Dubya Watch

Tuesday, September 17, 2002
He only wants science that agrees with what he and his allies believe. The Washington Post reports: "The Bush administration has begun a broad restructuring of the scientific advisory committees that guide federal policy in areas such as patients' rights and public health, eliminating some committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views and in other cases replacing members with handpicked choices." This is truly disgusting. We're not talking about political patronage here, we're talking about naming committees of foxes to establish hen-house guarding policies.
"It's always a matter of qualifications first and foremost," [HHS spokesman] Pierce said. "There's no quotas on any of this stuff. There's no litmus test of any kind."

At least one nationally renowned academic, who was recently called by an administration official to talk about serving on an HHS advisory committee, disagreed with that assessment. To the candidate's surprise, the official asked for the professor's views on embryo cell research, cloning and physician-assisted suicide. After that, the candidate said, the interviewer told the candidate that the position would have to go to someone else because the candidate's views did not match those of the administration.

Asked to reconcile that experience with his previous assurance, Pierce said of the interview questions: "Those are not litmus tests."