As the Bush Administration wound down to its end today, it, like other outgoing administrations, has been taking steps to try and shape its legacy. One form has been a a series of publications titled “The Bush Record” that identifies what, in the administration’s own view, it has accomplished in the last eight years. How does space policy figure into this? Not much.
“A Charge Kept: The Record of the Bush Presidency 2001-2009″ makes only a couple of tangential, at best, mentions of space: a reference to “space defense” among a list of “new defenses” the administration supported as part of a “new approach to strategic deterrence”, and a mention that civil space is one of several new areas of cooperation between the US and India. In “Highlights of Accomplishments and Results” doesn’t say anything about space policy that isn’t found in a standalone appendix, “100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record”. That document does mention the national space policy that the administration enacted in 2006, curiously putting it under the “Helped American Workers and Businesses Remain Competitive” heading:
Created a new National Space Policy to ensure the continued free access and use of space for peaceful purposes and to help advance America’s economic competitiveness. Protected our national interests in space, governed the conduct of U.S. space activities, and enhanced the domestic space technology market.
How exactly the 2006 revision of the national space policy “enhanced the domestic space technology market” isn’t clear. Interestingly, the document doesn’t make any mention of the Vision for Space Exploration, the policy that radically altered the course of the space agency for the last five years. Bush’s January 14, 2004 speech announcing the vision is also missing from “Selected Speeches of President George W. Bush”, although that document does include Bush’s brief speech in response to the Columbia accident on February 1, 2003.