Michael Barone has an interesting article at the Journal today (subscription required, at least for now):
There’s a longing on the left for the golden years of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s. Income distribution was significantly more egalitarian than it is today, and Americans had far more confidence in big government, the wisdom of our elected officials, and the ability of Keynesian spending policies to stimulate economic growth.
Hence the search for policies that will somehow get us back to those golden years.
I would note that the current nostalgic longing among some for a big-government space program has its roots in that same “liberal” impulse, though many, perhaps most conservatives don’t understand what an unconservative project Apollo was. NASA was, after all, one of those big-government institutions in which so many had faith in the post-war, early sixties. If you take away the raw rent seeking on the part of those who don’t want to see their home-state pork going away, this nostalgia lies at the heart of much of the outrage over Obama’s sensible new space policy. But unfortunately for NASA, the current justifiable disillusionment with government institutions in general is bleeding over to them as well.