Much hay has been of late of former speaker Newt Gingrich's recent pronouncement that the US ought to get back into the space game in a big way, specifically to put a colony on the Moon within a decade. Some in the media
find it easy to dismiss such grandiose ideas as crass pandering to the space industry in Florida, an industry which is facing serious retrenchment following the retirement of the shuttle program. But unlike Lawrence Krauss, a journalist at Slate and author of the above-cited article, I find such plans difficult to dismiss out of hand. The most damming observation is that other politicians have made space proposals in the past and yet failed to fund them. Such was the case with the Vision for Space Exploration articulated by George Bush Jr., which although grand in scope, ultimately lacked Congressional backing necessary to see it fully executed.
A better question is why not set ambitious national goals? Why not establish a clear destination for NASA and the private sector in space? There will always be a tug-of-war between the manned and unmanned portions of our space program, but a realistic view is that both are necessary components of the US continued commitment to exploration and advancement. I must admit I would be willing to support almost any candidate who adopts and remains committed to sensible space policy. I can respect people who vote for their self-interest, even when that cuts against the party for which they normally vote. Indeed, our country would look a lot different if more people voted with their economic self-interest rather than with hot-button issues of limited practical importance.