With Advisors Like These, Who Needs Policy?

A few years ago, the after-dinner speaker at the DAMOP conference banquet was Presidential Science Advisor John Marburger. As I wrote at the time, I think it’s safe to say that he didn’t make a positive impression on the audience. It also sparked a rather lively discussion afterwards, that some people speculated was the reason for the veiled threats we got the next year.

The Corporate Masters have just published an exclusive post-election interview with Marburger. I read it with some interest, mostly to see if it would change my impression of him.

I have to say, it didn’t. Not only does he spout the usual hack-tastic disingenuous line about the funding of stem cell research and other projects, there’s this wonderful exchange:

Seed: Did you see President Bush ever change his mind based on the scientific evidence that you presented him?

JM: As far as I can tell, the president, as a matter of principle, doesn’t think it’s wise to defy nature. By the time I’ve arranged a presentation about something for the president, all science questions have been resolved. And he expects it. He would probably fire me if I permitted a science question to leak into his briefings. I’m there to make sure that his advisors and his agencies have consulted with the science community, and that all the science issues have been taken care of before anything gets to him.

That’s spectacular. It really lifts my spirits to know that we’ve been led for the last eight years by a man who would fire his science advisor if he were to be forced to confront a science question. And the idea that that advisor would happily go along with that… Just… wow.

Words cannot express how happy I will be a week from now, when we put actual adults back in charge of the government.