Are qualifications that important?
Posted on September 23, 2005
Never has America witnessed a greater need for competent and experienced leadership than when the President Bush appointed Norris Alderson, a veterinarian, as the director of the Office of Women’s Health for the Food and Drug Administration.
We were glad to be a part of a nation that stressed the importance of women’s health through numerous protests from women’s organizations and individuals, who urged the FDA to shape up and reconsider.
The FDA released a statement to liaison organizations proclaiming Alderson’s appointment after the former director Susan Wood, who resigned late last month in protest over the FDA’s refusal to make the Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter.
The responsibility of ensuring that women are included and are not discriminated against at trials for new drugs was then bestowed on Alderson, who unlike Wood, a women’s health specialist, had spent the majority of his career in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Since many realized that a guinea pig and a human being are two different things the complaints started to pour in, and Alderson’s lack of knowledge about women and their health in our society soon became evident.
After coming to its senses and realizing that this position was not intended for a veterinarian, Alderson was replaced with Theresa Toigo, who has more knowledge about the women in our society and their health needs.
During Toigo’s appointment to be the nation’s leading advocate for womens’ health, no mention of the Alderson debacle was ever made.
Realizing that it had made a mistake, the FDA tried to cover itself and claimed that an official decision for Wood’s replacement was not made until
Toigo’s appointment on Sept. 16.
When asked for a clarification by the Washington post, FDA spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino claimed that Alderson was never appointed to the position and that Toigo was going to start where Wood left off. Trevino said that a director of Women’s Health was not officially announced prior to Toigo’s appointment.
But we at the Campus Times are less than convinced by this little ruse. To us, this looks like just the latest attempt by U.S. government lackeys to spin bureaucratic incompetence into a nice yarn from which they intend to knit into the great woolen quilt that is being pulled over the public’s eyes.
The truly sad thing is that since the Bush administration took office underqualified cronies who tow the party line are finding their way into important government positions.
Please do not get us wrong, we understand that cronieism is pervasive in every government administration, but in past administrations, ditto-heads have at least been appointed to offices for which they had some knowledge base to draw from.
To us it looks like the reason that Alderson’s nomination was withdrawn had less to do with the fact that he was a veterinarian and more to do with the negative sentiment against cronyism that was sparked by former FEMA chief Michael Brown being outed as nothing more than the front man for a lame horse and pony show.
Frankly, whether Alderson’s nomination was withdrawn or not, the American people should be outraged.
Nominating a veterinarian to head up the department of women’s health is insulting. It shows a basic lack of concern for how women should be represented in government. And that should not be tolerated.