Goodbye, Dr. Gupta

A nation mourns: TV doc won't be our Surgeon General after all

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Now we'll have to settle for just another doctor -- probably one who's not even moderately famous.

    So sad: just a few short months ago, America was swooning at the thought of a sexy Surgeon General who had his own teevee show and was not a lecturey old coot or a weird masturbation enthusiast. But now our collective dreams are dashed, because Sanjay Gupta has taken his name out of consideration for America's top doctor job.

    Who knows why he turned it down? Oh sure, he says he needs to spend more time with his family because he and his wife are expecting their third daughter "at any time." Did this baby just magically gestate over the past two months? Because if not, it's unclear why this issue didn't come up when the news broke about his Surgeon General candidacy in January.

    NBC's own Chuck Todd suggests that it's about the dough: "Gupta had been offered the job but was weighing the financial considerations (i.e. pay cut) that it would entail."

    And to be sure, to step down from a job as associate chief of neurosurgery at an Atlanta hospital -- as well as whatever he makes reporting for CNN, which can't be chicken scratch -- and to settle into a normal government job that pays in the very low six figures would put a serious cramp in your budget. And with a third child on the way, well, those diapers don't pay for themselves.

    It would actually be sort of nice if an Obama nominee withdrew from consideration because the pay wasn't good enough. It's at least a refreshing break from the old, "I owe a small fortune in back taxes and I'm under investigation by a grand jury" excuse that we've heard a million times already.

    So it's too bad that we will not have a handsome TV doctor telling America to eat less and exercise more. Whoever's nominated for Surgeon General next will have some very attractive shoes to fill. Perhaps this is just the break that Dr. Howard Dean, spurned suitor for Health and Human Services, has been looking for.

    Neurosurgeon and daytime news programming expert Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.