Campaign '04

Kerry: go to the Moon right here on Earth

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has picked up the endorsement of former Ohio senator and astronaut John Glenn. Less newsworthy than the endorsement—which doesn’t carry that much weight—is some of the comments Kerry said in his speech about whether there should be human missions to the Moon and Mars:

But Kerry said the U.S. government should not be talking about returning to the moon or going to Mars missions proposed by President Bush.

Rather, he said, leaving his prepared speech, “we need to go to the moon right here on Earth” by creating high-paying jobs of the future and making sure that “young Americans in uniform are never held hostage” to Middle East oil.

The Toledo Blade offers the full quote at the end of its article about Kerry’s speech:

“What we need to do as we enter this dawn of the 21st century, is not talk about going to the Moon or even to Mars. We need to go to the Moon right here on Earth by creating the jobs, building the high value-added jobs of the future, making clear that no young American in uniform ever ought to be held hostage to America’s dependence on oil in the Middle East,” he said.

On the face of it, this appears to be a far stronger rejection of the Bush space initiative than what he told the AP.

7 comments to Kerry: go to the Moon right here on Earth

  • Chris F.

    How exactly does one “go to the Moon right here on Earth”?

  • Hi Jeff

    Kerry was surely talking about the “Apollo Project for Energy Independence”, which I think he and Gephardt have been supporting for a while; Dean was also a supporter. It’s an interesting concept – of course I happen to be a believer that space is our best hope for energy independence – I’ve been writing about that in various other places…

    Anyway, see
    for more info on the “Apollo Alliance” which is behind this – they published an analysis of what they thought it would take earlier this year.

    Smartly they’ve focused on the fact that spending a lot of money means creating a lot of jobs, which gets them great union backing. Now why can’t space folks do that?

  • Jeff Foust

    I think you’re quite correct in noting that Kerry was referring to some kind of energy independent initiative—be it the Apollo Alliance or something else. However, his language suggests that this initiative and the new space initiative are mutually exclusive: you should do either one or the other, but not both. That could prove unsettling to some space advocates.

  • Yup – well a few of us have been trying to get the Apollo Alliance folks and friends to understand that space solar power is an alternative that should be seriously considered in their approach – rather than being mutually exclusive, space and energy independence should be mutually supportive.

    But Kerry’s statement does unfortunately seem to put the two in opposition. Why is it space always seems to be in opposition to every other worthy project? Oh well…

  • Bill Turner

    “making clear that no young American in uniform ever ought to be held hostage to America’s dependence on oil in the Middle East”

    If you accept the claim that oil is a reason why we invaded Iraq, then national security is the trump card for the coalition (environmentalists, unions) advocating the Apollo energy program. Of course, it used to be the trump card for the supporters of the original Apollo program. It’s a pity that space is seen more like a detached scientific program these days.

    Now if only China could get its act together and beat us (back) to the moon…

  • Jeffrey E. Brooks

    What space advocates need to be doing, in every possible venue and forum, is attaching space policy to the other critical issues facing the country. Energy independence. Environmentalism. Jobs. National security. Economic stimulation.

    An active and energetic space program is not only good in and of itself, but helps provide solutions to so many other problems. But the national zeitgeist considers space exploration, at best, a fun distraction- like buying a DVD player when one needs to focus on the rent.

    John Kerry needs to be confronted with this obvious truth at every town hall meeting over the next several months.

  • Bill White

    Jeff Foust nailed Jeffrey Brooks’ point a few weeks ago as well. What space advocates need is a succinct, catchy, persuasive answer to “Why space?”

    Being a liberal Democrat who strongly believes that future of humanity in general (and more particularly the future of that subset of humanity we call Western Civilization) depends on our settling space I am personally persuaded as to “Why space?”

    Bob Zubrin + Samuel Huntington, as it were.

    That said, I confess I cannot yet articulate a succinct, catchy, persuasive rationale for “Why” – – and yet that is exactly what we need.

    And yes, I have real doubts about whether George W Bush actually meant what he said January 15th or whether he is willing to share the vision and the credit. On this I sincerely hope to be proven wrong but the jury remains out, IMHO.