[The president issued] a memorandum that sets forth broad parameters for how his administration would choose expert advisers and use scientific data.
The document orders Mr. Obama’s top science adviser to help draft guidelines that will apply to every federal agency. Agencies will be expected to pick science advisers based on expertise, not political ideology, the memorandum said, and will offer whistle-blower protections to employees who expose the misuse or suppression of scientific information.
The idea, the president said in remarks before an audience of lawmakers, scientists, patients advocates and patients in the East Room, is to ensure that “we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology”: a line that drew more applause than any other.
The Republican response (from the same article):
But Mr. Bush’s defenders see Mr. Obama as just imposing an ideology of his own. They say Mr. Bush did not ignore scientific facts; rather, he took the counsel of scientists and used it to make a policy determination that reflected his values, just as Mr. Obama is doing in lifting Mr. Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research.
“Those who suggest that the Bush administration did not rigorously apply science are themselves ignoring the facts,” said Karl Rove, the former president’s political strategist.
Rove suggests that Obama is no different than Bush in merging science with values to make policy. But with science having a liberal bias and all, this meant that Bush largely replaced scientific recommendation with values (especially with respect to environmental recommendations), while Obama is hopefully looking to largely follow scientific recommendations. I, for one, welcome the change.