It's been almost 36 hours since the networks called the election for Obama. That's enough of a honeymoon. There's work to be done.
There are widespread reports that President-elect Obama is seriously considering appointing Robert Kennedy Jr. as head of the EPA. The appointment does seem to have some benefits - including, as Politico points out, some political ones for Obama - but Orac is right. It's a bad idea.
Kennedy's active participation in the anti-vaccination movement is a threat to public health. It also demonstrates, quite clearly, that he is willing to actively promote positions in the face of clear and convincing scientific evidence that those positions are wrong. I think most of us can agree that those are not traits that we'd like to see in the person responsible for running a US Government scientific agency.
The politicization of science is bad no matter who does it. It wasn't just bad when the Republicans were involved. It will be just as bad if it's a Democrat doing it.
I suspect that we'll see other articles on other blogs discussing this appointment, particularly if an announcement is made in the next week or two. But if there's one thing we really should have learned from this election, it's this: words alone don't get the job done.
They're certainly not going to get the job done if we just talk among ourselves. If we want to effectively oppose this nomination, we need to bring in the entire scientific community. And we need to do it now. If the appointment is announced, it's a done deal. There aren't a lot of Democrats out there who are going to want to hand Obama an embarrassing public defeat on a high profile nomination right out the bat, and that number takes a dramatic drop when doing so would also involve simultaneously pissing off the Kennedys and Clintons.
So if you want to work to try and head off this potential problem, I'd suggest starting soon. One thing that might help is if you bring the issue to the attention of three or four people you know who would be interested in this, but who don't read blogs. Have them bring in more of their friends.
Try to get them to get in touch with anyone they know who is involved in one of the major scientific organizations, or who is an editor for a major publication, or has political contacts. Let's try to get those folks to put out the word that a Kennedy appointment to the EPA will cause problems down the road.