Newt Gingrich: The Man And The Moon

[cartoon: Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner]
I meant to post about this gem last week,
Newt Gingrich wants to colonize the moon.

He loves to talk space exploration and a campaign stop on Florida’s space coast provided the perfect opportunity.

“By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” Gingrich said, drawing applause from the crowd. “I will, as president, encourage the introduction of the northwest ordinance for space to put a marker down that we want Americans to think boldly about the future and we want Americans to go out and study hard and work hard and together, we’re going to unleash the American people to build the country we love.”

It’s just the kind of Gingrich big-think for which he has been ridiculed by others in the GOP field, including Mitt Romney. But Wednesday’s speech — which Gingrich himself called “grandiose” — could actually resonate politically in Florida, where space exploration is good politics 14 miles away from Cape Canaveral. The space coast, home to many NASA employees, has been struggling lately as the space agency launched its last shuttle in July, and President Barack Obama canceled the lunar landing program in 2010.

But Gingrich wants to bring it all back, and more.

In his remarks, Gingrich dismissed the notion that his ideas are over the top, pointing to previous presidents and inventors who fueled changes in technology.

“I was attacked the other night
[at the CNN debate in South Carolina] for being grandiose,” he said. “I would just want you to note: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose.”

He added, “Does that mean I’m visionary? You betcha.”
My emphasis.

Right Newt. You want to colonize the moon.

Bold? Yes.

Enterprising? Sure.

Batsh*t insane? Absolutely.

And where, pray tell us Newt, are you proposing to raise the capital for such a "grandiose" idea as the colonization of an extra-terrestrial body? Hmm?

Here is what I think is the most humorous aspect of this moon-battery debate: Gingrich, with his talk of seemingly endless spending for a project like this, sounds like a Democrat -- especially when you take what he said and compare it to Mitt Romney's ideas:
Speaking to about 150 people at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Romney told the crowd, "It's time to have a mission for the space program of the United States of America." He declined to offer more specifics, but said he would not pander in order to achieve that goal.

"In the politics of the past, to get your vote ... I'd come here and promise hundreds of billions of dollars," Romney said. "Or I'd lay out what my mission is: here's what we're going to accomplish. I'm not going to do that. I know that's something that's very attractive, very popular, but it's simply the wrong thing to do. It's not the way that the best decisions are made."

Romney said his background in the private sector precluded him from blindly promising money to the space program, as had been done in the past. "Politicians love the idea of coming in and saying what they're going to do without having studied it, without having carried out the analysis, and gotten the data, done the hard work," he said.

Romney said he would team up with the military and leading astrophysicists to determine NASA's future. Earlier in the day, his campaign released a list of leaders in the space community endorsing Romney, which included Bob Crippen, pilot of the first shuttle mission, and Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator who staunchly opposed the end of the shuttle program.
So, while Romney isn't offering any real specifics here, he sounds much more pragmatic than Newt Gingrich. Gingrich did exactly what Romney said he wouldn't do; promise hundreds of billions of dollars to get Florida voters to support him.

Because that's what it would cost to colonize the moon.

How'd that work out for you Newt?