Later this week, the Senate will begin what was expected to be very divisive confirmation hearings on Dr. James Holsinger, the Bush Administration's nominee for Surgeon General. Holsinger's appointment has been bitterly opposed by gay rights groups who are concerned over his previous controversial positions on homosexuality, biology and religion.
The hearings should be much more contentious than expected: The right wing is opposed to his record on stem cell research. Bible Belt Blogger brings our attention to The Washington Times:
Tom McCluskey, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, said that Dr. Holsinger spoke to a Kentucky state legislature committee in 2002 and "testified in support of loosening regulations around cloning and embryonic-stem-cell research."
"We're not supportive of his nomination right now," Mr. McCluskey said, adding that "we've been told he's come around on the issue, but the surgeon general is such a strong bully pulpit position that we want to be sure."
Apparently, the social conservatives have telegraphed their talking points to the Republican members of the Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee. The newspaper contacted every member of the panel and found, as reported previously, found no Democratic support. However, "the five Republicans who did respond to requests for comment—including ranking member Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming—were noncommittal and gave no indications of support for Dr. Holsinger."
Holsinger's curriculum vitae includes homophobic and scientifically inaccurate statements, opposing gay and lesbian clergy in the United Methodist Church and founding an ex-gay ministry. Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Chris Dodd (D-CT)—both presidential candidates—have said they will oppose Dr. James Holsinger's confirmation.
Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Some Background ...
Confirmation Hearings Set [R20]
Lift Gag Rule from Surgeon Genl Nominee [R20]
Joycelyn Elders on Surgeon General Nominee [R20]
Senate GOP Leader Supports Nominee [R20]
Surgeon General Warning [R20]
Clinton, Edwards Oppose Surgeon Genl Nominee [R20]