain a Gupta? Was the guy at Fox News too busy?

If it were just Gupta's lack of credibility, it might be explained away, but he is also grossly unqualified. Literally thousands of doctors managing small to medium-sized hospitals all across America are immanently better qualified than Gupta. It makes about as much sense as naming Clint Eastwood to the Department of the Interior because he used to make Westerns.

The new President is a student of Abraham Lincoln and should well remember that Lincoln had to be smuggled into Washington because of the Constitutional crisis. Franklin Roosevelt had to deal with bank failures on his first day in office. Roosevelt understood that there was a crisis in confidence among the American people, a feeling that the government couldn't, or had no interest in, helping the man on the street. There'll be no honeymoon this time either; the times will not allow for it.

The American people today feel that their government has been bought and sold, that there is no help for them. It's all showmanship over salesmanship. We have a barn full of show horses and not a plow horse in the bunch. Gupta is a symbol of all that is corrupt and rotten, in both the media and in medicine, and to add him to the government mix threatens to undermine the credibility of the administration as a whole. Not only should Gupta be dropped, but whoever thought he was good choice should go as well.

My mother used to say, you only have one chance at a first impression, and Gupta gives the impression that the promised "change" is nothing more than a slogan. The impression is of a fraud, and maybe it's not supposed to be but it sure does smell like it. Added to the remarks made by House Democrats that the stimulus plan smacks of trickle down, and you've got a credibility problem, Mr. President.

For the last eight years the American people have been lied to, misused and abused, and now they are expecting better. Your credibility has been put at risk by your predecessor, and our patience is wearing thin. How do you expect us to take this administration seriously with such choices? We laughed at Sarah Palin, discussing her foreign policy credentials. How is this any worse? How about Pee-wee Herman to lead abstinence education programs? Or Dick Cheney to lead anger management classes?

Gupta wasn't even able to handle Michael Moore one-on-one, so how will he handle House and Senate Republicans? Moore throttled Gupta, CNN, and Wolf Blitzer, and CNN put Gupta's program on hiatus until the furor died down. This is your choice to lead health care reform? Seriously? This is your guy? The Clinton administration chose Hillary Clinton as their point person for health care reform. As a fighter I would consider her a heavyweight, while Gupta is at best a bantamweight, and they carried Hillary from the ring on a stretcher. Gupta, if (laughingly) approved, won't make one round.

The Republicans are probably laughing their butts off right now. Here they were afraid that Obama might spoil their health care gravy train, and Obama comes up with Gupta with cardboard sword and tinfoil shield in hand. The symbolism is clear; Obama's choices have all been moderates. Controversial only because they've never done anything, this is an administration full of sideways promotions and recycled ideas. This isn't change but small change, spare change, and change by neglect.

A fair assessment of our situation in America is that the good news is, there is no good news. And the bad news is..., too horrible to contemplate. A faltering national economy in a stumbling world economy and you picked Gupta? (See the good news)

We are, as a nation, perched upon a precipice; dark clouds hover over our nation's life. We need, we demand, strong action. People of courage and fortitude and of ideas, ideas of their own, new ideas to revive our nation. When Churchill assumed the office of Prime Minister in 1940 he said, "I was conscious of a profound sense of relief....I felt as if I were walking with destiny and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial." He felt the confidence to do whatever it took to succeed, and told the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

While we are offered nothing but Gupta!

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