Part of the reason I think the partisan meme of the ‘war on science’ is a bad idea is that it could lead some to infer that the least war-like party is very committed to supporting science – at least to the extent that science advocates (including champions of the partisan meme) would like.
However, I think the more important struggle, a perpetual struggle, is over the priority placed on supporting science and technology. Regardless of the parties in power (be it in Congress or in the White House), the challenge is not getting the science supporters in one party to reach critical mass. It’s getting enough supporters, regardless of party, to pay attention to the issues we think are important.
ScienceInsider notes the latest evidence supporting this idea in a recent statement from President Obama noting the accomplishments during the ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress. The passage of the America COMPETES reauthorization bill did not receive much attention from the White House, the President, or much of the non-science and technology press.
The slightly larger press notice that accompanied the passage of the original COMPETES legislation was followed by a failure to follow through in appropriations, so the concerns expressed by those disappointed in the minimal notice this time haven’t exactly changed in the nearly three years since. And it’s the fight for priority that deserves the attention, not poking a bear with a stick.