While James Inhofe returning to the Senate is certainly welcome bad news for Beltway junk science, let’s hope this doesn’t bear out (from <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/11/why_did_someone_have_to_kill_my_election.php“>Respectful Insolence, via Wally Olson’s Facebook page):
[Overlawyered‘s Walter] Olson pointed out an article that suggests that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is being considered for Secretary of the Interior. Yes, that RFK, Jr. You know, the one who added rocket fuel to the fire of the entire scare about mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines as a cause of autism back in 2005, with his pseudoscience- and misinformation-filled article Deadly Immunity. He’s also one of the key boosters of antivaccination fearmongering based on the claims that mercury causes autism, and has done numerous articles, public speeches, and media appearances supporting the now scientifically discredited idea that thimerosal in vaccines is a cause or “trigger” for autism. The source, an article at Politico outlining the shape of a potential Obama Administration based on canvassing of Democrats supposedly “in the know,” lists Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as the top candidates for the Interior spot.
I really, really hope that this is nothing more than a trial balloon or a bit of uninformed speculation by the sources at Politico and that Obama isn’t seriously considering a wingnut like RFK, Jr. for any position in his administration. I realize that Secretary of the Interior has nothing to do with medicine or vaccine safety, but putting an pseudoscience-boosting crank like him in any position of power in the federal government, much less at a Cabinet-level position, is not the kind of message that reassures me that an Obama Administration is dedicated to using good science as a basis for determining policy.