Sunday’s Florida Today features its own take on NASA’s present situation, including a lack of non-acting administrator, including some choice comments from Sen. Bill Nelson, who has arguably played a major role in this situation. “There is some political center that is slow walking this, and I don’t know what it is, who it is or why,” he claimed. Nelson, of course, is continuing to promote his own favorite choice, former astronaut Charles Bolden. “I don’t know anybody else who is in serious contention,” Nelson said in an associated blog post.
Nelson said he’s asked John Glenn to call the White House “and weigh in on this”, although exactly who Glenn spoke with, and what he said, isn’t known. Nelson added that he saw another former astronaut, Sally Ride, earlier in the week, who told Nelson that “Charlie would be great”. (Interestingly, in the sidebar in today’s article, Florida Today mentions that Ride herself is often “mentioned in space circles” as a potential candidate, although how serious that discussion is, and whether Ride would be interested in the job, isn’t mentioned.) The article does at least mention that Nelson “helped torpedo” two previous candidates, Scott Gration and Steve Isakowitz, but doesn’t follow up on that with Nelson.
While how serious a power vacuum the lack of a permanent administrator really create has been discussed here recently, today’s Florida Today article does indicate that the perception of a lack of leadership, attention, and/or interest by the current administration does exist in Florida. “I think there’s tremendous angst in the work force. We’re hearing it from our members,” said Barney Bishop, head of the Associated Industries of Florida, a state business interest group. The article adds that Bishop is lobbying for a “financial ‘bailout’ of the shuttle”. Good luck with that.