My cardinal contribution, I think, was captured right here: Along with Shawn Lawrence Otto of ScienceDebate.org, I moderated a presidential science policy debate between an Obama campaign surrogate, Kevin Knobloch, and a Republican, long time Rep. and former Delaware governor Mike Castle. (Castle did not represent the Romney campaign, which declined to participate).
The idea was to show–and we did so, successfully–that you can have a serious, substantive, and important debate about science policy and climate change…in essence, about vital issues totally ignored in the 2012 presidential debates.
Here’s my write up of the ensuing event (video also available at that link), which ends like this:
In the end, the debate seemed to bespeak a less partisan, and also more substantive Washington than the one we’ve grown used to in the last four years—a Washington that might actually get things done. The question, then, is why such events are such a rarity.
Candidates for president debate the economy without being economists, and foreign policy without being diplomats. With science issues like climate change affecting nearly every aspect of life in the 21st century, why shouldn’t they also debate those? This event modeled what such a presidential debate might look like, and showed that politicians—and non-scientists working in politics—can not only talk very intelligently about science policy, but that they can also get along doing it.
“I’ve really developed a liking for Kevin,” Castle said in his closing remarks.
“I don’t agree with him,” he quickly added.
Full article and full debate video available here.