The Plank

Space Oddity

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Who says John McCain can't make a consistent case
against Barack Obama and just tosses random aspersions based on the news of the
day? Yesterday, the McCain campaign continued its longstanding efforts to frame Obama as inexperienced, a
flip flopper, unpatriotic, a German national, unsupportive of the troops
insufficiently committed to manned space exploration:

Fifty years ago today, President Eisenhower signed the bill that launched the United States on the magnificent journey to space
discovery and exploration. ...Under current plans, the United States will
retire the space shuttle in 2010 after its final mission to the international
space station, and thus lose the capability to send on our own, an American to
space. While my opponent seems content to retreating from American exploration
of Space for a decade, I am not. As President, I will act to make ensure our
astronauts will continue to explore space, and not just by hitching a ride with
someone else... A country that sent a man to the moon should expect no less.

A few quick thoughts:

1) Revitalizing the space program was one of the planks of the old 2000
McCainiac "National Greatness Conservatism" pioneered by David Brooks and Bill Kristol. The idea (loosely) was to find ambitious American projects to undertake--even Brooks and Kristol confessed that what those projects might be was a secondary concern. This particular political enthusiasm dried up thanks to the reappearance of large deficits and the calamity of Iraq (the one great "project" conservatives embraced), but the McCain camp is evidently trying to uncork it again.

2) Where will the money come from? Who cares! In a perverse
way, the wildly irreconcilable nature of McCain's budgetary pledges has
freed him to promise anything he wants. Offshore drilling in the Sea of Serenity! War with Mars!

3) Seriously guys: Get a copy editor. You're a national presidential campaign. And someone at McCain HQ really needs to post a sign that says,
"No press release from this office should ever begin with a reference to President Eisenhower."

--Christopher Orr

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