Say what you want about former President George W. Bush, he was good for science.   Sure, he had a moral position against human embryonic stem cell research, but President Obama has only been different, and no better.   Where they stand apart is funding research.

Supporting science is more than flowery prose.   "Is it what anyone says or is it where money gets spent?" asked astrophysicist and Science 2.0 fave Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's funding, plain and simple and in funding, Republicans are more pro-science than Democrats.

The 'Republicans will Always Suck' contingent in science will insist that Republican funding just goes for weapons, obvious denial of the many societal benefits of military research (more than NASA and the NIH combined) but funding is funding, and it's going down again.

In reality, the role of the military in research for combat is rather slight, $6 billion Navy destroyers aside; a great deal of effort goes into humanitarian relief and infrastructure for small nations.

The Department of Defense R&D budget has been falling for the last few years, down 5.8% since 2008 but money is not the biggest challenge, smart allocation is:  67 research sites and 60,000 employees without including defense contractors, small businesses, universities, and others competing for R&D resources. 

As I discussed in Why Candidates Ignore Science: The Disconnect Between Research And Benefit, despite $140 billion in taxpayer money as a constituency, neither presidential candidate has to give more than lip service for (or against) any aspect of science; the mechanisms are so antiquated and bizarre and crippled by reliance on government that they can't have an opinion.

Read Rethinking Defense Science By Andrea Widener, Chemical&Engineering News


(1) Tyson is always a voice of sanity because he doesn't care about Republicans or Democrats, they both get praised or criticized based on actions and not a political litmus test.  Here is the video where he discusses why, contrary to science blogging that makes endorsing Democrats the goal, when it comes to money, Republicans win: