Campaign '08

When “unclear” is unclear

The Associated Press issued a list of major candidates’ positions on key Florida issues, which includes, as one might expect, “NASA Funding”. These are brief summaries, typically one sentence, and sometimes as short as one word. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton gets a one-word summary on the subject: “unclear”. Technically, that’s correct, since Clinton’s science policy makes no mention of specific funding levels, short of promising to “fully fund” earth sciences work and “make the financial investments” in aeronautics R&D to “shore up and expand our competitive edge”. Those AP judges, they’re tough graders.

Or are they? John Edwards also gets an “unclear”, perhaps more deservedly so since he has said little about space policy during the campaign. Barack Obama, though, is credited for saying that “space program funding would be a priority” but is dinged for his November statement about delaying Constellation. On the Republican side, the AP notes that Mike Huckabee supports “robust spending on space” (but not that he’s unsure on supporting human Mars exploration) and that Mitt Romney “supports current funding levels” for NASA. Rudy Giuliani, though, is noted for only wanting to “re-energize” human spaceflight, and John McCain for supporting “future funding for the space program” without specifying a level. Those statements sound a little wishy-washy, perhaps even “unclear”. The AP’s grading appears to be a little inconsistent, not tough.

3 comments to When “unclear” is unclear

  • Thats your conservative press at work, Jeff

  • Navi

    There’s an interesting article about an alternative VSE plan at Aviation Week. I wonder which candidate would most likely change the VSE from its current form? This alternative VSE proposition certainly sounds exciting, and I’d be interested to know how much traction it would have with policy makers.

  • My guess is that if it can be sold as a cheaper way forward, it might be a way for the next Administration (of either party) to return to the original wider vision of the VSE, finding a way forward to true human exploration without massive increases in human spaceflight spending. If an asteroid docking plan can go forward while “delaying” (aka forgoing) the lunar-unique developments, plus maintaining current and future space telescopes, that may be a vision a future White House could subscribe to while not having to bust NASA’s budget or non-human activities.

    — Donald

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