Campaign '12

Gingrich: “America has a destiny in space”

Feeling confident about a likely victory in Georgia’s Republican presidential primary (which indeed happened), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich paid a visit Tuesday to Alabama, which holds its primary in a week. And not just anywhere in Alabama: he went to Huntsville, speaking before a few hundred people at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center there, leading to headlines like “Newt Gingrich goes to space camp”. (While the center is home to Space Camp, Gingrich spoke in the main part of the museum, so apparently he skipped a chance to ride in the multi-axis trainer.)

In that setting, Gingrich did talk about space, although not at the same length or with the same level of detail as he did in Florida in January. “I want to restate, far from backing off, I want to restate, America has a destiny in space,” he said, as reported by CNN.com. “It is a part of who we are. We are not going to back off from John Kennedy’s challenge and we are not going to go timidly into the night allowing the Chinese to dominate the future of space.”

“I said we should have an aggressive space program and got blasted for it,” he said, in another account of his speech by local TV station WAFF, a reference to that Florida speech. “This isn’t the last phase of the space program. This is the launching pad for the future.” Gingrich didn’t go into the same level of detail as his Florida speech, such as creating a permanent base on the Moon by 2020, but did emphasize the need for taking non-traditional approaches. “I was proposing that we find a public-private partnership”, he said, local station WHNT reported. “That we use prizes and that we encourage every entrepreneurial talent in America to become excited and be involved.”

The strongest rhetoric, though, may have come not from Gingrich himself but campaign press secretary R. C. Hammond, as reported by POLITICO. “Here’s my comment to all those naysayers and critics out there, okay: The same folks who mock Newt Gingrich for having vision in science are the same people who don’t want to cure cancer, the same people who are content to live with Alzheimer’s, the same people who don’t want to fix our public school systems,” he told reporters.

30 comments to Gingrich: “America has a destiny in space”

  • I’m amazed that Newt’s February 2010 endorsement of “Obama’s Brave Reboot for NASA” still hasn’t been brought up by other candidates or by the mainstream media.

  • DCSCA

    Gingrich: “America has a destiny in space”

    So sayeth Newt Gingrich – Moon President.

    And after his incredibly bloviated speech tonight in Atlanta, it brings to mind- with respect to Bud Abbott- an ol’ “Gingrich” & Costello routine:

    COSTELLO: Hey Newt, what makes a balloon go up?

    NEWT: Hot air.

    COSTELLO: What’s holding you down?

  • Terry

    We need to have someone in the Presidential race who is positive on space. NASA’s budget is half of one percent and trending lower. We can not stop being explorers and let the rest of the world pass us by.

  • sc220

    “The same folks who mock Newt Gingrich for having vision in science are the same people who don’t want to cure cancer, the same people who are content to live with Alzheimer’s, the same people who don’t want to fix our public school systems,”

    I can say emphatically I have never met anybody who didn’t want to see a cure for cancer, who was content with the scourge of Alzheimer’s or who didn’t see the need for improvement in our public schools. Does this guy live on another planet or what?

  • Doug Lassiter

    Re Press Secty Hammond’s quote, I’m less worried about all those people who don’t want a cure for cancer, Alzheimers, and failing schools than I am about people who characterize Newt Gingrich’s space fantasies as expressing “vision in science”. Where exactly in prizes, public-private partnerships, permanent bases, national security, destiny, and lunar statehood does visionary science reside? If Newt lives on another planet, this guy lives under his floorboards.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that Newt is smarter than that, about what science really looks like, but he’s got a campaign press secretary who I guess was a product of one of these failing schools. Or perhaps he has Alzheimers?

  • Explorer08

    @DCSCA

    If you aren’t a space advocate why do you even bother to read and post on this forum?

  • Coastal Ron

    Terry wrote @ March 6th, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    We need to have someone in the Presidential race who is positive on space. NASA’s budget is half of one percent and trending lower.

    No matter who is President, Congress determines the money that NASA gets, and so far Congress has wanted to spend less, not more. Congress also canceled the Constellation program without debate, without fanfare, and without a public outcry – that should tell you how important space is considered these days.

    I think the average citizen has seen plenty of results from our Mars rovers, and would be OK with more. It’s hard to know how much they are aware of the ISS now that the Shuttle has retired (I think people connected the two during it’s construction). Obama has already proposed an asteroid mission, and I’m not sure a Moon mission would get much more public support. What would change that?

  • Robert G. Oler

    This sounds like a true Muncy speech filtered through the candidate and if so Jim; you deserve a bow. Jim wont ever say, that is how things work in the shadows…but it was a good speech…to bad its useless.

    There was a campaign I thought Newt would run that was big ideas…and sadly he kind of tried but the GOP these days is a party of moral and other litmus test that filter out big ideas…and sadly Newt is as flawed a messenger in this campaign as he was in the Speakership.

    Any future space efforts by humans…that are truly “big” in scope and “frontier” legacy are going to need a spokesperson…but they are also going to need some cooling off period; a period filled with a notion of barnstorming if you will that lowers the cost, finds some applications for humans in space…and kills off some of the deadwood government bureaucracy …to allow the installation of a new one which will foster a frontier.

    Some of us have been singing this song for decades…on the old Compuserve space forum Dale gray (is he still around) use to argue forcefully for a frontier government organizational philosophy…one that would foster both “Deadwoods” and Pony Express type thinking.

    Sadly both human spaceflight and Newt are to much of a joke now. Human spaceflight has been scalded with 40 years of over promise, over cost and under performing. We have spent OK some large number of tens of billions on a space station for six that they (NASA) has not a clue what to do with. And that same mentality holds court in any future plans. See SLS.

    Newt is simply the wrong person to try and reverse this. Over the last few months the air has gone out of his campaign; he is now reduced to a favorite son status…unable to justify his campaign…I dont like Santorum but really the only thing Newt is doing now is stopping Santorum from getting the nomination instead of Willard. And either of them will likely lose to Obama.

    Part of the future at some point will see TheRepublic which through federal policy settled the west, conquered aviation, won two world wars in a tour deforce of government organization; built roads etc…get back to the notion of government working through private enterprise to do great things in new frontiers and one of them will be human spaceflight. Until then we are stuck on well contraception and other useless fights because the GOP is just on a race to the bottom.

    Again Jim, if you had any part in it…nice job. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Terry wrote @ March 6th, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    We can not stop being explorers and let the rest of the world pass us by.>>

    My two favorites are the Cassini and Messenger web sites. WE are exploring. The United States of America is…go to the web pages and look RGO

  • DCSCA

    “The same folks who mock Newt Gingrich for having vision in science are the same people who don’t want to cure cancer, the same people who are content to live with Alzheimer’s, the same people who don’t want to fix our public school systems,” [R. C. Hammond] told reporters.”

    Hammond, defender of Newt Gingrich, moon President’ doesn’t know his own candidate:

    “GINGRICH CRITICIZES NASA

    House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Saturday that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should have been disbanded after the Apollo moon program ended in the 1970′s. Source- NY Times February 6, 1995″

  • Mr. Smith: Would it not be easier to just email the link to the Romney campaign instead of posting here hoping it is seen? :) In February 2010, this tea party conservative also wholely endorsed from the sidelines, President Obama’s first budget. It is too bad they were terrible at presentation. Of course today, after witnessing the last two years and how the Senate and House establishment attempted to preserve the status quo, I look foward to the day they (mostly Republicans) either retire, or get ousted in a primary/general election. Let me add, I am on record suggesting that the tea party’s first priority in 2013 should be the ending of the existing committee structure in both Washington chambers. It is far to self serving for those elected members at the expense of our great nation.

    DCSCA: The difference between you and ‘Maher’, Maher at least can make me laugh.

    Terry: You are absolutely correct. Obama, he had his chance but bailed. Romney, it is clear he has nothing to offer in vision. Paul, I feel a “Brave New World” style future isn’t to my liking. Santorum, well I got this feeling the rapture will (won’t) happen before we land on Mars. “Newt”? Well now, that is a different story. They handed him his proverbial ‘backside’. But he didn’t back down and bail, he stood his ground on his space policy vision and is still talking the talk.

    sc220: There is a segment of the electorate that yes, does bury their head in the sand. I understood what he was alluding, apparently you did not? :) Remind me to say a prayer tonight all our ills will go away.

    I stuck to my guns and voted for “Newt” here in Romney-Massachusetts, despite knowing personally, Mitt and his son Tagg, and many of his Massachusetts HQ staff. I wouldn’t take the odds of Gingrich winning the nomination, but he did offer a chance for all of us to talk ‘space’ with far more people in the last three months than any time in the recent past. And that is a good thing.

    Gary Anderson
    real name

  • I applaud Newt Gingrich for being positive about the space program, when so many other politicians don’t care. The same people who mock & jeer him for his proposed renovation of NASA & his proposals to jumpstart a true Beyond-LEO manned program, are the same people who get a euphoric drug hit out of sci-fi space operas, like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”. Why are so many millions in the American electorate content with an American space future where we never leave LEO for another 20 years??! Is not the ISS nothing more than a “repeat” of Skylab? Something “we already did” some three decades ago? If Bigelow’s corporation should manage to emplace yet ANOTHER LEO station, would not THAT qualify as a “repeat” of the ISS? Wouldn’t the space taxis, that commercial providers are currently working on, be merely a rehash of the Mercury & Gemini capsules, that 1960′s spacemen already flew? By the way, with all this negative mindset from some people, about not wanting to “repeat Apollo”, have any of you’s out there stopped to consider, that before there was a Space Shuttle, it was miscellaneous, unnumbered Apollo space-craft which did the dockings with the first American LEO station: Skylab. And yes, you guessed it: “we accomplished THAT feat 39 years ago”!

  • ArtieT

    Will Newt get a chance to speak at the Convention this summer, and if so will he use it to advance the cause of science? Including his vision for HSF and Robotic NASA endeavors?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    It will be interesting to see if Gingrich’s appeal to the MSFC electorate will be effective in garnering him additional votes in Limestone/Madison Counties over and above his percentage of the Alabama electorate. Talk of lunar bases and moon colonies did not help Gingrich perform significantly better in Brevard County versus his percentage of the Florida electorate.

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/02/01/did-space-policy-affect-the-outcome-of-the-florida-primary/

    If bold civil human space flight initiatives can’t even help a Presidential candidate win lots of votes in the counties (forget the states) that NASA’s field centers reside in, it’s hard to see politically how there will ever be another major human space flight initiative at NASA again.

  • byeman

    Castro, I thought you said the next president is going to reverse all of Obama’s space policies and that will be going to the moon?

  • byeman

    “Why are so many millions in the American electorate content with an American space future where we never leave LEO for another 20 years?”

    Because there is no benefit or ROI to do so.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Chris Castro wrote @ March 7th, 2012 at 5:50 am
    “Is not the ISS nothing more than a “repeat” of Skylab? Something ‘we already did’ some three decades ago?”

    That’s a compact and compelling argument against Obama’s words last year dismissing the Moon as an important destination. Those words were certainly ill-chosen, and thankfully were not built into NASA budget proposals. Judging from budget language and agency strategic plans, the Moon remains an important destination for NASA, to the extent we can afford to send people there. Right now, with other commitments we’ve made, we can’t. Newt Gingrich seems to think that we can, but hasn’t articulated any serious rationale for doing so, nor has he spelled out any detailed plan for how he’d do so.

  • Vladislaw

    “Is not the ISS nothing more than a “repeat” of Skylab? Something “we already did” some three decades ago?”

    You are really going to try and compare Skylab capabilities to ISS?

    “If Bigelow’s corporation should manage to emplace yet ANOTHER LEO station, would not THAT qualify as a “repeat” of the ISS?”

    You are going to compary a government facility with highly limitied access to a commercial facility? Are you really that dense?

    “Wouldn’t the space taxis, that commercial providers are currently working on, be merely a rehash of the Mercury & Gemini capsules, that 1960′s spacemen already flew?”

    So mercury and gemini were commercial systems that anyone who had the scratch could take a ride on? Are you really so dense you do not see the difference in government owned with total control how rode them and where, to Commercial systems that anyone can ride to multiple locations?

    Maybe someone can pull out a chalkboard and draw you some flowcharts and show you the difference..

  • Mary Hail

    Because there is no benefit or ROI to do so.

    But there is an ROI to building and flying rocket engines and launch vehicles. Too bad you guys aren’t doing a real fine job of that, Jim, considering the amount of money that is being lavished upon you by congress and the prez.

  • amightywind

    I really like these stores about Newt. I really do. But he only has 1/4 of Romney’s delegates and is under intense pressure to drop out. It is a little incongruous to paste this site with stories about him, especially with the other juicy material around. It is an effort to discredit the GOP and it isn’t working. The ExoMars controversy, our relationship with the faux-democracy Russia (armorer of the Butcher of Damascus) , or what in the world SpaceX is up to…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Chris Castro wrote @ March 7th, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Why are so many millions in the American electorate content with an American space future where we never leave LEO for another 20 years??!>>

    because the effort would take enormous cost…and there is no benefit for them RGO

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “It is a little incongruous to paste this site with stories about him,”

    Not here, it’s not. This is a site about space policy. Gingrich is the one candidate talking about civil space policy and putting forward proposals. Every time he does so, it and the consequent election results, should be chronicled at this site.

    “The ExoMars controversy”

    There are multiple entries in this blog on this topic:

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/02/24/the-mars-skirmishes-continue/

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/02/10/more-reactions-to-impending-nasa-planetary-science-cuts/

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/02/14/few-surprises-but-plenty-of-angst-in-nasa-budget-proposal/

    “our relationship with the faux-democracy Russia”

    An article here covered the latest on INKSNA only a week ago:

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/03/01/congressmen-seek-to-fix-safety-glitch-with-commercial-crew-program/

    “or what in the world SpaceX is up to”

    SpaceX by itself is not a policy topic, but there are plenty of entries on commercial cargo and crew, including today’s:

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/03/07/bolden-and-hutchison-spar-over-commercial-crew-slsorion-funding/

    And if you want to know more about SpaceX initiatives, it’s not that hard:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/rockets/tech-behind-new-spacex-falcon-heavy-rocket-5518955

    http://www.space.com/13140-spacex-private-reusable-rocket-elon-musk.html

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-11/spacex-dragon-capsule-could-offer-cheap-ride-mars

    You should learn how to use the scroll function on your computer and search engines on the web.

  • DCSCA

    Explorer08 wrote @ March 6th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Government funded and managed space programs yes. Government funded privated enterprised firms, no.

    Gary Anderson wrote @ March 7th, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Maher isnt Abbott or Costello– or SNL… But then, this isn’t a comedy club and funding space operations isn’t a w/a $2 cover w/ 2 drink minimum, is it. =eyeroll=

  • DCSCA

    Once again MSNBC’s Chris Matthews lampoons “Newt Gingrich, Moon President’ and his speech in Hunstville in Matthews’ ‘side show’ segment on ‘Hardball’ today, 3/7/12. Newt’s forever a punch line on matters space and the best thing he can do for America’s space program is to stop talking about it.

  • BeanCounterfromDownunder

    DCSCA wrote @ March 7th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Cripes! Still can’t get it right! Government funding to enable private companies to develop a capability required by the government. Funding based on milestones successfully completed. Again, not a subsidy but commercial contracts entered into with not one but four companies who tendered successfully against other bidders.

  • @Doug Lassiter;…..I am being sarcastic. Why is it that all these jeers about “repeating far-past acheivements” never apply to Low Earth Orbit??! Ever wonder that?? These short-sighted people condemn Apollo, and doing ANYTHING that EVEN resembles Apollo, yet they are content and even gleefull about still further decades of America doing nothing else but the same old LEO merry-go-round stuff! Aren’t there ANY people out there, who are sick & tired of the same stupid space-stations-in-LEO exercise?! Just what the freak are we learning there—-a mere 200 miles up, going in circles—-that we somehow couldn’t be learning at Lunar/Cislunar distance? With the Moon as our prime destination, we will be dealing with & grappling with a planetary surface once again, plus coping with all of the hazards of interplanetary radiation levels; things that all need to be addressed BEFORE sending any astronaut beyond cislunar space.

  • DCSCA

    BeanCounterfromDownunder wrote @ March 7th, 2012 at 9:42 pm
    “Cripes! Still can’t get it right! Government funding to enable private companies to develop a capability required by the government.”

    Cripes, Dingo, that’s socialism. You spend other nation’s money well– given how no how Aussie citizens aren’t funding America’s space program. How’s Auastralia’s manned space program coming along…. g’day.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Chris Castro wrote @ March 8th, 2012 at 5:02 am
    “@Doug Lassiter;…..I am being sarcastic.”

    I was actually agreeing with you. What we should be doing on the Moon is to Apollo what ISS was to Skylab. So if one dismisses human return to the Moon by saying we’ve already been there, then you might as well dismiss ISS since we’ve already spent a lot of time in LEO. But ISS has offered vastly more return than Skylab ever did. One has to assume that a concerted effort on the Moon would offer a lot more than Apollo did. That’s the problem with the whole idea that human space flight is just about “being there”. Obama was unfortunately slipping into the flags and footprints rationale for human space flight. His dismissal of a human lunar return as being of importance is perhaps less worrisome than what would appear to be a conception of human space flight that is about flags and footprints.

  • Vladislaw

    a mighty wind wrote:

    “It is a little incongruous to paste this site with stories about him, especially with the other juicy material around. It is an effort to discredit the GOP and it isn’t working. “

    Yes I am sure this site must get about 10 – 15 million clicks a day so if a democratic operatives wanted to really discredit and sink the entire GOP the way to do it would be to start posting little blurbs about space politics on this site.

    No offence Jeff, but I do not believe your site has enough influence to tank the entire GOP.

  • Right on the mark;….@Doug Lassiter. I’m glad that AT LEAST someone here, can understand some of what I say, on this blogsite. “Being there” just one time in history, has never constituted exploratory innovation. Did the European explorers to the New World feel a need to cease & stop all further transatlantic sea voyages, simply because it would mean additional trips on board caravel ships?? Of course not! Did transcontinental explorers cease & stop sending expeditions out to the American West, after Lewis & Clark returned, simply because “we have already been there”?? Certainly not! The physics & engineering entailed by a manned Moon trip have NOT changed over the past 40 years. So just because the exploration scheme resembles a “new & improved” Apollo, does NOT mean that the space vehicle/ basic flight plan scheme has no merit. TO THE CONTRARY: the 1960′s engineers who designed the Apollo vehicles were brilliant, innovative sages! Future Moon crews will almost certainly do the human Lunar Return in a very similar flight mode. The difference will be the amazingly higher-capacity capabilities, that their spacecraft, tools, & equipment will have. Plus, the higher goal purpose behind this second round of manned exploration. Sure, there will be short, scientifically-geared sortie missions to special Lunar sites. But soon enough, extended stay & outpost missions will be worked in, to the flight schedule, via the unmanned & temporarily-unmanned variants of the lunar orbiter & lander craft. Something that was alluded to being possible in the Apollo days, but was never actually carried out during the program, in the 1968-1972 span.

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