Holsinger’s Nomination Hearing: More Opposition Than Before

Jim Burroway

July 13th, 2007

I was just sitting down to write this observation about yesterday’s Senate committee hearing on Dr. James Holsinger’s nomination for Surgeon General when I saw that Frank Lockwood’s observations run very similar to mine.

Frank, at Bible Belt Blogger, compares Holsinger’s nomination to that of Harriet Myers’s failed nomination to the Supreme Court. Her nomination was immediately opposed by the political Left, and the more the Right learned about her, the less enthusiastic their support for her became. It looks like Dr. Holsinger’s nomination may be following a similar trajectory.

Dr. Holsinger had already raised flags with the Family Research Council over his previous support for stem cell research. And so during the nomination hearing he backed away from that stance and implied that his position is now more in line with the Bush administration’s.

But he also backed away from his 1991 paper, “Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality”, saying, “That paper doesn’t represent where I am today, who I am today. It is not a published paper. It was not meant to be a scientific paper, not meant to be published.”

Frank noticed that this did little to endear Holsinger to the Christian Right. Concerned Woman Matt Barber responded, “We’re left not knowing whether Dr. Holsinger will put scientific substance over political correctness in dealing with the issue of homosexual behavior.” And the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins complained that Holsinger is “changing his tune”:

Dr. Holsinger’s confirmation should not fail because of his views, but because of his seeming lack of conviction on any of them.

But Peter LaBarbera’s not giving up on Holsinger yet. While he’s disappointed that Holsinger gave what he called “artful non-answers” when asked about his 1991 paper, he chalked that up to Holsinger’s political handlers in the White House. He and Matt Barber also smell a media conspiracy:

Enter the Mainstream Media. They are widely reporting that Holsinger has “disavowed” his belief that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “unhealthy.” They’ve apparently made that extrapolation based upon Holsinger’s above referenced quote (quite a stretch I think). Brit Hume, reporting on the Fox News Channel, said, “Holsinger also told senators in a confirmation hearing that he no longer holds the views about homosexuality that he expressed in a controversial paper in 1991, in which he called it unnatural and unhealthy.” Unless I totally missed something, he never even came close to saying that. [Emphasis in the original]

At any rate, it looks like Holsinger emerged from the confirmation hearing with less support than when he went in.

Update: Peter LaBarbera joined the rest and threw in the towel.

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