Monday, July 22, 2013

Rocket science politics in New Jersey

I have doubts about the effectiveness of this ad.


The problems are (1) unlike in the 1950s, the atomic power/electrons orbiting nucleus imagery doesn't necessarily convey to many people something positive and cutting-edge; (2) while it would be good to have more scientifically knowledgeable policymakers, the suggestion that someone has smart ideas about Social Security and other non-science issues by virtue of being a scientist, makes for an odd combo of intellectual braggadocio and non-sequitur.

Anyway, Congressman Rush Holt, a physicist (he was one of the top people at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, which researches nuclear fusion) is running against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the special primary election Aug. 13. Some others are running, but Booker is the overwhelming favorite, unless apathy amid summer doldrums precipitates an upset; which I doubt. Glenn Greenwald, taking a break from some mildly controversial things he's been doing lately, has endorsed Holt.

On the Republican side, the primary pits heavily favored two-time gubernatorial primary loser Steve Lonegan against little-known physician Alieta Eck. Neither has displayed any talent for reaching out beyond the Republican base, and so a GOP victory in the October special election is highly unlikely.


Ray Haupt said...

Richard Feynman, a well regarded American physicist (1918 - 1988), succinctly put it this way:
"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy."

Kenneth Silber said...

He wrote some hilarious memoirs, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.