31 January, 2012

Eye of Newt

A criticism of not just Mitt Romney but all the candidates, past and present, in the Republican primaries is that it’s an incredibly negative campaign and that no one is offering a positive vision for the future.  They all say they have a positive vision for the future but when asked to quantify it, the positive vision seems to be to dig up Ronald Reagan and the future is 1986.

Then Newt Gingrich said something that most definitely qualifies as a vision for the future.  He said that by the end of his second term (and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t mean a Grover Cleveland style second term) there will be the first permanent colony on the moon.  The need or purpose for such a base isn’t clear to anyone but the two pieces of speculation are that it’s either about minerals or that we’ve stuff this planet up so much that it’s time to look for alternatives.

Anyone who knows me knows there are few greater supporters of space exploration.  The return is far greater than the investment and the investment is a pittance compared to many other escapades.  The shuttle program could have continued for a few more years (or better still, a replacement developed) for the amount of petty cash that was lost in Iraq.  That’s not hyperbole – I’m talking about actual petty cash that actually went missing.  Having said that, the first question regarding a moon base is, Why?  Even some of the people who have already been there say that a return to the moon is pointless.  Been there, done that, let’s go somewhere new.

Here’s an even more interesting question:  What if such an outlandish idea had been proposed by, oh let’s say, John Kerry, or Howard Dean, or Dennis Kucinich?  Or even Hillary Clinton or Ron Paul?  Do we really need to imagine how much they would be mocked for it by the right wing?  Would it not surely have destroyed their campaigns even sooner?  Yet (and I know I’ve said this before) Newt Gingrich is still being taken seriously.  Why?  Is this fair and balanced?

We report, you decide.


  1. I think Newt, the perfect opportunist, was in FLorida when he announced this. Florida is the home of space and work in the space industry that is seeing itself being shredded apart in the budget cuts.

    By promising a space station, he is promising work and a continued good life for the many thousands of florida voters who depend on space.

  2. That's a very good point. If that's the case though, he's being a little shortsighted. Many of the job losses that resulted from the end of the Shuttle program were in Louisiana, where they made the fuel tanks, but who cares about Louisiana?

    In any case, I thought that government contriving work for people was teh socialisms. It isn't and they should do it, but the way to put people back to work is in rebuilding some of the public infrastructure that has been neglected for decades.

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