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Small thinkers

Small thinkers

Now they tell us.

Jeffrey Goldberg, Let the Shuttle’s Demise Awaken Gingrich’s Space Dreams (h/t Byron York):

The morning of April 17, on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport: The Delta (DAL) shuttle to LaGuardia appeared to be No. 287 in line for takeoff. The plane was full, mainly with purposeful-looking middle-aged men in quality suits, fully absorbed in whatever it is that absorbs them.

Suddenly, a commotion: All at once, the passengers contorted themselves to get a view out of the starboard windows.  And there it was. The actual shuttle, the space shuttle Discovery, piggybacking a ride atop a Boeing 747, on the way to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, where it would be retired. A ripple of excitement — boyish, unvarnished excitement — moved through the cabin….

Only then did the obvious thought cross my mind: Newt is right.

This isn’t a thought that has often crossed my mind, especially over the past several months, but on the matter of space exploration and the role it has played in teaching Americans that they are capable of performing exceptional acts of creativity and bravery, Newt Gingrich is exactly right.

So I called him and told him so. He is, from what I’m told, still busy running for president. But he seemed happy to talk about space and the terrible mistake the Obama administration made by canceling the Constellation program, which was meant to get Americans back to the moon.

Gingrich was particularly keen to talk about his Republican rivals, who had savaged him during a debate in Florida for proposing that the U.S. — mainly with private funding –establish a colony on the moon.

This is what Mitt Romney said at the time: “If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say,‘You’re fired.’ The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it’s not a good idea.”

The small-minded Rick Santorum piled on, saying, “Let’s just be honest, we run a $1.2 trillion deficit right now … and to go out there and promise new programs and big ideas, that’s a great thing to maybe get votes, but it’s not a responsible thing.” …

The famous astronaut Bob Dylan once wrote what may become NASA’s epitaph: “He not busy being born is busy dying.” …

I told Gingrich about the reaction of a plane full of middle-aged professionals to the sight of the space shuttle over Washington, and asked him what he thought it meant.

“Everyone dreams,” he said. “It’s all about the dream. It’s an individual dream, but it’s a national dream as well. And it’s the species reaching beyond itself.”

Of course, it wasn’t just other candidates who mocked the idea of continued space exploration and used it against Newt:



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I hope that Newt will have a continuing role in churning ideas in America, regardless of his role in government.

I dunno if Mittens will be big enough to include him in a cabinet.

Goldberg is all wet!

Romney is right and getting our house in order needs to be priority one.

I will fault both, the Bush AND current administration with regard to the retirement of the space shuttles before a replacement was ready to go on line.

This is pure politics of the worst order…

    Browndog in reply to GrumpyOne. | April 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Romney is right and getting our house in order needs to be priority one.

    Indeed, Grumpy!

    I mean, who do we think we are?!?

    This House of ours is a mess! TEAR IT DOWN!

    Only then can we rebuild it…correctly.

    Using NASA to advance the human endeavor in space just shows what an arrogant people we really are.

    Besides, muslims don’t have their own space shuttle, and it makes them feel bad.

    Time for NASA to change their mission-

    Because to truly get our house in order, we must first give hope</b< to those that may feel inadequate in scientific achievement…..and keep a keen eye on ice.

      GrumpyOne in reply to Browndog. | April 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      “This House of ours is a mess! TEAR IT DOWN!”

      If I were to find myself on the ignaugural podium on Jan 20, 2013, I would submit to Congress a sunset bill for every activity of the government to take effect within two years of it’s signing into law.

      From there every activity would have to justify its need to reinstated based on the public need. No more commissions, committees, or other delaying tactics to kick the badly dented can down the street.

      To do so would result in at least a one third of the total budget in savings.

      Well If Ron Paul were to be on that podium, maybe something similar but sadly I cannot support too much of what else Paul stands for…

    Tamminator in reply to GrumpyOne. | April 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    God, you really are grumpy.
    And short sighted.

      GrumpyOne in reply to Tamminator. | April 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Grumpy indeed. Seventy-two years of listening to the same crap does tire one somewhat.

      I just yearn for a “doer” rather than a “talker.” I don’t want my “doer” to be a career politician, lawyer or DC insider.

      Seems like a rational enough dream to me…

Repugnant liar, tax dollar grabbing, corrupt Romney is not yet the nominee – God forbid he ever will be.

    quiznilo in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’m about to head out to my local polling place to vote for Newt at the moment.

      persecutor in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Cast mine at 10:30. I was only the sixth voter in my ED and the polls had been open since 5:00.
      Got a robo call from Mittens last night, and his wife about forty five minutes ago.
      Sorry kids, I voted for Newt!

      hrh40 in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      I voted Newt, too, here in CT. I was #57 around noon. We have two polling stations in town.

        Sophie in reply to hrh40. | April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

        I voted at 4:30 p.m. in CT. My poll worker said we were the 19th and 20th voters, respectively, since 6 a.m. in a town of 19,000. There were no “Vote Here” signs anywhere, no information in local papers or local TV. Almost as if the Republican Party doesn’t want primary voters to know it is primary day. Odd.

          delicountessa in reply to Sophie. | April 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

          Lawdy, that sounds like our GOP (WV). They are the laziest, non-fighting force I’ve ever seen. They could win if they made even the slightest effort. But, that’s too much to ask, obviously.

      Cheerful in Marin in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you, today’s voters, for your support of Newt!! My turn is in June -we’ll keep this going to Tampa.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Well start praying to God because Romney is the nominee. The fact that Gingrich and Paul are still in this race is more a function of their enormous egos.

    And I voted for Newt today. Just because I could. But I’m under no illusions, I know the race between Obama and Romney has already begun.

      persecutor in reply to PhillyGuy. | April 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      My vote is a shot across his bow to remind him that he has to earn my vote!

      Uncle Samuel in reply to PhillyGuy. | April 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      NOT ego – principle – what don’t you understand about Romney’s character, lies, record? Didn’t you research him? Or do you just happen to like ruthless ambitious greedy radical liberal jerks?

        PhillyGuy in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        He owes people significant money. This stopped being about principle when Newt started piling up IOUs to Republican vendors. Now it’s about his own ego. Stiffing people because you have “principled” values you want to share with voters who aren’t listening is not the stuff that leaders are made from.

I’d take Newt over Mitt any day.

delicountessa | April 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I liked the Moon Colony idea. Of course, I also like High-Speed Rail even though it’s less viable than the Moon Colony as far as a fiscal return is concerned. However, I think part of what really ticked me off at the responses was that Newt’s idea was to make it an award system using only a fraction of what NASA costs us even now but so intent were the mockers and haters on knocking Newt out of the race, they glossed over that part. My Ron Paul supporting husband loved Newt’s idea.
The Chinese weren’t mocking. They were probably praying that Newt would never get the nomination because all the others are so short-sighted they can’t see the possibilities and benefits that out-weigh the potential cost.
What I like about Newt is that he sees all of the little pieces of the big picture and how they all fit together. Does that mean his assumptions are always right? No, his record shows that he has made a few rather large errors in judgement but he also has done as much for conservatism as Ronald Reagan did before him.
Here’s praying that he has a strong showing tonight and picks up a few contests.

    PhillyGuy in reply to delicountessa. | April 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    You liked the Moon Colony idea? I thought it was the beginning of the end for Newt. A very bizarre moment for him. He was much better when he talked about lowering the price of gas.

      quiznilo in reply to PhillyGuy. | April 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      That’s my only gripe about Newt, he is wed to the notion of government solutions. Government becoming lean and efficient, government involved in space exploration.

      Government was the only institution with the resources to do what they did with NASA in the 50’s and 60’s, but the world has changed, and going forward, I believe private enterprise (unrestrained by onerous government regulations) is best equipped to pursue economic development of space.

        Browndog in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

        I believe private enterprise (unrestrained by onerous government regulations)

        Good one.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        YOU did not pay attention in the debates – Newt was talking about private PRIVATE funding, prizes for achievement of concrete goals, co-opting with business, rather than federal bureaucracy fat-a$$es sitting around scratching their privates and publishing studies.

        Newt has the ideas.

        Romney has money, a bunch of corrupt political endorsement and media backing – because he’s a crooked liberal politician and big money businessman.

        delicountessa in reply to quiznilo. | April 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

        Quiznilo, I understand you beef and I somewhat agree. I am a libertarian at heart but my mind says “we aren’t there yet.” That’s why I am for Newt. I cannot bring myself to vote for Romney because he’s more of the same, old, status quo and I can’t vote for Paul (unless he is the last not-Romney standing) because I believe he is too much of an ideologue. Somewhere in between is where we need to be right now. I wanted Palin or DeMint. When they both chose not to run, Newt had the best ideas of the ones who threw their hats into the ring, IMO and I still think so. His plan to use the royalties from oil to pay down the deficit, for example, is a good idea but I was disappointed at first because I would have rather that he turn the land back over to the people in the states they took it from. None are perfect but he is the best of the imperfect choices.

Oh, now they come out of the woodwork and say “Newt was right??”

Of course he was right, and anyone who has ignored what he has been saying will later regret it.

My husband and I watched the 60 minutes episode recently that talked to people who no longer have jobs at NASA. It was heartbreaking to see these extremely bright and talented individuals who have to take work that is well beaneath their talents just to survive. Some still don’t have work. Space exploration is what made America great. A huge chunk of this nation died when the government killed the NASA program.

    Browndog in reply to Scorpio51. | April 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I think some people get the impression that you can just stop doing it for a while, then come back to it later–like “when our house is in order”.

    But, you can’t. That knowledge, legacy knowledge, will be lost forever.

This won’t be the last time those words “Newt is right” are spoken.

    Cheerful in Marin in reply to Terri. | April 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Terri – thank you for all your terrific links to Newt updates. Newt know-how and vision is what true leadership is all about. Let’s stay the course!!

” A ripple of excitement — boyish, unvarnished excitement — moved through the cabin….”

This sentence drew my mind back to many years ago when Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 space capsule was on exhibit in my city.

It was only a 15 minute sub-orbital flight, but the excitement and enthusiasm in the room was almost overwhelming as we all marveled at this first step into space.

In those days, we didn’t “think small”

DINORightMarie | April 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

So, what is National Review trying to say? That they were wrong? If they could put that genie back in the bottle……

Nah. They just want to make nice, now that they got their guy the presumptive nomination, taking out any and all contenders with their buckets of ink.

NRO – No-longer Relevant Okoles (Sarah Palin, thank you for using that word!! 😉 )

Goldberg and Gingrich are sort of the kind of wet noodles that deserve each other… both doddering off into a testosteronless age without meaning or muscle. Bye, bye boys. Too bad you were both faux conservatives and fellow travelers.

DINORightMarie | April 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

OT but related – anyone have any idea if Newt has a chance in any of today’s primaries?

Seems a lot here are voting Newt, but this is a bit of a captive audience….. Praying and hoping there is!!

Restarting NASA is one thing, but I’ve never had it explained to my satisfaction why Apollo 18, 19, and 20 were cancelled, why we never established any kind of station on the moon, and why we didn’t immediately begin a serious effort towards manned Mars missions back then. We can blame all that on Nixon.

delicountessa | April 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Oh my gosh, did you guys see/hear this? The GOP Chair is calling and telling everyone that all the candidates have dropped out except Romney!

    Cheerful in Marin in reply to delicountessa. | April 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for the link, delicountessa. The GOPe is shameless and pathetic. I vow to not donate a penny to these clowns ever again. Go Newt!!