Rehberg and fellow House Republicans proposed the amendment to, in theory, keep government out of our daily lives. In practice, the amendment would require the Food and Drug Administration to quit using "soft science" when regulating controversial stuff like nutritional school lunches and kids smoking menthol cigarettes.
The U.S. News & World Report column by Democratic strategist Anson Kaye focuses on Rehberg's "gibberish" defense of the amendment. The Washington Post quoted Rehberg defining “hard science” as “perceived as being more scientific, rigorous and accurate” than behavioral and social sciences.
“I hate to try and define the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, between a sociologist and a geologist, but there is clearly a difference,” he told the House Appropriations committee.
Kaye couldn't let that go.
I mean, really. What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? I sure don’t know, and I’m equally sure there’s no way to find out.
And the difference between a sociologist and a geologist? That’s bedeviled great thinkers since the antiquity. (I think a sociologist is some kind of flying saucer and a geologist may have to do with socks, but that’s just a guess, and I blurted it out because I’m panicked.)
Kaye goes on (and on) with plenty of sarcasm. The message was pretty pointed to our Montucky congressman:
What Rehberg was saying was: Hey everybody, slow it down. We can’t go on making rules like this when we don’t understand the basics. Wheat bread vs. white bread? Green pepper v. Dr. Pepper? Kids should smoke or they shouldn’t? Who knows? The science just isn’t there yet.