Campaign '08

Ignorance is no obstacle to punditry

The rWashington Post article today about presidential candidates positions, such as they may be, on space policy got a little attention in the blogosphere (muted, perhaps, because it was the day after Thanksgiving). One person who picked up on it was Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report who was thankful that space policy discussion was not focused on UFOs or alien invasions, even if he was a little unclear on some of the details. “Candidly, I should admit that I know very little about the Constellation program, and just how much it costs,” he admitted. Undeterred, though, he adds, “I’m fairly encouraged that leading candidates would explore a policy difference about investing quite a bit of money in a space-exploration initiative.” How much additional “exploration” of that issue, though, by Obama, Clinton, and other candidates remains unclear.

He continues: “Bush may have gotten the ball rolling in 2005 [sic] with a plan for a new generation of spacecraft that can fly to the moon and perhaps to Mars, but most Republican presidential candidates seem to be leaning in Obama’s direction.” He backs that up with a passage from the Post article about the limited space policy platforms of the leading Republican candidates, but that doesn’t mean that they side with Obama about cutting Constellation or other NASA programs. Recall from this morning’s post that Giuliani has argued for “aggressively” pursuing space exploration, while Romney said he had no reason to change NASA’s current direction as described by the Vision for Space Exploration. And let’s not forget Mike Huckabee, surging in the polls in Iowa (maybe because of that Chuck Norris endorsement?) said this summer that he would be in “strong favor of increasing our efforts in space exploration and technology”, although unwilling to commit to a human Mars mission in the near term.

6 comments to Ignorance is no obstacle to punditry

  • Once again Clinton leads the way in the space arena by fully supporting Constellation. Obama seems to suffer from the same misperception of NASA that the public does by assuming it has enormous budget pockets, pockets that can be easily picked to finance his pet project. Just as with the design of Constellation, it’s early days so don’t expect to hear much about space policy until after the primaries.

  • You’d think with all the projects we’re actually wasting money on Obama would have picked something really wasteful to cut, instead of an agency on the leading edge of science, technology and exploration.

    There was more than just one “bridge to nowhere” in Congress’ pork-barrel spending bills, why not pick a couple of those instead?

  • I see Ferris Valyn fighting the good fight over in the comments section of Carpetbagger as most of the other comments there indicate is sorely needed (Jen Flowers’ “Without curiosity we all become Republicans.” is hilariously atrocious and yet she’s seems among the more sensible ones there).

    No-one has done space solar power for Earth use yet. Until anyone does (has Mitsubishi Electric given up on Solarbird?) it might be wise not to oversell space based solar power for Earth use (haven’t we been down that road multiple times already?).

    NASA managed to complete the Lunar Prospector mission (launch and everything else) for 63 million dollars. Surely someone, somewhere, NASA or other, can manage to make a SSP demonstration transmitting to Earth for under 100 million? Perhaps even a lot less but I’m no engineer (which ties in nicely with the topic title ^_^)

  • the republican candidates comments and opinions concerning space exploration is irrelevant. None of them are going to win in 2008.

    They are having trouble even winning their own primary against “Non of the Above”

  • al Fansome

    JINCHI: There was more than just one “bridge to nowhere” in Congress’ pork-barrel spending bills, why not pick a couple of those instead?

    Dear Jinchi,

    Please list what you would cut, and add up the numbers.

    It is easy to talk in platitudes. It is hard to point out specifics.

    You will quickly learn a few facts:

    1) The “bridge to nowhere” — the project that the large majority of the people agree is government waste — is a rare bird. This bird is very hard to find, the total numbers do not add up to that much, and every other interest group wants to eliminate it to pay for its select interest.

    2) Most often, what is one person’s waste, is another person’s “very important investment”. Obama and you illustrate this principle quite nicely.

    - Al

  • Veritas

    “the republican candidates comments and opinions concerning space exploration is irrelevant. None of them are going to win in 2008.”

    Sounds a lot like:

    “Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!”

    Yes, the Republicans are going to lose the same way we lost in Iraq……….wait….

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