Dick Polman on ex-Surgeon General Carmona’s testimony regarding his being hamstrung by Bushie ideologues (emphasis added):
I was particularly struck, however, by one item in his sworn testimony â€“ fresh evidence that the loyal Bushies were trying to compel nonpartisan public servants to subscribe to the kind of leadership cult commonly seen in places like North Korea:
It was the little detail about how he was ordered to invoke Bushâ€™s name three times on every page of every speech.
By the way, the White House countered in the usual fashion yesterday, contending that Carmona failed in his job. Make of that what you will. I also anticipate that the Bush defenders will blithely ignore Carmonaâ€™s list of substantive complaints (among other things, he was ordered not to talk about advances in stem-cell science, or about how Bushâ€™s abstinence-only stance on teen sex contradicted the best public health science), and simply take refuge in the â€œWhat About Clinton?â€ defense. And, yes, itâ€™s true that Carmonaâ€™s predecessor, David Satcher, was barred in 1998 from releasing a new report about sexuality because its release would have been politically awkward for a president enmeshed at the time in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And yes, itâ€™s also true that Clinton forced Satcherâ€™s predecessor, Jocelyn Elders, to resign in 1994 after she suggested publicly that masturbation should be discussed in sex ed courses.
But Carmonaâ€™s remarks need to be seen in proper context â€“ as further evidence of the Bush regimeâ€™s unprecedented attempts to politicize the institutions of government, to bend them in the service of partisan ends.