(The original post of this was by Papa Bonk, below. You may want to read that first. But his and my ideas on this were so alike that I thought I’d just steal from him. Thanks, Papa.)
The funny thing is that PB and I had not spoken about this issue, not once, until we were watching, I think it was Bill Maher, or maybe it was Rachel (who, by the way, will appear soon on The Howard Stern Show, I’m very excited about that) some liberal pundit crapping all over Newt for suggesting the notion and for actually laying down the notion of a legal framework for making it happen. Which is surprisingly forward-thinking for this fellow. And PB said to me, he said, you know, well, he said basically what he just wrote just now there. And I said jeez, Pop, I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. And he said yeah, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write that. And, I said yeah, you should man. And he did.
The thing about it is, the space program is something that has the potential to push and inspire and create like no other thing a country can do. It is the most extreme example there is of research and development. It is an endeavor (no pun intended there, Space Shuttle Endeavor) that requires human beings to think bigger than they generally tend to think. You don’t get results in a space program by saying that your mission is to poke a little telescope up there, or that your mission is to get astronauts to live up there for four months at a time. You get results by declaring a mission of enormous proportions, and then you send your scientists off to work to pursue it. This is one of the few things Kennedy did that was actually brilliant. He set this nation off to put feet on the moon’s surface, and by the end of the decade, sadly after his demise, we did.
Presidents should embrace something that is larger than life, that is indeed, larger than their most mundane issues, which to anyone else is pretty much non-mundane. In fact, I think it’s a generalized criticism that many of those of us on my “side” have of President Obama: He seems to be unable or unwilling to pursue the astral plane that the Presidency itself can give one access to. Candidate Obama seemed to promise to rule this rarefied area. President Obama, while insanely accomplished, has yet to poke the vein that inspires Americans to the point of foaming at the mouth. He’s barely even toured the bully pulpit. Fireside chats: Not his cup of meat.
No, Newt is on to something, and us liberalz better prestar atencion. I think his moon talk is actually spot on and is also politically brilliant. At a time when the space program seems to be winding down; at a time when this country needs a little hope infusion, talk of colonizing the Moon is exactly the kind of stuff that might get this horny bastard elected.
By the way, it’s also not a bad idea.