I have a new piece on Slate exploring precisely this question. Here’s the core of it:
If the war on science is over, we’re now entering the postwar phase of reconstruction–the scientific equivalent of nation-building. The Bush science controversies were just one manifestation of a deeper and long-standing gulf between the science community and the broader American public, one with roots stretching back to our indigenous tradition of anti-intellectualism (as so famously described by historian Richard Hofstadter in his classic work from 1963) and Yankee distrust of expertise and authority. So this is certainly no time for complacency. Scientists, with the support of the administration, should now be setting out to win over the hearts and minds of the American public, creating a stronger edifice of trust and understanding to help ensure that conflict doesn’t come raging back again.
You can read the full piece here. Very interested in reactions….