Science, expert opinion, who needs it?

Certainly not President Bush.  Not when he can just rely on what he knows to be true (that's obviously worked so well in Iraq).  The lede of this New York Times story seems pretty innocuous:

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House
much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the
government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment,
civil rights and privacy. In an executive order published
last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must
have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to
supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to
regulated industries.

As Steve Benen points out, though, this is far from harmless:

Experienced policy experts were helping set regulations on worker
safety, for example, at the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration. Through this new executive order, the president has
said cut career employees out of the picture, so inexperienced
political hands at the White House can gut those worker safety
regulations. The same goes for every other federal agency.

A few years ago, former domestic policy advisor John DiIulio said,
?There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on
in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you?ve got is
everything ? and I mean everything ? being run by the political arm.
It?s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.?

As it turns out, DiIulio was off a bit. He made this comment in
2003, when there were still some civil servants with power in the
executive branch. Now everything is being run by the political arm.

Sadly, this just continues the 6 year pattern of ignoring the advice of career experts in favor of dubious political appointees (I might also mention here that the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq was staffed by persons who had to prove their conservative bona fides on gay marriage and abortion– two issues obviously crucial to the reconstruction of Iraq). 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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