Field of Science

Can I live with Obama

Congratulations to Senator Obama and his "principle of the thing" victory in Iowa. I have to admit I have been in Kucinich's camp to date and by in I mean peripherally thought he was most inline with what I think. By far my biggest concern is how these candidates view science and the role science plays in society. Thus I am automatically discounting the entire Republican slate as they all cowtow to the religious right (who have defined themselves as anti-science at least until they need some medical help or TiVo). So of the Democrats who's my top pick?

Using the following "quiz" which ranks on a variety of issues and the importance of those issues (and gives you 20-odd options to get a bazillion spam emails afterwards) Barak Obama is my winner. Kucinich was close so that's reassuring, but I was surprised to see how far back Clinton is on my list (Iraq is a bitch).

2008 President Selector Rankings:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100 %)
2. Barack Obama (82 %)
3. Christopher Dodd (withdrawn) (80 %)
4. Dennis Kucinich (79 %)
5. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (75 %)
6. Joseph Biden (withdrawn) (71 %)
7. Hillary Clinton (71 %)
8. Wesley Clark (not running, endorsed Clinton) (71 %)
9. Al Gore (not announced) (70 %)
10. John Edwards (69 %)
11. Mike Gravel (withdrawn) (67 %)
12. Michael Bloomberg (says he will not run) (60 %)
13. Bill Richardson (59 %)
14. Ron Paul (54 %)
15. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (52 %)
16. Rudolph Giuliani (34 %)
17. Elaine Brown (34 %)
18. Alan Keyes (32 %)
19. John McCain (31 %)
20. Mitt Romney (28 %)
21. Tommy Thompson (withdrawn, endorsed Giuliani) (27 %)
22. Newt Gingrich (says he will not run) (24 %)
23. Chuck Hagel (not running) (24 %)
24. Mike Huckabee (24 %)
25. Tom Tancredo (withdrawn, endorsed Romney) (24 %)
26. Fred Thompson (22 %)
27. Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) (19 %)
28. Sam Brownback (withdrawn, endorsed McCain) (18 %)
29. Duncan Hunter (18 %)
30. Stephen Colbert (campaign halted) (8 %) did you need more evidence to demonstrate Colbert is satire? I mean he out right-winged Tancredo, Romney and Huckabee!

One thing is that quiz did not deeply deal with many science issues (or any other issue for that matter). So how do the top dem's fair in science? Well it just so happens that this week's Science has the following News Focus "SCIENCE POLICY: Science and the Next U.S. President" by Jeffrey Mervis. You should go read it and the subsequent responses from the candidates. Some highlights:

Clinton: "promised an executive order that would 'ban political appointees from altering or removing scientific conclusions in government publications without any legitimate basis … and prohibit unwarranted suppression of public statements by government scientists.'" and a "doubling of the $30-billion-a-year National Institutes of Health budget during the next decade."

Obama: states that "his policies would be based on 'evidence and facts.'" and that "He'd like to double federal spending on basic research." again with the doubling

Edwards: "would 'eliminate political litmus tests for government scientists' and forbid political appointees 'from overriding agencies' scientific findings unless the chief White House science adviser concludes they are erroneous." nice that one advisor can override an entire agency Further, he "supports budget increases 'substantially better than the pace of inflation' for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation." I like this better than another doubling and the problems that arise when the doubling ends

There's a lot more for each of these candidates as well as the other candidates including the republicans. From this information I find no reason to disapprove of Obama, so I'll wait this thing out longer before making a stronger decision.

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