A panicked plea from surgeon blogger “Respectful Insolence” over rumors that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might be picked by President-elect Obama to run the Environmental Protection Agency:
he’s a booster of pseudoscience, a hothead prone to comparing political enemies to Hitler and Mussolini, and a lawyer whose science background appears to be primarily torturing science to fit his agenda more than anything else. I started to rest easy for a while, convinced that the report was nothing more than idle speculation or a trial balloon. I really hoped that Obama would not jeopardize his promise to take science seriously and depoliticize it by appointing someone who would trample on science just as much as the worst ideologues in the Bush Administration, the only difference being that he’d stomp on it with his left foot instead of his right foot, if you know what I mean.
Now I’m not resting so easy anymore. There are now several reports that RFK, Jr is being considered for an even worse position, a position where he could do incalculable mischief and at the same time provide credible ammunition to Republicans that the complaints of Democratics that science was politicized under the Bush Administration were hypocritical, given that Kennedy has been politicizing science with gusto and pushing pseudoscience ever since I can remember. I’m talking about numerous reports that RFK, Jr. is being considered to be tapped to as the run the Environmental Protection Agency. He has even been quoted on that repository of all things antivaccine, The Huffington Post, as saying “if asked, I will serve.” Meanwhile, antivaccinationists like Generation Rescue founder J. B. Handley are salivating at the prospect, and, betraying liberal claims to be part of the “reality-based” community, the denizens of Democratic Underground are (mostly) orgasmic at the prospect of an RFK, Jr.-led EPA.
Say it ain’t so, Barack! Please don’t do it. It would be a huge mistake so early in your administration. By appointing such a strident and die-hard advocate of pseudoscience, in one fell swoop, you would seriously damage your credibility as a pro-science President and leave yourself open to charges that you’re just as willing to politicize science as the Bush Administration was.