Obama and Manned Spaceflight

If I believe NPR’s David Kestenbaum—and I generally do—then Barack Obama’s views on manned spaceflight have cost him my vote. I recommend listening to the entire story, but the blurb listed on NPR.org is very telling:

Advocates of NASA’s plan to return to the moon are concerned that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he will raid NASA’s budget to fund education. While the issue of space exploration hasn’t gotten much attention this campaign season, it is a topic on which the candidates do differ.

Raiding NASA’s budget to fund education is like sponsoring the US Olympic Team but then not sending them to Beijing this summer. Admittedly, I’m quite biased as someone who works in manned spaceflight, but space science is one of the few endeavors that mankind has left that is, on the whole, quite positive. Sure, there are negatives—one reason NASA will continue to get funding is fear over the Chinese space program, and the International Space Station largely has justified a jobs program to keep Russian rocket scientists from going to work for Iran, North Korea, and China—but that we’ve gotten the world’s nations to push together for this quite lofty goal is impressive. That we won’t let the Chinese be a part is sad, to be sure, but that’s something that talk-with-your-enemies Obama would support, right?

When I posted about voting in Alabama’s primaries last month, I was leaning Obama. Hillary’s desperate tactics in the face of Obamamania have pushed me further in his direction. But just as I did in 2004, I’ll vote with my job, even if that’s “fucking idiotic” to some. Admittedly, part of the reason that I like both Obama and McCain is that they don’t seem to fall into the “you’re stupid because you disagree with me” argument. I’m fairly convinced that either candidate would make a good President; I hope you’ll understand why I’m likely to make the choice to vote with my job.

[I mean, I guess that, now that I’m management, my skills are portable, but … I do kinda like this shit. I mean, I did get one of NASA’s highest honors last year. 😉 ]