Howard should be in now that Sanjay is out

Sanjay Gupta has announced that he will no longer be a candidate for Surgeon General.  President Obama now has the chance to appoint Howard Dean.

The New York Times has posted this on their politcal blog The Caucus.

The Obama Administration just got a lot less sexy.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent and a practicing neurosurgeon who was one of People magazine’s “sexiest men alive” in 2003, has announced that he has withdrawn from being considered as surgeon general, CNN reported.

In one of the comments, Stephen Fox of the New Mexico Sun News has posted  a call for people to email the White House asking them to appoint Howard Dean Surgeon General. 

This should most certainly and most deservedly open the door for Dr. Howard Dean, whom I always felt would be the best possible choice for HHS, and even FDA would be a large enough and challenging enough job for this great American.

So if you agree with Mr. Fox and me, please do email the White House.  Howard Dean deserves a position in the Obama Administration and Surgeon General would be perfect for him.  Dr. Dean as the next Dr. Koop – only sexier.

So Where is Howard?

Howard Dean, former head of the Democratic National Committee and inventor of the 50-states strategy, still does not have a job in the Obama administration.  I’m not the only one asking what’s going on.

Alexander Zaitchik has a post on Alter-net headlined “Is Howard Dean Getting Screwed and Why?” 

Given the debt Obama clearly owes to Dean — as well as the personal respect the president is known to hold for him — many Dean netroots loyalists are confused as to why their man was not chosen to head the Health and Human Services Department, given his experience and interest in health care reform (Dean was a doctor before entering politics, and enacted major health care reforms as governor of Vermont).

OK.  Howard may not have the best relationship with some members of Congress (heard or read somewhere that Rahm Emmanuel didn’t like him) and maybe he wouldn’t be the right person to move health care reform, but how about making him Surgeon General? 

We haven’t heard about Dr. Gupta for a while now.  (And I say, thank godness.)  Howard Dean may not be a doctor on TV, but it seems to me that his personality is well suited to the chief doctor role.  I like the idea of Howard in the C. Everett Koop role. 

Can we start a campaign for Howard Dean as Surgeon General?

Becoming President

President Elect Barack Obama’s transition to becoming President is really in full gear now. Yes, I know he had named his entire Cabinet already, but the real sign of power had to do with travel:  His flight from Chicago to D.C. was on an official Presidential plane.  The New York Times had an interesting piece about the flight.

Aides who boarded the plane in Chicago before Mr. Obama’s motorcade arrived, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser, and Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, were plainly excited at being aboard one of the presidential planes for the first time. Several said the experience drove home the realization that Mr. Obama had won the presidency.

“It’s a little clearer now,” Mr. Gibbs said. “Nice digs.”

The Boeing 757-200, part of the Air Force’s Special Air Mission fleet, bore the distinctive blue and white colors and the words United States of America. But only a plane ferrying the president is designated Air Force One, and, as Mr. Obama and his team repeatedly note, George W. Bush is still the president.

Jackie Calmes went on to describe Obama’s introduction to the crew

On board he met Col. Scott Turner, who will pilot Air Force One when Mr. Obama becomes president, and Reggie Dickson, who will be his chief flight attendant. From Mr. Dickson, he ordered a cheeseburger, fries and water.

And then there are the serious matters like meeting with Pelosi and Reid about the economic recovery plan, finding a new Secretary of Commerce, and naming a new DNC head.

I was not happy to hear that Bill Richardson was being investigated for possible contract irregularities.  I’ve always liked Richardson – I voted for him during the primary.  I have to believe that everything is on the up and up.  But I was happy to hear about my friend, Tim Kaine.  I think Tim will be the right person to take over what Howard Dean started and get to the next stage.  He is no less forceful, but less abrasive.  Now if only Howard can find a new job.  Surgeon General?

Doctor Dean

I was a Dean supporter during the 2004 primaries.  I even went to hear him speak when he had a rally in Copley Square – Kerry territory.  I blogged on his site.  Worked on organizing the Asian American community in Boston on his behalf.  After he dropped out and announced his run for DNC Chair, I cheered his 50 State strategy as did most of the state chairs and committee people from states that the Democratic Party had neglected. 

Now as John Nichols writes in the The Nation today:

When the DNC chair said, “I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country, I really do,” everyone knew he meant it. And, as it turned out, Americans were coming around to the same conclusion.


The fact is that Dean’s work is done. He was an essential player in the transformation of the Democratic Party from what former Labor Secretary Robert Reich described back in 2005 — “essentially a glorified fund-raising mechanism” — into the clearly-defined “movement” party that Barack Obama would lead in 2008.

With that 50-state strategy, his full embrace of netroots activism and, above all, his refusal to pull punches, Dean made being a Democrat mean something. That turned out to be the cure for what ailed a party that has benefited immeasurably from the doctor’s able treatment of its condition.

Howard Dean saved the Democratic Party by creating the base that lead to victories in 2006 and 2008.  Will he return to being a doctor in Vermont or will he be Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration?