With the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity last week, one thing has become very apparent – NASA can do almost anything. Therefore it is a shame that President Barack Obama has decided to not support the men and women of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There are many Obamanauts that wish this was untrue – but Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal would decimate NASA’s planetary missions and this proves the president is more of an Obama-not.
A letter issued by the White House shortly after Curiosity’s safe landing on Mars, glosses over the inconvenient Truth that within Obama’s 2013 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal – NASA’s planetary missions would be slashed by 20 percent – this would mean no new missions to the Red Planet for some time and uncertainty as to what level of support current missions would receive.
Enter the apologists and Obama supporters who try to reinvent history. Those who would parse words, revisit what the true meaning of “is” is and those willing to deny that the FY 2013 Budget Proposal was even issued. Those that support space exploration efforts refuse to “move on” and ignore the president’s actions. A review of the president’s letter points to an oblivious administration or one that believes the nation has no long term memory. The words that are most troublesome in the president’s letter have been placed in bold.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2012
Statement by the President on Curiosity Landing on Mars
Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.
The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.
Tonight’s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best – push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.
I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.
Thanks to the president – the “longest of odds” for future JPL missions will be far, far longer. The president had the eye-watering nerve to mention investing “wisely” – if the president believes we should “invest wisely” a mention that appears to suggest support for JPL and organizations like it – then why did he submit a budget that guts JPL’s planetary budget? It makes one wonder if the president even knows what in his own budget requests.
How could Obama not support NASA and JPL? Sadly, the answer appears to lie in party politics.
The Democratic Party has long been accused of pandering to those who achieve less – or those that choose to not achieve at all. The argument goes that this helps guarantee Democrats have a voter base dependent on the party and the entitlements it doles out. Following this line of thought what has been done to NASA makes perfect sense.
You need funds to fuel entitlement programs for those that either can’t or won’t do for themselves – where do you get the funds needed to support these programs? Simple, you take them from the programs of groups who not only accomplish things on their own – they accomplish things that stun the world and thus serve as an example for the world. These organizations are not filled with men and women who are looking for a hand out.
In Obama’s defense one could say the president was forced to draft his FY 2013 Budget Proposal in the worst economy since the Great Depression. However, a little honesty goes a long way and owning your decisions carries a lot of weight. It is in this regard that the president’s statement regarding Curiosity successful landing – fails the smell test. As bad as it sounds it would have been preferable if the president stated in his letter he wished he could support NASA more but the economic reality prevented him from doing so.
He didn’t do that, however, and comments that should have been left out of his congratulation letter – weren’t omitted. This makes his congratulations hollow and his letter’s sentiment insulting for those aware of the contents of the FY 2013 Budget Proposal.
Bobak Ferdowsi, a flight engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory became an overnight sensation when his patriotic stars and stripes haircut inspired the nation and his team’s accomplishments inspired the world. No surprise there. NASA’s habit of daring and accomplishing mighty things has made the agency a beacon of light – one which Obama seems determined to dim.
The president’s lack of support of JPL points out another nagging inconvenient truth and that is he has a problem keeping his campaign promises. The president promised to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He failed. He promised to cut the deficit by half – he doubled it – failing again. He promised to support NASA and instead submitted a proposal that would severely impact NASA’s ability to conduct and support future planetary missions – failing for a third time. Three strikes – you’re out. NASA has showed us yet again that the agency deserves strong support, something that Obama is unwilling to provide. It’s time NASA was given a leader that supports the men and women of NASA, a leader that provides the agency the support it deserves.
Recent CNN article detailing Mars exploration history and current planetary mission woes: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/11/tech/innovation/mars-exploration-history/index.html?hpt=hp_c2