For several years now, it's become abundantly clear that the Republican Party is being, shall we say, puppeteered by the National Rifle Association. The heat of a thousand suns has been hurled at the GOP's relationship to the Koch Brothers, but the NRA seems to wield greater influence over the party, managing to convince Republican leadership to not only vote its way on everything, regardless of whether the issue relates to guns, but to also vote against the will of Republican voters, not to mention actual NRA members.
Case in point: several months after Sandy Hook, there was 91 percent support for a congressional amendment that would've expanded background checks for gun purchases, yet the Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment in spite of nearly universal support. Worse, expanded background checks enjoyed 74 percent support from NRA members, with 87 percent support from gun owners in general. Filibustered anyway.
How else do we explain that? The NRA and its bottomless tanker-truck of unregulated cash has the GOP by the balls, and Wayne LaPierre's crone-like talons appear to be digging deeper by the hour.
Unless you live in a hole, you've probably noticed how the Republicans have been leaning on the jolly, candy-like panic button, irresponsibly inciting fear and paranoia over the Ebola virus, even though The Daily Banter's Chez Pazienza has been married to more people than who've died from Ebola inside the United States. The Republicans have gone so far as to totally contradict their anti-czar red-baiting from 2009 -- demanding that President Obama appoint an Ebola Czar. This is how freaked out they are over the Ebola threat: Did we really say czars were bad? J/K!
But here we are, with half the nation wetting itself over the nonexistent odds of contracting the Ebola virus, a fear attributed in part to the GOP's panic-mongering, and yet the Republican Party continues to crow over its blocking of Obama's nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, earlier this year. Why? Because the NRA doesn't care for Dr. Murthy's support for an assault weapons ban.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) appeared on CNN with Candy Crowley on Sunday and was perfectly clear about why his buddy from Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), blocked Dr. Murthy.
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.
He's not a what? This is how badly corrupted the GOP has become. Murthy graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude with a degree in Biochemical Sciences. He earned his MD from Yale, and served his residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. In addition to running a cloud-based clinical trial program, he's also an attending physician at Harvard Medical School. But because he tweeted, "Guns are a health care issue," back in 2012 -- just a couple of months before Adam Lanza used an AR15 to mow down 25 kindergarteners and teachers at Sandy Hook -- he was disqualified from becoming surgeon general.
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are relatively new to politics, so perhaps they don't realize that the surgeon general can't pass legislation, and therefore is incapable of implementing an assault weapons ban. It's unclear how, specifically, Cruz and Paul believe the surgeon general might implement an assault weapons ban, but I'd certainly like to know, especially given how the GOP controls the House and how, irrespective of the outcome in November, they'll continue to block everything on the president's agenda -- which, by the way, doesn't include an assault weapons ban.
Hell, based on this narrow litmus test, the NRA and the GOP would reject the late Ronald Reagan from holding public office. Those of us who embrace reality remember that Reagan supported the original assault weapons ban, in addition to the Brady Bill which enacted a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases. Reagan wasn't always a gun control supporter, but his final position on two landmark pieces of legislation in the early 1990s are his legacy on this issue.
Just 20 years later, the GOP would excoriate Reagan for his gun control position, forsaking their appointed savior while continuing to genuflect before their one true god: Wayne LaPierre.