“I don’t think he fully understands what traditional America is all about, because he didn’t literally grow up here,” the Apollo 17 commander told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto. “I don’t think that I could convince him why this is important. I don’t know that he wants America to be first. I don’t know that he doesn’t want us to play on a more level playing field. I don’t know that he doesn’t care if Russia or China gets to the Moon and we’re dragging tailbone.”
Asked if he thinks Obama is listening to criticism of declining funding for space exploration, Cernan replied, “No, I don’t. I don’t think he understands what America and what the traditions have been, and what being the leader of the free world has meant to the people of this country. It goes downhill. We are what we are today and we have unique and special things that other countries don’t have because of what we have been for the last 230-some odd years.”
He added: “We could give billions of dollars away to rescue a car company and we never get half of it back, but we can’t find a little money here and there to recreate the technology that [is needed] to challenge the future.”
Cernan also said he has “been offered an opportunity to be part of” the GOP convention in Tampa.
“I may yet be,” he said, adding that “if I’ve got any credibility, I’m willing to lay it on the line.”
“I’m not running for anything,” he said. “If I can have some influence on the future of this country and where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there, notwithstanding our financial problems today, then I’m going to speak my case.”
Refreshing and honest words from a man who is obviously pained to see what has become of NASA.
I for one would love to see him get some prominence at the Republican convention.
He's speaking words many involved at NASA cannot speak.
Hats off to the man.
And in related news, it seems that NASA Administrator (and Obama appointee) Charles Bolden may be on the verge of making some intriguing changes at a number of NASA Centers if these rumors are true:
Keith's note: Multiple sources report that NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is planning to fire/reassign Ames Center Director Pete Worden and two other center directors as well.
Keith's update: Sources report that Bolden has also discussed replacing both GRC (Ray Lugo) and JSC (Mike Coats) center directors even though neither have done anything to warrant replacement. Reassigning Woodrow Whitlow from NASA HQ has also been discussed. However, Bolden's real focus is on going after Pete Worden - and these other replacements and/or chess moves are being discussed as window dressing to obscure that focus.
This is a good time to try and pull something like this off: the long Labor Day weekend is approaching, most of Congress is out of town and/or distracted by the upcoming conventions, the presidential election, and, in many cases, their own re-elections.
As is this recent piece about Paul Ryan's views on NASA's future:
In an interview with WPTV-TV NewsChannel 5 in Florida, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan offered a peek at how a prospective Romney administration would approach NASA’s space program
“Ryan, who voted against the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts, said he believed in a ‘robust space program.’
“He said the space agency, which has shed thousands of jobs after the retirement of the space shuttle and the cancelation of its Constellation program, was an ‘invaluable asset to our national security.’
"’President Obama has advanced what we think are devastating and irresponsible cuts to defense programs. We want to restore that because we believe in peace through strength. We believe in scientific research. We obviously believe that a robust space program is in the vital national security interests of America,’ he said. ‘Mitt Romney has committed to restoring our national defense which we see as a national security issue including our space programs.’
“Ryan declined to say which role, if any, commercial space companies such as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, would have under a Romney-Ryan administration.”
Aside from the two votes mentioned and a proposed budget that would have cut funding for a science account that includes most NASA spending, there has been little sense of how Ryan views the United States space program. That Ryan suggests that NASA is a crucial part of American national security shines a little more light onto what the space program might be like under a Romney administration. It all depends, however, on how a President Romney defines “national security.”
I'm willing to bet Romney defines "national security" a little differently than the current occupiers of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.