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Obama and Romney Respond To ScienceDebate.org Questionnaire 608

Posted by Soulskill
from the pi-is-exactly-3 dept.
rhsanborn writes "President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney have both responded to a questionnaire on the 'most important science policy questions facing the United States.' The questionnaire was created by ScienceDebate.org, a group consisting of many influential organizations in science and engineering. The questions are on many topics including research, internet regulation, and climate change."
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Obama and Romney Respond To ScienceDebate.org Questionnaire

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  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @03:52PM (#41226693) Homepage

    ... I don't want either one of them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:19PM (#41227039)

      http://share.banoosh.com/2012/09/02/romney-obama-the-same/ [banoosh.com]
      That they both don't see a problem wiretapping and detaining Americans arbitrarily is very worrying.

    • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:23PM (#41227077)

      ... I don't want either one of them.

      Fortunately, our political system provides a wide range of candidates to choose from, because 2 choices wouldn't be nearly enough for a large country with many millions of people.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        Well, you know what they say: "two parties is enough for anyone"!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:06PM (#41226845)
    Obama never mention romney's name. Romney mention Obama in comparison 12 time. Furthermore some answer particularly on GW are less than satisfying. But hey. I don't vote so... Have fun all.
    • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:57PM (#41227505)

      Romney's campaign is on the attack because he's the contender, he has to point at Obama and convince people they made a mistake in 2008.

      Obama is the incumbent and just has to convince the people who voted for him to vote for him again. It's not a hard sell, and incumbents frequently win extra terms. He'd have to screw up somehow or just be very, very unlucky to not be re-elected. The economy could be that luck factor, but attacking or even seeming to stoop to Romney's attack level will make it seem like Obama takes Romney seriously and it could cause him to forfeit some or all of his Presidential advantage. The President always has an advantage, but only if he keeps acting presidential.

      Obama has a lot more to lose by looking like an attack dog than Romney, but make no mistake, it will be plenty made up for by the Super PACs on both sides going at it. There is some pretty breathtakingly vicious stuff coming out from the Democratic side as well. Just don't expect to see Obama standing directly behind it.

  • Net neutrality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RoTNCoRE (744518) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:07PM (#41226861) Homepage
    So net neutrality is pandering to special interests and "picking winners and losers" according to Romney? Any leader who considers the individual a special interest, and thinks that not backing net neutrality isn't by default picking winners and losers is either an idiot or a liar, or both. Picking winners and losers is your damn job - pretty much the crux of it. The "letting the market decide" BS is letting the powerful corporate interests win. Any "invisible hand" or "let the market decide" crap went out the window with the bailouts.
    • Bad interpretation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:51PM (#41227407)

      Picking winners and losers is your damn job - pretty much the crux of it.

      In what way is that the role of the president?

      The presidents job should be VERY FAR away from that role. They should not be picking individual winners or losers, they should be thinking of ways to help people in general, not in groups.

      If you claim the president should be picking "winners and losers" then you are also in support of:

      1) The war on drugs (winner, drag cartels, looser, drug users).

      2) Banks (banks that are "too big to fail" will be constantly refreshed with government funds).

      3) Wars where you decide who in the nation gets to rule.

      It has always struck me as funny that so many people that want to keep companies out of the government are seeking to draw them in via net neutrality. Once Comcast is told what to do by the FCC do you think lobbying will go substantially down, or up? And the best part is then Comcast can do whatever it likes because the rules came "from the government". If you loved the torrent throttling they tried to get away with you should be delighted with the total torrent ban in effect once network neutrality rules start allowing the government dictate how networks should be run - and who they can reach. After all, neutrality means only that you must be able to reach equally VALID network endpoints...

      • by Nugoo (1794744)

        It has always struck me as funny that so many people that want to keep companies out of the government are seeking to draw them in via net neutrality. Once Comcast is told what to do by the FCC do you think lobbying will go substantially down, or up? And the best part is then Comcast can do whatever it likes because the rules came "from the government". If you loved the torrent throttling they tried to get away with you should be delighted with the total torrent ban in effect once network neutrality rules start allowing the government dictate how networks should be run - and who they can reach. After all, neutrality means only that you must be able to reach equally VALID network endpoints...

        What, exactly, do you think will happen without net neutrality laws? Will all the ISP monopolies suddenly start acting like they have competition? Will Comcast just never try to get away with throttling torrents again? Do you realize that if there are no "rules from the government", then ISP's can just do what they want anyway?

      • by Microlith (54737)

        Once Comcast is told what to do by the FCC do you think lobbying will go substantially down, or up?

        Considering how deep into the FCC they have their hooks already, I don't know if they could seriously do more.

        If you loved the torrent throttling they tried to get away with you should be delighted with the total torrent ban in effect once network neutrality rules start allowing the government dictate how networks should be run

        This is because people keep fucking around with what "Network Neutrality" should be.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:08PM (#41226893)

    At least not for EVERY question.

  • Net Neutrality (Score:5, Informative)

    by jomama717 (779243) <jomama717@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:10PM (#41226919) Journal
    I can't get over how blatantly misleading and disingenuous republicans are about this issue. If you didn't know any better and you read Romney's response alone you would likely come away with a completely reversed view of the issue. They *must* realize that if they came out and said what the consequences of letting net neutrality fail are there would be massive public outcry - which you would think, as public representatives, would lead them to support it!

    Corrupt, idealistic motherfuckers.
  • Climate change (Score:5, Informative)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:14PM (#41226957) Journal
    Romney: "my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue â" on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk"

    No, Mitt. There really is no "lack of scientific consensus". Two years ago it was at 97% [usatoday.com] of scientists in agreement.

    -S

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bigby (659157)

      97% consensus on what? Not the extent of the human contribution. If 97% of climatologists think that 100% of the warming is because of human contribution, then I lose all respect for the science.

    • Re:Climate change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegreatemu (1457577) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:41PM (#41227259)

      I'm terrified to find myself supporting Romney here, but did you even read your own quote there? He said there was a lack of consensus on "the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk."

      Now let me quote from your linked article: "The study found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is "very likely" caused mainly by human activity."

      Nowhere does it say that 97 percent of scientists agree that the average global temperature rise will be X degrees, that the risk is extremely/moderately/not at all severe, or that "mainly" = 100%/90%/80%, etc.

      As anti-republican as I am, I have to admit Romney hit this one exactly right. There is overwhelming evidence (which, btw, is way the hell more important than "consensus") that there is warming, and that we are the cause of some significant part of it. But predicting the specific effects, even the exact amount of temperature increase, necessitates a blind faith in models with a pretty poor track record so far.

      Of course, the problem is that he's trying to use lack of certainty as an excuse to to avoid taking any action, despite the fact that the science doesn't say anything at all about the best way to fix the issue (or indeed whether it needs fixing...)

      • by khallow (566160)

        Of course, the problem is that he's trying to use lack of certainty as an excuse to to avoid taking any action, despite the fact that the science doesn't say anything at all about the best way to fix the issue (or indeed whether it needs fixing...)

        So where's the "problem"? A great deal of lack of certainty is a great reason not to do something which you otherwise know will be harmful to society.

  • by spauldo (118058) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:16PM (#41226995)

    Interesting that Romney actually states that he believes global warming is both occurring and partly due to human activity. That's a pretty big change from the standard Republican line. (Of course, he also says that he'll essentially do nothing about it, since China is worse than us and he doesn't want to threaten the coal industry...)

    It does make me wonder though - Romney mentions putting more into nuclear power, but Obama doesn't mention it. Considering that Obama removed a lot of the red tape preventing nuclear plants being approved, you'd think he'd at least mention it considering that energy policy is a fairly big issue. It makes me wonder if Fukishima has changed the Democratic party line on nuclear power.

    Just once though, I'd like to see some politicians give some straight answers instead of treating everything like a campaign ad. Their answers have a lot of words, but very little meaning.

    • by na1led (1030470)
      It's the art of capturing votes. If you can get a scientist and preacher to vote for the same guy, you know you've done something right.
  • by k0nane (1132495) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:26PM (#41227103)
  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:30PM (#41227153)

    Since both candidates (but especially Romney) blabbered on for so long, I thought it might be helpful to have a summary of the candidates' positions. I tried to make it as accurate and neutral as possible, but I couldn't resist a few editorial comments.

    Q1: How will you ensure America remains a world leader in innovation?

    Obama: Double funding for research agencies, train more STEM teachers.
    Romney: Increase visa caps for foreign workers, permanent residence for foreign grad students, cut taxes, make regulation harder, aggressive trade attitudes towards China and increased free trade agreements with "nations committed to principles of free enterprise", education reform, increase funding for basic research. [Much of this doesn't have anything to do with innovation as far as I can see, but this is what he said. -ed]

    Q2: How will you deal with climate change?

    Obama: Continue pushing for the same policies as before (e.g. invest in "clean energy" increased fuel economy standards, carbon emission limits for new power plants, international efforts to reduce emissions).
    Romney: Doesn't believe there is a scientific consensus; suggests "No Regrets" policy (i.e. every policy implemented must yield benefits to America even if global warming is a hoax or if no other nations do anything; example: development of "low-emissions technology" and removal of regulations including nuclear power regulations)

    Q3: How will you fund research programs?

    Obama: Set goal to spend more than 3% of GDP on public and private research and development. Also argues that his administration's research funding, including stimulus funding, has yielded and/or will yield enough benefits for the money spent.
    Romney: No explicit details on future plans, but implied proposal to implement new policies that "facilitate medical innovation" (i.e. relaxation of FDA regulations). Argues that Obama administration's research programs have not yielded and/or will not yield enough benefits for the money spent.

    Q4: How will you deal with the threat of a pandemic?

    Obama: Strengthen public health systems.
    Romney: Strengthen public health systems, relax regulations on pharmaceutical companies to encourage innovation

    Q5: How will you fix the education system?

    Obama: Train more (good) STEM teachers (with private and charity support).
    Romney: Destroy the teachers' unions, school choice, increase focus on standards and testing.

    Q6: Where will you get energy from?

    Obama: Increased development of renewables (solar, wind, hydro, biofuels), continue existing natural gas-friendly policies.
    Romney: Relax environmental restrictions on oil and gas extraction and pipelines both onshore and offshore, but retain a full commitment to environmental protection [which really tells us nothing about how he plans to balance these factors... -ed], pursue energy free-trade treaties, reassess nation's energy reserves to reflect new technology [the implication is that Romney thinks the whole "energy independence" thing is overblown and we actually have plenty of oil, though this is not explicitly stated -ed] more focus on coal and oil than Obama's plan.

    Q7: How will you protect the food supply:

    Obama: Increase regulation by FDA in general; reduce use of antibiotics and pesticides; strict regulations on pesticides and other agricultural chemicals by FDA.
    Romney: "Work closely with industry" to implement the preventive practices recommended by the industry.

    Q8: How will you protect the water supply?

    Obama: Increase investment in water infrastructure (esp. in rural areas) and funding to water conservation programs.
    Romney: Re-examine water regulations; switch to more market-based approaches.

    Q9: How will you handle the internet?

    Obama: Protect intellectual property without reducing freedom of expression [another one of these answers that tells you nothing about how these factors will actually be balanced... -ed], shore up cybersecurity
    Romney: Get rid of Net Neutrality.

    • by vlm (69642)

      AC we both "summarized" as you might see above. But did we actually read the same "debate"? Especially #14 and #2? Its almost as if we read two different debates... I got a whole different vibe off 'bama's #2 answer and especially Rmoney's #7 answer.

      I don't think an attempt at neutrality makes any sense. 'Bama is a pretty good left of center pre-neo-conservative takeover republican and Rmoney is a caricature of Gordon Gekko from the movie. There is no representation of anywhere left of "traditional le

    • Condensed Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dlsmith (993896) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:08PM (#41227637)

      Q: How will you deal with [scientific challenge]?

      Obama: Create/expand a government program or incentive (with no explanation of what existing programs will have to be cut to compensate)
      Romney: Eliminate government regulations and let the industry take care of itself (with no explanation of how to deal with inevitable industry abuses)

      (How much you trust their answers or are concerned about their non-answers will probably depend on how much you subscribe to their political philosophy.)

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:35PM (#41227189)

    Mitt Romney's answers remind me of students who think that if they make an answer lengthy enough and yet stay away from saying anything concrete they can't get an answer right on a test. I guess no one ever told him it was always content that mattered and not quantity.

    I'm not a huge fan of Obama but at least he keeps his answers concise and answer them with out going on for half a page or attacking his and then not answering the question at all. It's like Romney thinks he is in a debate on TV and not actually writing his answers down on for everyone to read an examine closely.

  • Vaccinations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegreatemu (1457577) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:50PM (#41227405)

    I love how both candidates completely ignored the heart of the vaccination issue, pretending that the reason vaccination rates have fallen is due to people being unable to afford them or supplies running out, rather than the complete failing of our educational system, which has produced a generation of idiots who think that some celebutard's cry about vaccination-caused autism is somehow more worth listening to than a century of sound medical practice. I forget who originated the quote, but it goes something like "Democracy does not mean that your ignorance has an equal voice with my knowledge."

    Anyway, just more of the same political dodging. We can't call people reckless morons for endangering themselves AND OTHERS by refusing to get themselves and their children vaccinated, because they might vote for me! I'd really like to have political interviews where we can tie the candidates down and keep asking the same question until they actually answer it,

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:15PM (#41227725) Homepage Journal
    Converting candidate responses from legalese to English, please wait...*

    Question 1: Innovation and the Economy:

    BO: I plan on dumping at least twice as much money into corporate pocketbooks via the continued fucking-up of the US intellectual property process. Oh, yea, and I plan on hiring a shitload of STEM teachers to prep future patent lawyers, er, "engineers" for this task.

    MR: Less taxes and regulation for businesses, more H1B Visas and foreign "trade agreements" that take jobs away from Americans.


    Question 2, Climate Change:

    BO: Sure, it's a problem, but I've already dumped a shit-ton of your money into the "clean energy" companies my buddies own, as well as attempting to set up a "carbon credit exchange" scam, er, system, that would have funneled even more taxpayer dollars into the hands of my campaign contributors - what the fuck else do you expect me to do about it?

    MR: Probably bullshit, but I won't let my disbelief in the concept prevent me from using this as an opportunity to badmouth my opponent and recommend further redistribution of wealth to my also-rich homies!
    Furthermore, since China doesn't give a fuck about the environment, I don't think we should either.

    Question 3: Research and the Future:

    BO: Uh, like I said before - more of the public's money given to corporations so they can privately profit; seriously, what don't you guys get about that?

    MR: Agreed, with the caveat of, you guessed it, less regulation for the same corporations. After all, corporations are people, and if you can't trust people with your money...

    Question 4: Pandemics and Biosecurity:

    BO: ... Pass.

    MR: Less taxes and regulation on business... Oh, and more public surveillance. How are we supposed to know who's sick if we're not watching you all 24/7?

    Question 5: Education:

    BO: Earlier in my administration, I proposed adding 100,000 STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) teachers... just don't ask how that's going...

    MR: Education is a serious issue these days... which is why I recommend busting teachers' unions, defunding public schools in favor of private "charter" schools, and of course, blaming the current abysmal state of education solely on my opponent.

    Question 6: Energy:

    BO: Hey, I mentioned giving fuck-tons of taxpayer money to my buddies who run "clean energy" companies, right?

    MR: I disagree with my opponent; I think we should be giving fuck-tons of taxpayer money to the oil companies my buddies run instead.
    Can I getta 'Keystone Pipeline,' anyone?

    Question 7: Food:

    BO: Food safety was pretty fucked up when I came to office, so I made new rules that changes what qualifies as 'fucked up.'

    MR: More government regulation and taxes. Hey, if those agri-business chumps want the same deal I give the oil and pharmaceutical companies, they need to pony up some campaign bucks, ya dig?

    Question 8: Water:

    BO: My administration has invested millions in fresh water conservation and restoration efforts. Granted, these programs would have existed anyway regardless of who held this office at the time, but hey - I do, so I get to take the credit. Suck it, Bush.

    MR: Disband the EPA, less regulation on businesses, privatize the 'fresh water industry'.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Question 9: The Internet:

    BO: I promise to ensure online freedoms, granted they don't run afoul of all the new intellectual property and civilian surveillance we have/are coming up with.
    Ha ha, remember when I told you I was going to veto CISPA? Suckers...

    MR: The internet is for businesses to make money off of. Period. End of discussion. If you're somehow, some way preventing businesses from making as much money as possible from the internet, my administration will come down on
  • by JOrgePeixoto (853808) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @09:21PM (#41230129) Journal

    Developed world emissions have leveled off while developing world emissions continue to grow rapidly, and developing nations have no interest in accepting economic constraints to change that dynamic. In this context, the primary effect of unilateral action by the U.S. to impose costs on its own emissions will be to shift industrial activity overseas to nations whose industrial processes are more emissions-intensive and less environmentally friendly. That result may make environmentalists feel better, but it will not better the environment.

    Interesting. Imposing a severe carbon tax on America could actually _increase_ global emissions. Unintended consequences.

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