I have mixed feelings, and apparently I'm not alone. Lots of chatter over on the science and medical blogs about it. Orac had a long piece at Respectful Insolence in which he expressed doubts about Gupta based in part on Gupta being a little too credulous about "alternative medicine," Physioprof did his usual WTF, PZ Myers isn't thrilled (but then he rarely is), the list is long one -- and the Pump Handle was nice enough to do a round-up with links to some of the more articulate reactions.
In an odd way it looks like many of the things that make Sanjay Gupta a good choice -- his likeablility, the fact he looks good in front of a camera and knows how to communicate complex scientific and medical information in a way the general public can understand -- are the same things that are being used as reasons he'd be a poor choice. There's a sense he lacks gravitas. He's not sufficiently . . . what? Dour? Old? Fatherly? Too much Dr. McDreamy and not enough Bob Kelso?
My own feeling is that from a political perspective Gupta's an ideal choice. He's not an ideologue, the public trusts him, and he'll make a great salesman for whatever healthcare plan the Obama administration proposes. He practices at Grady Hospital, Fulton County's public hospital that's had budgetary woes for years due to its high charity caseload, so he's had an upclose look at everything that's wrong with the current U.S. healthcare system. At the same time, the qualms I have are similar to Orac's: would Gupta buy into New Age woo a little too easily, for example, and give the anti-vaccine crowd and others more of a hearing than they deserve?