James Holsinger Jr.s nomination as the next U.S. surgeon general evolved into a debate of politics vs. science as legislators weighed testimony suggesting prior
officeholders have been stifled by the political agendas of presidential appointees.
Two days before Holsinger testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Richard Carmona, the U.S. surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, testified to a House committee that his tenure had been compromised by the personal agendas of his political-appointee supervisors. Although Carmonas predecessors told him that most Americans believe the surgeon general has the ability to affect the course of public health, the reality is that the nations doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with personal agendas, he said in his written testimony.
Carmona also said that anything that does not fit into the political appointees ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried.
The Federation of American Scientists issued a written statement about Carmonas testimony that said, although it is not new for government scientists to feel the weight of political pressure, the size and scope of the effort reported by Dr. Carmona is shocking.