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Man on the Moon – Or Not

April 19, 2010

This president continues to amaze with every utterance, and this week was no exception. And as much as his spin machine tries to clean up after him, the words will often far outlast the spin cycle.

The classic quote for the week, at a nuclear arms summit meeting, was this:  “Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” No matter how much his supporters try to claim this is a nuanced view that we conservatives are taking out of context, the fact is this:  When someone starts a sentence with “whether we like it or not,” they almost always are implicitly saying that they don’t like it, and they expect you not to like it either. And this view is hardly unprecedented in the annals of recent liberal leadership in our country. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright (and by extension her boss Bill Clinton) was uncomfortable to say the least with America ’s sole-superpower status in the wake of the Soviet empire’s collapse, and Albright made no bones about saying so. Therefore, what Obama’s statement reveals is merely another aspect of his desire to cut America down to size, which in turn fits with the “blame America first” template the liberals have followed for decades.

Here’s the other quote of the week:  "1961 was the year of my birth, the year Kennedy made his announcement. For me the space program captured what is an essential part to be an American," Obama said. Sounds like the typical rhetorical flourishes of a politician, right? Especially one for whom everything centers around him (imagine that, Kennedy made this momentous announcement during the year I was born). There’s just one problem. This statement came on the heels of Obama’s plan to gut NASA’s follow-on shuttle program and turn the agency into, in essence, a fancy global-warming tracker. After hearing the stinging criticism of a genuine space hero, first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, and some of Armstrong’s compatriots in space, Obama did a sudden about-face. What’s noteworthy about this is that Armstrong, for all of his fame as the first moonwalker, is rarely outspoken about much of anything. The president must really have struck a nerve with his original position. But then again, it’s all part of the cut-America-down-to-size template.

But Obama was not satisfied with merely repairing his relationship with NASA and the space program. He couldn’t resist the opportunity to glorify himself yet again in describing what his sudden benevolence toward NASA will mean for the future of space travel:  "We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history," he said. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it." All possible, of course, because of Barack the Magnificent.

Don’t bet anything, despite what he says now, that Obama will do any more than a grudging minimum to keep the shuttle program or whatever other space program is envisioned afloat.

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