Friday, September 26, 2008
The men and women behind the curtain
It takes a village to raise a candidate. Between the two of us, blogfish and I probably know most of the folks working behind the scenes to keep Senators Obama and McCain informed on ocean issues. You, however, may not. So you may want to visit ScienceDebate and Nature to see the campaigns' responses to a series of science questions. Because these paragraphs are your introduction not just to the positions of each campaign, but to the staffers who will be running the National Science Foundation, NOAA, and placed in key science and environmental in the next administration.
Now, you may be shocked (shocked!) by the idea that your favorite presidential hopeful does not know the ins and outs of the Coastal Zone Management Act or the NASA Constellation program. And far be it for me to say that either McCain or Obama is not secretly sweating out regulatory language for the west coast fisheries observer program right now. Could be a pet project; everybody has them. But realistically, these issues get delegated.
Reading these replies is a way to glimpse who those delegates will be, and which issues get more or less importance. At ScienceDebate, the replies vary enough in tone and phrasing that you can detect different writers. Just going by word count (i.e. how much certain staffers were allowed to write and how jazzed up they got) Obama's hot on stem cell research and health, while McCain has a fully staffed space program ready to go. The Wordle of both candidates shows that everybody loves research. How more research fits into a budget with a trillion-dollar financial bailout plan is another question indeed. Tweet