Political Hay

Medicine Men

The Democrats use scientific mumbo-jumbo to seduce the public while they conceal from them real science that conflicts with liberal ideology.

By 8.3.05

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The medicine men of old were quacks who exercised disturbing influence over their patients by claiming to possess great healing powers. The Democrats are inheritors of this tradition of charlantry. They are not the party of medicine but of medicine men. They are not the party of science but of scientific mumbo-jumbo. They use bogus science and its omnipotent claims to seduce the public. The medicine-man party found its voice in John Edwards last year when he declared that Christopher Reeve would have been walking were a Democrat in the White House.

The medicine men of old, fearing exposure as frauds and loss of power, never wanted their enthralled patients to encounter real doctors. Here too the Democrats resemble medicine men: As they sucker the public with pseudo-science, they conceal from them real science that cuts against their ideology and reveals their exercise of power in the name of science as corrupt.

Look at how quickly the Democrats turn skepticism about science on and off, depending on their ideological needs. When speaking of the grand medical promise of experimentation on the stem cells of destroyed human embryos, they show no skepticism about science whatsoever and make fantastical claims about its power. But when scientists report the dangers of RU-486, the Democrats suddenly assume the posture of skepticism and show a resistance to science's niggling claims. Like shamans shooing away missionary doctors, the Democrats tell the American public to close their ears and keep taking their liberal medicine -- contraceptives that fail, abortifacients that can poison them, and so forth.

Last week, as the Democrats were castigating the Bush administration for choosing "ideology over science," the FDA reported that two more victims, dead from RU-486, had been sacrificed on the altar of a Democratic abortion ideology that ignores science whenever it proves inconvenient.

"Federal health investigators are baffled: Why have four California women died from a bloodstream infection after using a controversial abortion pill?" reported the Associated Press. Scientists who saw the dangers of RU-486 aren't baffled. They predicted these tragedies, and Hillary Clinton told them to quiet down. Rebuking the Bush administration for not approving over-the-counter abortifacients more quickly, she said, "What we are witnessing is the FDA...being run not on the basis of science, but on ideology" -- an exact description of her own ideologically driven impatience with any scientific study that would keep those drugs off the market.

Eric Shaff, chair of the National Abortion Federation, has said that RU-486 is less dangerous than aspirin. If a tobacco executive made such a scientific claim to teenagers, Henry Waxman and Hillary Clinton would be furiously holding hearings. But the Democrats treat RU-486 with no such "scientific" concern. Not wanting to discourage women from using abortion pills, they pooh-pooh credible reports on its dangers. Just recently a Brown University scientist, Ralph Miech, argued that RU-486 makes women more susceptible to septic shock by eroding their immune system. Will the science in his report get a hearing? Not by the Democrats.

All but one of the deaths so far from RU-486 have been due to septic shock. "On the surface, this appears unusual," Dr. Marc Fischer, a medical epidemiologist at the federal centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, told the Associated Press. A surprise? This was predicted, but Hillary Clinton and the Democrats didn't want to hear these warnings, just as they don't want to hear from scientists who note the risks of contraceptives lest they give credibility to studies that might impede the widespread use of contraceptives by teens.

The witch doctors and medicine men of modern times, like their predecessors, are responsible for much blood-letting. One of their victims is Holly Patterson, who as a California teen had heard the propaganda from the Hillary Clintons that RU-486 is no more dangerous than aspirin. After Patterson died from RU-486, her father Monty took up the cause of outlawing the drug. "This drug is not safe," he has said to the press. "Holly never thought she would take a drug that would kill her. She wouldn't have done it."

A party that tells the Christopher Reeves that they will walk and the Holly Pattersons that they won't die is not a friend of science but a foe that will only turn to it for exploitation.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.