Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bushworld Redux: Where Ideology Trumps Science (and Even the Special Olympics)

In the political fantasyland known as Bushworld, wishing can make it so. If you just believe hard enough, you can make the facts fit your preconceived notions.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work that way.

Testifying this week in Washington, Dr. Richard Carmona, former Bush Administration surgeon general, made clear that his scientific judgment was expected to fit the administration's ideological positions.

To his credit, Dr. Carmona resisted this role, pointing out that the nation's top doctor is supposed to "release scientific documents that will help our public officials and the citizens understand the complex world we live in…."

Here is a part of Dr. Carmona's pointed critique of the Bush position, as quoted by the AP:

The reality is that the nation's doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas.

In perhaps the silliest aspect of this bonehead idea, Dr. Carmona was told at one point not to speak at a Special Olympics event because it would benefit a prominent political family of the other party— the Kennedy family.

Politicizing medical judgment is inexcusable. But politicizing the Special Olympics? That's really low.

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