The Intersection

A Democratic War on Science?

After so, so many emails about a possible Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., appointment to head EPA, we had to blog about it over at Talking Science. The gist?

Such an appointment would be problematic and controversial for all the reasons that folks like Orac have cited. However, it hasn’t happened yet…and until it does, it’s just rumor, right? Not a Democratic War on Science.

You can read the full post here.


  1. #1 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2008

    That should be “Democratic” because that is the name of the party!!!!! “Democrat” is how the Republicans say it! (Or should I say, the ‘Republics’)…

  2. #2 Scott Belyea
    November 10, 2008

    until it does, it’s just rumor, right? Not a Democrat War on Science.

    Having complained for a couple of years about a Republican War on Science, if one appointment now leads you to declare a Democratic (not Democrat) War on Science, I suggest that you stand to lose a good deal of support from exasperated science-supportive laypeople.

    Speaking as one such person, I’m really tired of the war metaphor – war on drugs, war on terror, war on science. Overused, tired, almost always inaccurate, and by now leached of just about all meaning.

  3. #3 Chris C. Mooney
    November 10, 2008

    I think you guys are right on the grammar…good point. Changing.

  4. #4 george.wiman
    November 10, 2008

    Must agree that one bad appointment does not a war make. RFKjr is not at all opposed to environmental concerns, he’s just not sufficiently reflective on some of them. Very different from the various foxes that the R’s have let into the henhouse over the years.

  5. #5 Ian
    November 10, 2008

    You’d have to wonder, then, why the party web site is and not

    Did they get it wrong, too?!

  6. #6 Chris C. Mooney
    November 10, 2008

    Obviously I wouldn’t call one appointment a war either. And I didn’t, did I? The rhetoric, however, is out there, already trying to turn the RWOS argument on its head based upon one appointment that hasn’t even happened yet: See here.

  7. #7 SLC
    November 10, 2008

    Let’s raise the question as the attitude of Mr. Mooney and Dr. Kirschenbaum are unclear. Would they oppose this nomination if made? If so, as I commented on the linked site, the time to stop it is to raise holy hell starting immediately, if not sooner, before it is made as it will be much more difficult to stop it after.

  8. #8 MRW
    November 10, 2008

    You’d have to wonder, then, why the party web site is and not

    Did they get it wrong, too?!


    “Democrat” is a noun. “Democratic” is an adjective.

  9. #9 Jon Winsor
    November 10, 2008

    Maybe you want a more science-friendly EPA head, but RFK Jr. as a “wingnut” (as Orac put it) is a bit of a stretch. Is he going to appoint a left wing version of George Deutsch, forcing Jim Hansen to make more alarmist statements? Not too likely.

  10. #10 Joseph O'Sullivan
    November 10, 2008

    I think the RFK Jr rumors are much ado about nothing. He has way too much baggage to be confirmed even in a Democrat controlled Senate.

    First of all, there is the felony heroin conviction at the age of 30 which can’t be written off as some youthful indiscretion. Second, he needed treatment for a full-blown heroin addiction and there is an understandable stigma associated with that. Lastly, he was arrested, convicted and did time for trespassing and protesting the US Navy in 2001. In the post-9/11 world and in wartime hostile protests of the military are not acceptable to many people.

    When these things are considered I don’t know how anyone could seriously think that the Senate would confirm him.

  11. #11 Bert Chadick
    November 10, 2008

    The name of the political party is “The Democratic Party” As far as I know there is no such organization as the “Democrat Party.” Its members are Democrats (collective). A single member of the Democratic Party is a Democrat.

    Any more of this Democrat Party crap, and it will be the Rethuglican party from now on. Hey! If you can re-name my party, I have every right to rename yours.

  12. #12 Philip H.
    November 12, 2008

    While I am glad to see actual interest in the political appointment process, may I interject from the Federal side of the fence? I know that most people, thinking about an agency with Environmental in the name, would expect an environmentalist or scientists to be appointed as head, and I can understand the disappointment. But these days, the EPA is lawyer heavy, in part because they are an enforcement agency, and in part because they rarely do anything unless sued first. In fact, few of the EPA staff I know personally are scientists – most have at least a JD, and some also have an environmental degree.

    And, given that context, what’s wrong with having the chief prosecutor for the Hudson Riverkeeper as the new EPA chief? A lawyer running a shop of lawyers – such a shocker. At least it’s better then a western governor.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.