To the moon! Why space is suddenly great in American politics

A word to Newt Gingrich on moon colonization: you’re not the grandiose visionary you think you are.

This week, Gingrich generated a lot of news touching on a subject that is actually rather dear to me: colonizing the moon. He lost a ton of points once I learned it was only because he happened to be standing on NASA property when he made the following statement, “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.” What is clearly little more than self-aggrandizing rhetoric is horribly tempered by the fact that he can’t even seem to promise the moon on his first term, because clearly re-election is more important than a moon base in under four years.

On the campaign trail, presidential candidates will often make grandiose statements about space exploration, simply because it’s the one unifying goal all of mankind shares. We know it’s crass and they know it’s crass, but it seems every time the campaign trail passes through Cape Canaveral Florida the issue of space suddenly becomes en vogue. Color us shocked the issue is once again front and center.

George W. Bush famously invoked space travel aspirations in a 2004 speech saying, “We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own.” It’s easily arguable Bush’s eyes were set on the 2004 re-election when he made this grandiose claim, seeing as he hardly made much of a grandiose contribution to NASA’s 2004-2008 budget (half of which is allocated for launching defense satellites), instead opting to raise the Department of Defense’s budget yet again while giving mere lip service.

Oddly enough, Barack Obama has been famously against all moon exploration, even back to 2007 he proposed raiding NASA’s budget to pay for education programs, not to mention that in 2010 Obama officially scrubbed the Bush initiative to put Americans back on the moon, instead opting for some robot nonsense that only makes me wonder if Skynet has officially won.

Someone like Gingrich, or any political candidate for that matter, doesn’t really have a shot in hell of impressing anyone with lofty, suspiciously timed space rhetoric while battling for ballot dominance in Florida. Unless of course he was trying to impress the late-night joke writers to make fun of him, which Jon Stewart handily accomplished when he ‘figured out’ the game, “I see what’s going on here, this isn’t about making new states. Newt Gingrich did that global warming ad with Nancy Pelosi realizing that the Earth is very sick–and now he wants to leave it for a younger planet!” Ouch.

Gingrich may have his head in the clouds on the campaign trail, but in the end we’ll do fine colonizing the moon with or without a politician’s blessing. And no, it won’t be the 51st state, it’ll be a hard life and I predict it will be fiercely independent of earth’s political nonsense.

UPDATE 1/28: Funny enough, Rick Santorum’s campaign is now echoing my ‘crass politics’ sentiment. It’s not that hard to spot though. I have my doubts that this pretend Caesar who routinely saber rattles at Iran is going to be able to explain with a straight face how the American empire colonizing the moon would be fiscally irresponsible, or even morally irresponsible in comparison to his warmongering (he literally cheers when Obama secretly kills Arab scientists, and an American). /ENDCRASSUPDATE

  1. They do have their heads in the clouds. How about talking about the real issues, like how NASA’s budget is a micro-fraction that of the DoD yet they both serve the same ultimate purpose of expansion.