Kentuckian James Holsinger is looking more and more qualified for life in Washington should he be approved by a Senate Committee that is now conducting a show trial on his nomination as U. S. Surgeon General. He announced, as everyone expected, that he disavowed the now controversial report he wrote as a member of a United Methodist task force in 1991 that found certain homosexual sexual practices were unhealthy.
This shows that he is willing to bow to political pressure to secure his position. This is an essential skill one must master in the nation's capitol in order to survive politically.
Furthermore, after bowing to political pressure, Holsinger announced that, if approved as U. S. Surgeon General, he would never bow to political pressure. This is also a promising sign. This shows his willingness to engage in hypocrisy with a straight face. Even some seasoned political operators have not completely mastered this skill. To be able to look straight into a camera and claim that you are not going to do what you are, in fact, even at that very moment, doing will come in handy in Washington.
Surely Ted Kennedy, of all people, should appreciate this quality in Holsinger.
The other members too should see in Holsinger a characteristic they all ought to admire, since they possess it to such a large degree themselves. After all, none of the medicine has changed since the report was written, but the politics certainly has. And these senators, who at the time would undoubtedly themselves have agreed with the report's findings (remember, this was 1991, when almost everyone agreed with what Holsinger wrote in his report), are indignant that anyone would have believed then what they themselves surely believed at the time.
But for some reason, many of the members of the committee, who want to ensure that the U. S. Surgeon General's office remains above politics by forcing nominees to bow to politics, remain unimpressed.
Here is a committee of politicians who want to sacrifice science to politics while it is saying that it doesn't want science sacrificed to politics, and it has a nominee in front of it who is willing to sacrifice science to politics and bold enough to tell the committee that he would never do such a thing, and they're going to let the opportunity go by?
If they do that, someone is just going to have to start questioning their integrity.