Scientists on Presidential Choices

From Janet Raloff’s post at Science News, I learned a bit about the sixty one Nobel Laureates signing the open letter to everyone about Obama’s science policy. I quote (see her post for more):

Yesterday, Obama’s campaign released “an open letter to the American people” signed by 61 Nobel laureates. All received their award for achievements in physics (22), chemistry (14), or medicine (25).

In their letter, they argue that during the past eight years, “vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations.”

Commenting on Obama’s stump rhetoric, they point “in particular” to measures that the Illinois senator said that he plans to implement to meet national and global needs “through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research.”

For more information on what the campaigns have been promising on science, see my post on the responses of both candidates to the ScienceDebate2008 team‘s list of questions.

More to come on that front, I imagine. Can’t wait to see McCain’s science posse.

Of course, given what’s happening daily with the financial system, $700 billion rescue packages and so forth, I am not convinced that Obama, were he president, will have anything left to spend on science, or health care reform, or alternative energy research. Or anything else that he says good things about. This could end up being a stagnant presidency where all that can be done is weather the storm. And nobody ever thanks you for just steadily holding things together in that job. So I see the opportunity for a great presidency slipping away. My own Clinton-then-Obama strategy of last year (she, as president, fixes some of the last eight years’ mess and makes ready for the visionary move forward to be done by his presidency following) is looking attractive again. Oh well. All a fantasy now. Gotta work with what you’ve got.


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