Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Last week, we learned that the Administration’s incessant pandering to the fringes of the Republican Party served to silence our nation’s top public health official to the detriment of both our country and the Republican Party. Catering to extremist elements to mold objective science to fit an out-of-touch social and religious agenda is unacceptable and un-American. Republican Presidential candidates must reject such pandering by our government and return to the core principles of the Party if they hope to not only gain the Presidential nomination but also restore trust in the moderate majority of the GOP.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s testimony in front of Congress last week was deeply disturbing, and revealed the extent to which extreme ideology pervades public policy reasoning in this current political climate. Objective science has often been replaced with theological interpretation, and playing politics is now trumping public health. Here are a few of Dr. Carmona’s more disturbing allegations:
Dr. Carmona was ordered not to discuss or issue reports about embryonic stem cells, emergency contraception (Plan B), sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues.
On the issue of embryonic stem cell research, Dr. Carmona stated that he was “told to stand down and not speak about it.” He further explained that, “Much of the discussion was being driven by theology, ideology, [and] preconceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect.”
While Dr. Carmona favored comprehensive sex education, the Bush administration favored abstinence-only education. Dr. Carmona stated that the Bush administration “did not want to hear the science, but wanted to quote, unquote preach abstinence, which I felt was scientifically incorrect.”,1,2126192.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed
Dr. Carmona asserted that the Bush administration repeatedly made decisions about important public health issues based solely on political considerations.
In Dr. Carmona’s words, “Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is often ignored, marginalized or simply buried.”,1,2126192.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

The Surgeon General should not be a political tool, but rather a national ombudsman for public health. Objective science must trump ideological fancy. Candidates who wish to lead the country and lead in Congress must appeal to the broadest spectrum of voters, and not twist their positions and the facts to fit the mold of the far right’s obstinate ideal. Real Republicans seek to bring people together and forge common sense solutions. Real Republicans value privacy, responsibility, small government and individual liberty. Most importantly, real Republicans understand that our country is at a crossroad and we need true leadership and a focus on urgent issues like the war on terror, solutions to the crisis in Iraq and reigning in government waste and spending. Now is the time for real Republicans to remember our roots, our history and our record for success in this country.

The time for pandering is over.


Lauren T said...

These alligations are indeed disturbing and disheartening. The moderate majority of Republicans favor comprehensive sex education and embryonic stem cell research. The surgeon General is the nation's top doctor and in that capacity he or she should be disceminating accurate and comprehensive health information to Americans, not be stifled because the content does not conform to a specific ideological, theological or political perspective. I hope that the next surgeon general will represent what the true majority of Republicans stand for--comprehensive healthcare information including sex ed and disceminating scientifically accurate and medically accurate info.

Anonymous said...

I thought our president nominated for appointment people with impeccable credentials for the positions in which they were being asked to serve. And then, Congress approved these people to work for us for the same reason.

Discussions about these appointments, in both the legislative branch and the executive branch, then had to do with how capable these people were to function intelligently and make good decisions for the benefit of the American people. (At least, that is what the textbook said would happen when I taught American Government to high school students.)

Aren't these nominees persons who would have conferred with experts and read information to remain current - which is what we would expect from department heads with impeccable credentials?

Then why would ANY top official working under the president have to be told what they can and cannot talk about?

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on you President Bush that you allowed this to happen to one of your top appointees.

Sincerely from an embarrassed registered Republican, Barbara Maves

Lauren said...

I couldn't agree more. One would naturally think that discussions in the executive and legislative branches surrounding Bush's appointees would have involved experts but clearly this has failed to happen which is a travesty. This administration has had a long track record of filtering information through their particularistic lense and it is time for Republicans to stand up and demand a stop to this and show everyone that the majority of Republicans do not support such things as have happened to our surgeon general.

Anonymous said...

Another thing that is deeply disconcerting about this is the wide range of health issues that were not allowed to be discussed in addition to abortion and stem cell research. I agree with this post in that Republicans should be about bringing people together around vitally important health issues, rather than supporting a scientifically incorrect, ideologically influenced discussion of healthcare and public policy in this country.

Anonymous said...

That the Surgeon General was gagged by this administration should be no surprise to anyone. This is but one more reason why the failed Bush agenda is on a collision course with the electorate and the sad result will be the loss of many many "real republican" members of Congress in November, 2008 who could return the GOP to it's historic roots.

Jen said...

I agree with all of the previous posts, but my question is, what do we do about it? It seems that there is a flaw in the system if the Surgeon General feels he cannot speak freely. But then again, maybe it was this particular Surgeon General? I seem to remember some past SG's being quite outspoken, even when they differed with the President that appointed them. Has the process changed so that now this Surgeon General felt he could not be forthright with the American public, or is it simply that he was the wrong person for the job?