Campaign '04

JFK visits JFKSC

Last week, space advocates lamented that President Bush said nothing about the Vision for Space Exploration when he had a golden opportunity: the visit by the Apollo 11 crew to the White House on the 35th anniversary of their flight. This week those advocates have something else to sigh about: Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kerry visited the Kennedy Space Center and said virtually nothing about space, choosing instead to talk primarily about health care. (Perhaps it will be a goal of a Kerry Administration to make health care plans no more complicated than, say, the space shuttle.)

The AP found that Kerry “didn’t once mention NASA”, although he certainly invoked the history of the space program in his talk, saying that Cape Canaveral was no better place to launch something, even, it appears, a health care plan. As Florida Today notes, Kerry and his entourage, including Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and former Sen. John Glenn, got a behind-the-scenes tour of KSC by center director Jim Kennedy. (Although I doubt youíll see photos like this and this show up in Kerry campaign materials in the future.) The Houston Chronicle reported that Kerry’s speech was a “far-ranging but sometimes listless riff on the keywords of his campaign: strength, respect abroad, health care and jobs.” He also talked about energy independence, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, saying, “The great mission to the moon of today is to make America secure by becoming energy independent – alternative and renewable fuels.” (This should sound familiar to regular readers.)

The oddest comment of the whole day actually came from a Republican, Rep. Tom Feeney, who criticized Kerry for voting against the space station (apparently ignoring the fact that Kerry changed his position at some point in the mid-1990s and started voting to support the station in 1997 and 1998.) He then said, according to WESH-TV in Orlando, that those votes against the station “have harmed Florida’s economy.” Sadly, the station doesnít pursue this point to trace the (il)logic Feeney used to reach that conclusion.

12 comments to JFK visits JFKSC

  • Harold LaValley

    On the oposite side of the ticket support for the Bush plan, http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040726-114356-2577r

  • Perry A. Noriega

    Iím not really surprised Kerry said nothing about space. He seems to be nothing more than a geocentric, static, leftist liberal politician, hungry for power for the highest civil office in the land, and willing to say anything to the static, leftist, liberal constituency who expect him to deliver goods and benefits from the public treasury for them if elected.

    Space development and settlement would establish a new class and a new culture or set of cultures, established in space in a variety of locations, who will be in conflict with earth based static cultures, who are happy with the status quo, and donít want anyone or anything to get in the way of their hold on power, privilege, and market share for ideas and ideology. Space is a direct threat to that hold on power, and anyone who doesnít believe this needs to read or review many space history and policy books, and see life and the political economics of space development for what it is; a struggle to establish a new power and new ways of life.

    In my opinion, space already is part of the struggle for power between the past and present and the future, between the oligarchy and the rebels, between superstition, stasis, and stuck in the mudís versus freedom, self-determination, and free inquiry. And between geocentric ways of looking at the world, and seeing the world as it really is, a planet in space where some of its inhabitants are more than ready to leave the cradle for kindergarten amongst the Moon, Mars, Asteroids, OíNeill colonies, and in the Inner Solar System as a whole for a start.

    John Kerry would strengthen geocentric-static-oligarchic ways of looking at the world, whereas VSE and its supporters represent a convergence of means, technologies, destinations, and a compromise between the disparate elements of the space community long overdue. VSE in my opinion, represents a skeletal framework to break out of the old science is the only reason to do space-national defense and surveillance is the only reason to do space, space is best done with robots way of looking at space.

    If you personally are not happy with VSEís ignoring launch to orbit, support Elon Musk, Burt Rutan, and buy a few Deltaís and Atlas Centaurs. Buy a Soyuz TMA or two; the ISS will need them after 2006. If you arenít happy with VSE not establishing infrastructure in space that can build new wealth, convert and transmit energy, process raw materials from the Moon, Mars, Asteroids or Comets, get together with others of like mind, raise the capital, and build small proof of concept hardware to go to those places and prove ISRU works.

    It appears as if we are winning hearts and minds concerning VSE and its common man and woman corollary, common men and women going to space for reasons that seem good to them. Now we need to back up President Bushís plan, Tom Delayís enthusiasm and backing, and our own hopes and dreams with letters to the editor, letters to TV and radio stations, real organization to begin building the infrastructure VSE cries out for, and gathering and mentoring converts to the spacefaring cause from the common man and woman, boys and girls, college students and brilliant minds from wherever they spring from, and go to space. And we can forget John Kerry along the way, or ignore him and his geocentric-static, liberal leftist-socialism too.

  • Bill White

    An anti-space bunny suited Kerry may be better than a “space tease” who promises BIG but then fails to deliver.

    The jury is still out on whether Bush will deliver or not. With Kerry we will know we need to to press the case vigorously in Congress.

    Everyone should read “Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership” co-edited by Roger D. Launius. A bi-partisan vision that will survive 25 – 30 years cannot rely upon the political stature of one man.

  • Mark Zinthefer

    “An anti-space bunny suited Kerry may be better than a “space tease” who promises BIG but then fails to deliver.”

    Read that UPI article above. Bush can’t really do much for the program by talking it up but he’s threatening a veto if congress cuts the NASA budget. He’s supporting the VSE where it counts, in legislation. Giving it lip service wouldn’t do anything anyway. Have some patients. It’s only been a few months and not much has been done or could be done. If in 5 years we don’t see any progress or public comment on it, then we can say he hasn’t delivered.

  • Bill White

    Mark, I very strongly support full funding for the VSE in FY ’05. The House Appropriations Committee FUBAR is an all-Republican dance.

    That said, what the VSE will be in the out years remains astonishingly vague.

    The Aldridge Commission (and the Planetary Society) both said the VSE needs heavy lift. Perhaps a point for debate, yet just last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the current Administration is advocating EELV downselect and a mandated NASA reliance on EELV for exploration.

    No heavy lift by Presidential fiat, without open debate. That worries me.

    I agree that Congress is the real battle ground yet to leverage an anti-space President may well be easier than to leverage a President who talks the talk but won’t walk the walk.

    After all, there is that old Vulcan saying “Only Nixon could go to China and only Clinton could sign welfare reform.”

  • Dogsbd

    There has never been a Presidential veto due to a NASA funding cut, if the threat of one doesn’t show that Bush is not only talking the talk but also “walking the walk” I just don’t know what would.

  • Bill White

    We will see in September.

    Like I said, the jury is out. I hope I am wrong – – – I very strongly support full funding for the VSE in FY ’05 – – yet its just too early to tell if the “veto threat” is real or kabuki theater.

  • John Malkin

    Until a bill gets to the House or Senate floor there will be nothing to debate. The battle ground is in the congress with the appropriation bill and the NASA authorization bill. I think congress is clear where the Whitehouse stands. The battle will be when these go to the full House and Senate. Another thing the vision never said the vision should be fully funded by NASA, it said they should look to the private sector and international partners. However American cannot be left without its own spacecraft to access space so the CEV must be American built and owned for national security. Thatís why I feel that the military should give some R&D money to it. It is stupid for the Air Force to develop its own Crew Reconnaissance & Fighter Vehicle as in the past. Shuttle has also taught us that we need a variety of orbital access technologies. I think itís a bad idea to depend on one company for EELV services.

    Unfortunately congress has a shorten year because of the election, see NASA Authorization bill status on this blog, so the results wonít be know until next year. On the brighter side it gives time advocates and lobbyist to work there magic. Where is David Copperfield when you need him?

  • No heavy lift by Presidential fiat, without open debate. That worries me.

    Even disregarding the issue that the Aldridge Commission and the Planetary Society are mistaken, why does it worry you so much? What’s new about this? There is rarely any open debate about space policy decisions. There certainly wasn’t during the Clinton administration, when they decided to simply turn the space station into a foreign aid program.

  • Kerry declares war on NASA?

    http://www.drudgereport.com/dnc7.htm

    This story from the Drudge Report suggests that the Kerry campaign is blaiming leaks from NASA for the embarrassing “bunny suit” photos of John Kerry.

    Sounds to like like revenge will be uppermost in the mind of any incoming Kerry administration when it comes to new NASA policy.

  • Perry A. Noriega

    I personally would be proud to be inside such a cleansuit,and have the chance to go inside an Shuttle orbiter. If Kerry is thinking NASA owes him something, he can think again, because they are doing him a favor,not the other way around. I also consider him, being the leftist, liberal, two faced, talking out of both sides of his mouth to say anything to get elected, to be treading on sacred ground. He needs to get a clue, and get a life, instead of just bitching about getting a chance to do something I would give my left *** to do.

  • Dogsbd

    Tell us how you really feel Perry! ;-)

    By the way, I agree.