Campaign '08

Ex-astronauts and endorsements

As the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week put it, “My astronauts are better than yours”. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have signed up a number of former astronauts as supporters and even campaigners. The so-called “Obamanauts” have signed up former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart as well as former shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton and Dan Barry. That’s in addition to the Sally Ride endorsement of Obama earlier this week. In addition to the endorsements, Schweickart plans to do some door-to-door campaigning Saturday in Titusville, Florida.

Schweickart isn’t the only former astronaut doing some campaigning. The Sentinel article noted that former Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham “toured cities around Florida” last weekend in support of McCain. (Cunningham, readers may recall, also represented the McCain campaign in an August debate at the Mars Society convention in Colorado.) There are other former astronauts serving as “surrogates” for the McCain campaign; I had been in contact with a campaign official to try and arrange an interview with one or more of them, but it doesn’t appear that will come through before Election Day.

Obama supporters have also picked up endorsements from space- and science-related people<, including Bill Nye, the science educator and vice president of The Planetary Society; Lon Levin, the co-founder of XM Satellite Radio; and Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X Prize Foundation. Diamandis also wrote a brief editorial supporting Obama, saying that the Democratic candidate “seems to understand the challenges we face in space, and has put forward a policy that is refreshingly broad and specific.”

8 comments to Ex-astronauts and endorsements

  • […] nu på sluttampen handlar det om att plocka hem “endorsements”. Space Politics rapporterar vilka astronauter som står på vems sida. Obamakampanjen har till och med skapat […]

  • Chance

    If the Science Guy himself endorses Obama, then that’s all the encouragement I need.

  • MarkWhittington

    I wonder if Peter Diamandis knows that Obama wants to increase the taxes on people like Elon Musk and Burt Rutan.

  • anonymous.space

    “I wonder if Peter Diamandis knows that Obama wants to increase the taxes on people like Elon Musk and Burt Rutan.”

    I can’t speak for Diamandis. But to the extent Diamandis thought it through, I would imagine that the Obama campaign’s proposed 4.6% increase in income tax and 5% increase in capital gains/dividends taxes for the highest earners is outweighed by the Obama campaign’s explicit endorsement of private sector spaceflight capabilities and the COTS model in particular. Much-needed increases in revenue (or any revenue) at the top line are arguably much more important for these emergent space flight companies than marginal changes in tax rates affecting their bottom line.

    FWIW…

  • MarkWhittington

    “Obama campaign’s explicit endorsement of private sector spaceflight capabilities and the COTS model in particular”

    Not that anyone should hold much store in anything Barack Obama promises, but I wonder when that happened. In any case, Obama’s tax increases will be devestating to the kind of small, entrepeneurial businesses new space advocates seem to favor. If Diamandis does not realize this, he should.

  • anonymous.space

    “Not that anyone should hold much store in anything Barack Obama promises, but I wonder when that happened.”

    Under “Space Science and Exploration” and “Closing the Gap”, the Obama campaign’s space policy explicitely states:

    “Using the Private Sector: Obama will stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate spaceflight capabilities. NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services is a good model of government/industry collaboration.”

    See (add http://www):

    .spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=28880

    “In any case, Obama’s tax increases will be devestating to the kind of small, entrepeneurial businesses new space advocates seem to favor.”

    They are certainly disincentives to reinvesting profits in new capital, but five percent tax increases hardly rate hyperbole like “devestating [sic]”.

    “If Diamandis does not realize this, he should.”

    These emergent space flight companies aren’t profitable yet. There’s nothing to tax, so tax rates, especially marginal changes in tax rates, don’t matter to them.

    What matters is revenue. They need customers. And the Obama campaign’s space policy indicates that his administration would continue to and increasingly be a customer of these companies.

    This is not terribly complex business economics — it doesn’t require an entrepreneur like Diamandis to figure it out.

    FWIW…

  • Al Fansome

    WHITTINGTON: Obama’s tax increases will be devestating to the kind of small, entrepeneurial businesses new space advocates seem to favor. If Diamandis does not realize this, he should.

    One of Obama’s best economic policy positions is to *completely* eliminate the capital gains tax on new startups.

    that is a great idea. Kind of sounds like a pro-growth Republican idea.

    We are now at the end of the campaign. McCain had his chance, and failed to come up with anything that makes sense on space policy — that suggests he has even thought about the issue in a couple years. Considering that McCain is the former Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee which had NASA oversight responsibilities, this is sad.

    Obama has the best space policy position. That is why Diamandis is endorsing him.

    FWIW,

    – Al

  • […] As the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week put it, “My astronauts are better than yours”. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have signed up a number of former astronauts as supporters and even campaigners. The so-called “Obamanauts” have signed up former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart as well as former shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton and Dan Barry. That’s in addition to the Sally Ride endorsement of Obama earlier this week. In addition to the endorsements, Schweickart plans to do some door-to-door campaigning Saturday in Titusville, Florida…. Read the rest of this story here […]

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