Campaign '08

What minor presidential candidates think about space (not much)

There’s an interesting post at RLV and Space Transport News that features some comments by Democratic presidential candidates on the nation’s space vision. Armin Ellis, who attended a presidential campaign debate in New Hampshire this week, posed the question “What is your vision for America’s space program?” to several of the candidates after the debate. The three leading candidates—Clinton, Edwards, and Obama—didn’t hang around, but Ellis was able to talk with Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson.

Not surprisingly, the answers the question elicited weren’t terribly deep. Dodd said that “we’re doing okay” and left it at that. Biden professed his support for robotic programs, and when asked about human spaceflight, said, “With clear leadership we can do anything, good luck.” Kucinich said he would double spending “across the board on civilian projects and privatize where we can”, and gave a shout-out for NASA Glenn Research Center, in his district. Richardson said spaceflight was “important” and added that “we should also encourage private companies”, as he has been doing in New Mexico.

Of course, this is all largely an academic exercise: none of the four have and realistic shot of winning the nomination, barring a massive upheaval at the front of the race. (Bill Richardson, though, could be a leading vice-presidential candidate.) Nor is it unexpected, given how low space policy ranks in the long list of issues in the 2008 election. Still, the small group of people interested in space policy now knows a little bit more about where some of the candidates stand…

3 comments to What minor presidential candidates think about space (not much)

  • Now that China’s put a man in space you can bet that the rhetoric is going to heat up on the subject. All of the major candidates are aware of this but just don’t want it address it because they don’t want to make China a major campaign issue.

  • Mike Fazan

    Yeah…right. A one-man launch in 2003, followed by a two-man capsule in October 2005? Either they are doing this at an extremely deliberate tortoise-like pace or there are a lot of attempts on which they select to not report. In either case, calling the U.S. to a perceived Chinese threat is pure hyperbole. I say let’s encourage them to waste billions on sending humans to the Moon. We did it nearly 40 years ago, and got nothing but flags, footprints and pretty pictures.

  • While I do think we need more discussion about spaceflight, the idea that we’ll find it from discussions about China I think are false hopes. We really should be talking about private spaceflight to the various canadates. Unfortnatly, I am willing to bet most don’t realize that they’ve voted on legislation concerning this (I know when I contacted John Edwards about it, they hadn’t realized he had voted on it).

    But I am glad that someone was able to ask the canadates about this.

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