Friday, January 9, 2004

Fly Me To The Moon

I’m probably not the first blogger to come up with that headline, but hey, you go with what you got.

According to the NY Times, President Bush plans to announce a major space exploration initiative.

Aboard Air Force One en route to Washington, the president’s press secretary, Scott McClellan, told reporters, “The president directed his administration to do a comprehensive review of our space policy, including our priorities and the future of the program, and the president will have more to say on it next week.”

But another administration official cautioned that the proposal could be broad and open-ended, more in the nature of “a mission statement” rather than a detailed road map and schedule.

Do you get the feeling that this president gets his ideas from late-night HBO listings? I’m not sure, but I think Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys was on last week, and the story of NASA sending a group of “veteran” (i.e. geezer) astronauts into space inspired another flight-suit image in him. Or maybe he thinks that the Iraqi WMD’s were hidden in a really remote place, like the Sea of Tranquility.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am totally in favor of space exploration. I was sad to see the Apollo program come to an end, and I was even more disappointed when the plans for the proposed missions to Mars were cancelled back in the 1970’s. But come on…this sounds like he pulled it out of his, uh, hat. As recently as last month the White House was saying they had no plans for further space exploration. (Okay, I admit that relying on the White House for accurate news is like getting sober political discourse from Weekly World News.) And it also smacks of diversionary tactics. The Iowa caucuses are coming up in a couple of weeks, and that will be nothing but Bush-bashing, so…hey, let’s play Star Trek!

I have a feeling that like a lot of ideas of this Administration, it will get play for a couple of news cycles, then be quickly forgotten. You know, like the big deal they raised a while back over the tall guy with the beard who keeps making grainy videos about “death to America” and all that crap. Yeah, whatsisname. Same thing.