Space Policy Crops Up In The Republican Debate Again

I didn’t see the debate last night (we were partying down), but apparently Mitt went after Newt on space. Jeff Foust can’t figure out what he’s talking about, and I don’t know, either. All I know is that it’s one more reason to hope Romney isn’t the nominee. He doesn’t seem to understand the issues at all.

[Update a few minutes later]

Question for the Romney campaign. Why is the governor opposed to opening up new resources? Why does he think that we would have to spend more to do so than we are now on a rocket that will never fly?

20 thoughts on “Space Policy Crops Up In The Republican Debate Again”

  1. Romney is just trying to give Gingrich enough rope to hang himself.. fortunately Newt actually has a well thought through position on space and knows how to deliver it and what audience to deliver it to.

  2. So if Newt is the nominee, what are the chances that the same cabal that got SLS/MPCV funded will get him defeated?

    1. They don’t need him defeated.. I thought Obama would have been enough proof that the President doesn’t have control over what NASA does.. they can propose a direction. Congress still has to be convinced to fund it and they’ll only do that if it brings home the bacon.

      1. Please don’t misunderstand my question. I know that the President has no control over what NASA does. I was “in the room” when the new space policy was rolled out, and saw the resulting battle up close. A President who doesn’t really care about space policy (Obama being a notable example) has no influence over it. I get that. And a President who did get it probably would have no more influence over it.

        What I was getting at was: do we risk another four years of Obama by focusing on a single-issue nominee? It would be especially bad if the nominee had no real influence over that single issue…

        1. Baffling. Obama has said more about space policy than any other President. His administration has asked for bigger budgets than any other since the 60s. After all these years you’re still clinging to the “don’t really care” angle? What imaginary ideal are you comparing him against? Space policy isn’t important – no-one ever got elected on their space policy – and it’s not going to be the case with Gingrich either.

          1. Just because he’s talked about it a couple of times (and it has just been a couple) doesn’t mean he cares about it. He cares about reelection, and from what I’ve heard from insiders, is rather resentful of having to spend so much time on space — precisely because he doesn’t care about it.

          2. If Obama cared about space policy, he would have a) coordinated and dealed with Congress before coming up with it, and b) talked about it in the 2010 State of the Union, clearly articulating what the new policy was and why he was doing it, rather than just slipping it into the 2011 budget request with no comment. Of course, if he really cared about space, he’d never entrust it to the private sector.

            Ergo, despite his accidentally having the best policy ever, it’s not because he cares about space. It’s because it was a problem that he inherited that he didn’t know much or care much about, and delegated it to people who happened to know what they were doing. OK, well, not including Charlie.

          3. Ok, Rand is going to answer for MfK, fine. What President has *ever* done that? JFK? Who are you comparing him against? Or is it a mythical ideal?

            Do you not understand the trap you’re falling into here? This is the same thing Marxists do.. in the glorious future Utopia the capitalist system will seem backwards so we’re perfectly justified in saying capitalists don’t care about poor people. Never mind that capitalism has pulled more people out of poverty than any other system that has ever been tried, our standard is not based on history, it’s based on our utopian ideal that has never existed.

          4. Trent, no president, with the possible exception of Reagan (who at least created a means for commercial space transportation to work), ever cared about space qua space. Including Obama. What part of my comment is incorrect, historically? Obama doesn’t care about space. Nevertheless, I’ve been defending his policy, which is a lot more than he’s ever done, to paraphrase the old Groucho Marx joke about Margaret Dumont’s virtue.

          5. Oh, so what you’re saying is that the whining cry of “Obama doesn’t care about space” is just a vacuous statement that doesn’t contribute anything to the conversation… because who the hell has ever? I can certainly agree with that. Thing is, I was taught to be a little less skeptical with people.. assume they have a point and are not just injecting hot air into the room.. so when I hear someone say “Obama doesn’t care about space” I assume they have some point of comparison, be it real or ideal and I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask what exactly it is. Otherwise, I have to assume they are just mindless repeating a slogan.. and that would be rude.

          6. No, when I say that Obama doesn’t care about space, it is not “whining.” It is simply an explanation of how a president who has been so disastrous and inept on so many other policies accidentally managed to come up with a good one on space.

          7. You didn’t say it Rand, MfK did and he wasn’t saying the President accidentally managed to come up with a good one on space. In case you don’t remember what the narrative is, Obama is trying to kill NASA because he “doesn’t care about space”. Obama cancelled the shuttle because he “doesn’t care about space”. Obama is pulling out of the European partnership for the next flagship Mars mission because he “doesn’t care about space”. Obama wants to commercialize the transport of crew and cargo to LEO because he “doesn’t care about space” and doesn’t want to pay for it. Remember?

            So yes, while I’m sure a messiah space cadet President with a whimsical philosophy of what is and isn’t important to spend political capital on could certainly do a better job at “caring” about space than Obama, I don’t think that is a reasonable standard. What I think is a reasonable standard is the degree to which previous Presidents have spoken about and gone to the mat on space policy.. and by that standard Obama beats them all.

            And, in case you’re wondering, I think Obama is the worst US President ever and it is no coincidence that he’s the best thing to happen to NASA in decades. I don’t think it is a mistake.. I think you *have to be inept* to make good space policy because still having a space agency after 50 years is the height of control freak ineptitude. Obama and NASA were made for each other.

          8. Wow Trent, you really conflated MfK’s comment. I read MfK as:

            do we risk another four years of Obama by focusing on a single-issue nominee? It would be especially bad if the nominee had no real influence over that single issue…

            MfK never said:
            the narrative is, Obama is trying to kill NASA because he “doesn’t care about space”. Obama cancelled the shuttle because he “doesn’t care about space”.

            I or Rand or anyone else can answer for MfK, because MfK was pretty clear. MfK asked a rhetorical question, and you took it literally. MfK was kind enough to give you a clue, but you locked on to things he never wrote. From that point on, it was a massacre of strawmen and not even Rand could snap you out of it.

            BTW: The space policy debate is really just the frame. What Romney is trying to do is paint Gingrich as a big government spending advocate. The problem is Romney source: David Brooks. Yet a simple search by me finds this from Gingrich in his own words:

            The scientific future is going to open up, and we’re at the beginning of a whole new cycle of extraordinary opportunities. And, unfortunately, NASA is standing in the way of it, when NASA ought to be getting out of the way and encouraging the private sector.

            In terms of big government, Newt’s statement on space is a political opposite to RomneyCare.

          9. If Obama really cared about space policy he would not have let NASA put Muslim outreach as one of their top 3 policy initiatives.

  3. As far as the actual debate goes, it came up because Mitt was asked to state what aspects of his policies differ from Newt’s. Romney was really fumbling around for some sort of a reply..stalling for time until something popped into his head. The ping against Newt’s space stance was one of the first things to pop up while playing for time.

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