Campaign '04

Republican Party platform, 2004 edition

The 2004 Republican Party platform is available (although, curiously, not on the GOP’s own web site). At 48,000 words, there is a little something for everyone in it, including space advocates:

The President’s support for NASA and vision for space exploration will also enhance scientific development and technological breakthroughs.

The bad news, though, is that this is all the platform says about space even though it is one of the longest party platforms written, and twice the size of the 2004 Democratic platform. It’s also considerably less than what the 2000 GOP platform had to say, and seems to couch its support for space exploration solely on its ability to provide technical spinoffs. (The sentence is at the end of a section titled “Research and Development” and is preceded by sentences on nanotechnology and fuel cell research.) For advocates, this has to be seen as a disappointing development.

8 comments to Republican Party platform, 2004 edition

  • Anonymous

    Space will become a mainstream political issue when it affects the economy and/or security.

    Space affected security during the Cold War, but less so now.

  • Anonymous

    It would have been nice for them to mention the Ansari X Prize as a “SPACE = ECONOMY” message.

    And space colonization, too, but not enough people are talking about it.

  • Mark Zinthefer

    Hopefully this will make them think of it as a security issue again. And if there’s a “colony gap” that could prod that issue into the public debate too.

  • To anonymous commenter #1,

    We are far more reliant on space now than we ever were during the cold war. If our national security space apparatus went away, the Pentagon would be in disarray, and chances are the public would have a Sputnik-style reawakening.

    It turns out that almost every major military space system is at or near the end of its operational life, and they all need to be replaced within the coming decade (at an expected cost of >$60bn). It’s not clear that we have the infrastructure, human captial, and expertise to do that any longer. Current budget overruns on many of these projects suggest to me that the aerospace industrial base is ill-equiped to deliver.

  • John Malkin

    NASA has a new flash feature for NASA’S Vision of Space Exploration. There isn’t any mention of the President or the Aldridge commission. I find this title interesting in that it omits the American people directly. They have awarded 11 companies to work on the vision today several of the old standards. This is our first glimpse of how encompassing NASA will be in the future to include a verity of private companies. The next big milestone to watch will be the results from the field center request for information.

    I think both the GOP and NASA are standing at an arm’s lengths away. I’ll be watching the president tonight to see what he says about space exploration. Maybe he will suggest dismantling NASA and selling the shuttles and ISS to Russia. I am joking…

  • Space wasn’t mentioned in Bush’s speech, but I liked this sentence:

    “Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom…”
    George W. Bush’s address to the 2004 Republican Party convention

    How did he know that we’re going to colonize the galaxy? :)

  • Brent

    I think the Space Vision is a little divisive, so thats why the Republicans are keeping it low key. Republicans by-and-large I think respect space activities, if only as a way to keep aerospace giants alive to be able to build new weapons systems in the future. Even though the verbage for space is light, I’m certain the Vision carries alot of weight in the Bush White House. I think the slim mention is to not attact the venom of the “we should spend the money on earth” crowd.

    Also, being part of the defense technical establishment I really do think we have the brainpower and resources to do alot of awesome things in space. I do wish, however, that the defense R&D establishment embraced the space start-ups more. The Missile Defense Agency and DARPA are actually pretty good a feeeding money to start-ups (far more than NASA), but the big projects still go to Boeing, LockMart, and the like. Unfortunate. It also saddens me (but is also funny in a libertarian sort of way) that the only entity capable of putting a person into space in the US right now is just some guy flying rocketplanes out of his backyard. The USAF and NASA has nothing. What a wonderful country is the USA!

  • Anonymous

    This bit from the Kerry campaign is interesting, though it’d be nice if they substantiated it:

    Use prizes to stimulate technological innovation.

    Prizes have a number of advantages as a tool for stimulating
    technological innovation compared to traditional grants and contracts.
    For example, they allow the government to set a goal, while allowing
    researchers and entrepreneurs to pursue different strategies for
    reaching that goal. The private sector’s X Prize illustrates the power
    of this approach. This prize has captured the public imagination, and
    encouraged two-dozen teams of rocket scientists from around the world
    to develop reusable spaceships. The Kerry-Edwards plan would provide
    every science agency with the authority to establish prizes to foster
    technological advances.