Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Differences Between McCain and Obama

To reinforce what was mentioned earlier, this is another opinion piece that highlights the differences between John McCain and Barak Obama in terms of their decision-making process for science/technology policies.

Neither McCain nor Obama is trained as a scientist so each relies upon a cadre of advisers to shape policies. Whom they choose as advisers is an interesting glimpse into the priorities of the candidates.

McCain's science and technology advisers include past governmental officials such as James Woolsey, James Schlesinger and Robert McFarlane and former CEOs of companies such as Meg Whitman of eBay and Carly Fiorina from Hewlett-Packard. Obama's advisers include past Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, current professors from leading institutions (such as Sharon Long from Stanford, Don Lamb from Chicago) and Henry Kelley from the Federation of American Scientists.

The real difference in the people on these two lists is that McCain's group consists of people who have experience managing the people who make scientific discoveries while Obama's group includes those people who actually do the work, who are in the trenches pushing their fields forward. Do you want to get answers from the engineer or from his pointy-headed boss?

Again, my earlier emphasis on who is advising them on such thing becomes quite important and relevant. It isn't just who is advising them. It also reflects how important they put the issues of science and technology when they take office. The fact that McCain really does not have anyone who actually is a respected expert in the very field that he needs advice on should tell anyone how low of a priority he has on the importance of getting accurate advice. It's like he is sick, but instead of seeking a prognosis from his doctor who has all the pertinent information about his health, he's asking the hospital administrator who may not even be a medical doctor and without the detail information about this vital statistics.

You also have to wonder if he does this in other aspect as well, such as the military, the economy, etc. If he does, then it would be very scary. If he doesn't, then it shows the utter lack of respect for science, since he would seek experts in those other areas, but not in science.

I will not even go into the depressing scenario that Sarah Palin is more like George W. Bush than McCain. That's just way too much. And to think that Rudy Guilliani actually when on CNN and argued that Palin is an "expert in energy"?



Anonymous said...

Don Lamb is not exactly held in high regard by the majority of those who've worked with or for him. He's a pretty ineffective leader, much like Mr Obama.

Anonymous said...

For more on Obama's advisors and science platforms, check out Scientists and Engineers for America,