Michael Bloomberg, GOP Dissident on Science

By Chris Mooney | May 27, 2006 5:37 pm

Does the Republican mayor of New York accept the Republican War on Science critique of his own party? Recent remarks delivered at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine–where he discussed global warming, stem cells, and the Terry Schiavo case–suggest that perhaps he does. It is of some interest to me how someone like Bloomberg, if he really thinks like this, can feel at all comfortable in today’s GOP….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics and Science

Comments (9)

  1. Bloomberg can feel at least moderately comfortable as a Republican in NYC because partisan affiliation has never been as important there as in less urban areas of the country. And even within the NYC GOP circles, everything is skewed closer to the centre, if not the left, compared with elsewhere.

    The thing to remember is NYC is a separate universe.

  2. Roman Werpachowski

    He’s rich enough to feel comfortable anywhere.

  3. neil wilson

    Please!!!

    You need to remember that Mike Bloomberg is a liberal Democrat. There is virtually no difference between Wall Street Liberals like Corzine, Rubin and Bloomberg.

    The reason Mayor Mike became a Republican is that he had no chance winning the Democratic nomination.

    I would not be surprised if a non-Hillary Democrat picked Bloomberg as VP in 2008.

  4. laurence jewett

    There ARE Republicans (lots of them) who
    1) are disgusted with Bush’s anti-scientific stance
    2) are generally disgusted with Bush on foreign policy, deficit spending, ethics and other matters as well.
    3) feel that extremists have taken control of the Republican party.

    Anyone who believes that Bloomberg is just an anomaly need only look at the polls: 30% of REPUBLICANS do NOT support Bush at this point.

    It is just that we have not heard a lot from these (reasonable) Republicans until very recently. The extremists have tended to silence and/or drown out everyone else.

  5. If those moderate Republicans keep voting for and supporting the extremists, then what’s the difference? If the extremists are such a tiny minority, then why do the others let them become the face of the party? Is simply being able to say that the GOP is in power – regardless of what policies it’s passing – more important than their “reasonable” position? My uncle left the Republican Partyback in 2002. He’s not a happy camper in the Democratic Party, but he couldn’t stand the new GOP a minute longer.

  6. Here in Pennsylvania, we have Senator Spector, who has won support from moderate Democrats, although he lost mine when he became beholden to Bush. He doesn’t speak out much on science, but he never takes the side of the abusers.

    We also have Senator Santorum (Slick Rick Sanctimony-orum, as I call him), who is likely to lose to a moderate-to-conservative Democrat this fall. He is classic science abuser (when it seems politically expedient), although he now claims to have changed his mind and agrees that Intelligent Design does not belong in the science curriculum.

    Neither party has a monopoly on abuse of science. Who the abusers are depends on what issues are prominent. As I note in my review of RWOS ( http://www.scienceshelf.com/RepublicanWaronScience.htm ), Chris makes a good case for the War on Science being a Republican activity these days. However, as the moderate wing of the Republican Party reasserts itself, the “War” will become non-partisan.

    In other words, I think the War on Science will require continued vigilance, but it will be harder to fight when it is no longer associated with one party. In fact, we need to consider whether it is a War on Science at all, rather than a “War Against Evolution” fought by religious fundamentalists, a “War Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research” fought by religious conservatives who may not be fundamentalists, and a “War Against Climate Science” fought by certain big-money interests, but not entrepreneurs. Right now, those groups form the Bush coalition, but the religious folks may not be natural Republicans, and many Republicans are pro-science.

    In other words, Bloomberg may be a sign that the War on Science was never as Republican as it has appeared to be during the present administration.

  7. laurence jewett

    “If the extremists are such a tiny minority, then why do the others let them become the face of the party?”

    I don’t have the answer to that question. If I did, I’d probably have a Nobel Peace Prize because the fact is, very small groups of extremists have come to power in countries (including democracies) around the world time and again throughout history.

    “If those moderate Republicans keep voting for and supporting the extremists, then what’s the difference?”

    If they DID all keep voting for and supporting the extremists, I agree that there would be no difference.

    But they don’t. Witness what has been happening in Congress recently — particularly in the Senate.

    Some may not appreciate it, but to have some of the Senate’s most senior and influential Republicans questioning and voting against the extremists in the administration on so many critical issues is quite extraordinary for a party that has always prided itself on its ability to present an almost monolithic front.

    Have you heard what Senator Hagel has been saying (for some time) about Iraq?

    What Senator Specter has been saying about the NSA spying program?

    What Senator McCain has been saying about Global warming?

    What several retired Republican generals have said recently about the War in Iraq?

    It is not at easy for these people (even for such prominent Senators) to resist, but resisting they are.

    I believe there is reason to be cautiously optimistic in this regard.

  8. Ginger Yellow

    “If they DID all keep voting for and supporting the extremists, I agree that there would be no difference.

    But they don’t. Witness what has been happening in Congress recently — particularly in the Senate.”

    Bloomberg, Giuliani and Schwarzenegger, all supposedly social liberals, all spoke at the Republican convention in 2004. None of them spoke out about the extremism in the party. All of them endorsed Dubya.

  9. laurence jewett

    I would not put “Bloomberg, Guliani and Schwarzenegger” in the same class as someone like Senator Hagel.

    Senator Hagel has earned a reputation for independence — and a level of respect from both sides of the political aisle — for voting his conscience that the other three can just dream about.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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