While working on the Presidential trail in Florida, I had a very experienced and successful political consultant, someone who has won a few more elections than the rest of us, literally start to laugh when I explained the need to get our Space message out so that we could secure support on the Space coast. His comment went something along the lines of the last time the Space advocates mattered was in 1960. Another with decades of experience and who helped elect two Presidents chimed in and added this–the Space advocacy community is a joke.
They are right. And it’s our own fault.
We Space advocates seem to have more fun fighting each other, VSE, NASA or NASA’s chief rather than putting up a unified front fighting for our Space program in front of Congress and the President. Though we got VSE, now so-called “Space Advocates” are not happy about how Mike Griffin is implementing it, so why not kill it by criticizing VSE to death? We don’t need people working against the Space program; we do a quite sufficient job of that ourselves. Opponents of Space just sit back and enjoy the show. People, we make the Democrats look functional.
And worse, the melange of Space advocacy groups that is the “pro-Space” community have zero political impact. Do any of us doubt one bit that Kay Bailey-Hutchison or Barbara Mikulsky care one bit what our acronym-laden support groups think? No–they have little money and have not turned one election since…well, 1960. There are too many to have a real impact and that needs to change.
Here’s a bold proposal–all voices do not matter. We need to stay on message about supporting Orion, Constellation, and returning to the Moon. Those veering off-message should get a scarlet letter and be turned-out. Let’s try that for awhile and see how it works. It can’t be any worse than what we have now. After all, don’t the words of Abraham Lincoln apply to Space advocacy, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”? And we are so divided now that there is no house.
Perhaps it’s too late. After all, Obama is going to kill our manned program and Space people are talking about things that don’t matter. Why? And why have we let them get away with their distractions?