Now, God had been having a tough decade among Democrats anyway, consistently dropping in every election since 2000 to where he (or she, the Father Hen, Alpha and Omega, whatever the correct term) only got mentioned one time in 2008. Suddenly in 2012 he was wiped out, along with Jerusalem. Hilarity ensued, controversy erupted because Democrats discovered their party is not made up entirely of Sandra Fluke clones; there are actual black people in the Democratic Party, and they are religious, and Hispanics too.
After floating that trial balloon, a new vote was taken and, despite recordings showing tepid support for reinserting the terms, in true Politbuto style it was declared they had a 2/3rds oral vote after all and so the terms were back in. CNN Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz denied there was any discord despite the boos everyone in America but her heard and we were later told President Obama did not believe his own platform, just like Romney, except he was more awesome because he personally intervened to get it changed. We were told.
So they are not really buying that God or Jerusalem matter, it is just political expedience to include them; apparently just like including climate change.
The overwhelming majority of Democrats believe in climate change, but perhaps the elites among Democrats do not. The 2012 Democratic Party platform reads the “national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe” but The Daily Caller reviewed the speech transcripts of the over 80 speakers who took the stage in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday and only one mentioned climate change — and only in passing.
Compare that to the 5 people still left in the American middle class; they got mentioned too many times to count. Unions also got mentioned hundreds of times. Bill Clinton at least mentioned greenhouse gases, a topic he avoided during his presidency (and rightly so, he now gets to take credit for budget surpluses because he refused to send Kyoto to the Senate for ratification) but for modern Democrats it's less popular.
Or maybe not necessary. Despite obstacles in the Obama administration, the energy sector is dramatically reducing CO2 emissions. The energy sector is back at 1992 levels of emissions (the target for the original Kyoto agreement was 1990) and coal is down to early 1980s levels of usage. Politicians want to get elected and climate change may be even more controversial than God; a Democratic candidate ran a popular campaign ad shooting the Cap and Trade bill with a rifle, I have never seen a candidate shoot a bullet hole in a Bible.
Will President Obama personally intervene to resurrect climate change the way he did God? He wrote a response to ScienceDebate.org that “Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation” so it seems strange no one in the party mentions it. On Thursday he went out of his way to rectify all of those. Both he and Vice President Joe Biden mentioned God, Jerusalem and climate change specifically.
The personal beliefs of Democratic elites regarding Israel and religion are irrelevant to a Science 2.0 audience but their beliefs on science are relevant. Since they suddenly remembered climate change is in their platform, do they mean it?
In Science Left Behind, Dr. Alex Berezow and I deconstruct the myth that the left is more pro-science than the right. We don't go after liberals, obviously, much less Democrats, we go after kooky anti-science progressives because they are a real danger to the science discourse. They also don't care about science if it interferes with their world view.
Yet judging by the Obama responses to the Science Debate questions I mention above, he really does not care. I have made the case that, despite being a $140 billion constituency, politicians don't need to care about scientists because, unlike every other constituency, scientists do not swing their votes on core issues, like science, and instead adopt the values of Democrats. Education unions, as I noted, do not vote Democrat because of late-term abortion or because women in environmentalism are paid far less than women in engineering and they want that fixed, they vote Democrat because they can force Democrats to pass pro-union laws. Scientists are different, they do not care who is funding science the most - that would be Republicans - nor do they care who subverts science the most - the left - they only care whose name has the D after it. And that is bad for scientists when it comes to political capital.
As Laura Helmuth at Slate noted, Obama's responses to the Science Debate questions shows he has some casual disregard for science and scientists. He knows academia is in the bag for him, he doesn't need to spend any time appealing to academic scientists, any more than he has to spend time appealing to Californians. Fundraising and get-out-the-vote is all it will take.
Yet Helmuth gets some basic things wrong and that makes his Fall From Grace look worse. Writing "President Obama has assembled the most scientifically accomplished administration since the time of the founding fathers. His head science adviser, John Holdren, is a physicist, a MacArthur genius, and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science" is a bit of a head-spinner.
Holdren is the same guy who wrote about the upcoming Ice Age before he wrote about global warming, and he advocated forced sterilization and abortions in his book with Paul Ehrlich, he is a full-on nut job, not a legend in science. The fact that he has received any honors shows how alarmingly political mainstream academic science is. Obama also hired Larry Summers for his transition team, so unless Helmuth thinks girls genetically can't do math she might question that, and he added a whole pack of Democratic UFO-believers. Obama's team is not the smartest in 236 years, she just read that in science media because, basically, Obama could do no wrong in 2008-2009. Only one person in science media (me) criticized Obama for hiring a guy who got run out of Harvard because of his weird beliefs on women and math. Everyone else claimed it was all peachy. I mean, UFOs? Sheesh.
No, people who were not hypnotized never thought he was creating a 'scientifically accomplished administration' so his failures to have one are not even a surprise, much less a disappointment.
Republicans are wrong on some science issues, just like Democrats are - the difference is mainstream science media keeps drafts of 'Republicans are anti-science' articles handy for slow news days but they don't do any journalism and investigate the weirdness of the left. Just as in 2008, Obama won't give a clear answer on vaccines in 2012 but, as we note in the book, his anti-vaccination stance did a lot of harm the last time we had a flu scare. And his base is a lot more anti-vaccine than the right wing is.
To Helmuth's credit it's comforting that someone - anyone - else has noticed that it's not all balloons and ponies when it comes to the state of science on the left. It's actually quite a horrible culture but we have to take baby steps to bring them back to the reality-based community; science journalism is only now climbing out of the progressive primordial ooze and evolving to be trusted guides for the public on complex issues. Not being a PAC for Democrats is a good start, and that requires just a few science journalists to break free from the herd.
- Left, Right? Science Shouldn't Be Worried Either Way
- The Call To Make Science Less Partisan Gets New Members
- Has Science Been Restored To Its Rightful Place?
- In Hindsight, "Superstorm" Sandy Didn't Help Obama Much In The 2012 Presidential Race
- Scientization Of Politics: Why Political Scientists Suddenly Love Biology