Barack Obama promised in the campaign to restore proper science advice to the presidency (here, question 12):
I will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best- available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees.[snip]
[I will] strengthen the role of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) by appointing experts who are charged to provide independent advice on critical issues of science and technology. The PCAST will once again be advisory to the president.
Obama already has a decent advisory panel already, so where’s the appointment of the science adviser (in his apparent scheme, the Chair of PCAST)? Few other decisions can signal more strongly that policy will be based on reality. We can agree that economics isn’t science, but Obama’s other two domestic priorities – climate change and health care – cry out for scientific input. This is especially important when agency heads are chosen, as several have been, for executive and political skills rather than wonk cred.
(10-day wait for unacknowledged takeup by MSM and Big Bloggers)