…versus political philosophies.
I have some problems:
I very much doubt that anyone in the space community rejects Obama’s position purely out of hate for the man or his other policies or even his political party. Indeed, it often seems as though on the one issue of space Republican and Democrat positions are switched around completely.
This might be due to the fact that there are so few people – and in particular so few Congressmen – who are actually interested in space in general or NASA in particular. Those outliers might be swaying the majority that doesn’t care about space.
Similarly one cannot say that all Boomers are nostalgic for Apollo, nor are the “Homers” simply looking out for their own district at the expense of the country and its future. The categorizations just don’t match reality.
I disagree. Few people fall neatly into one of the three camps, but they do capture the reasons for opposition, at least from conservatives. And as I understand it, “Boomers” and “Homers” are nostalgic and parochial, by the definition being used here (i.e., “boomers” doesn’t mean baby boomers in general, but rather those specific ones with an Apollo nostalgia). And while “Haters” isn’t a very nice label, there are in fact people who are opposed to this policy for no reason other than it was put forth by this administration (just as there were a lot of Democrats who would have cheered the VSE had it been offered by someone other than the evil Buuuuuush). As I wrote in April (where does the time go?):
The so-called conservative opposition to this new direction in space policy seems, at least to me, to come from three motivations: a visceral and intrinsic (and understandable) distaste for any policy that emanates from this White House; a nostalgia for the good old days, when we had a goal and a date and a really big rocket and an unlimited budget (what I’ve described as the “Apollo cargo cult”); and, in the case of such politicians as Senators Shelby, Hutchison, Hatch, et al., pure rent seeking for their states. Of course, these aren’t mutually exclusive: For some, all three apply. But none of these reasons addresses the problems with the status quo or the wisdom of the new policy.
But the bigger problem is trying to map the three space visions onto the two-dimensional Nolan chart (which is itself oversimplified — for example, it doesn’t usefully distinguish between legitimate concerns about national security and jingoism). I don’t know how to do it, myself, though I have to confess that I haven’t tried. But then, it wouldn’t even occur to me to do so. I have in fact written a 4000-word essay on what a conservative space policy might look like, that I’m shopping around right now, though I may just distribute it at the FreedomWorks BlogCon next week in Crystal City, and publish it here. But it’s complicated.