Sadly, the President has reduced spending for NASA, while boosting spending for almost everything else in the federal government. The result is that facilities like Michoud in New Orleans East are in danger of closing, resulting in the loss of thousands of high paying jobs. Instead of reaching for the stars, the President wants NASA to become more focused on earthbound challenges like the politically charged issue of global warming. This is a ludicrous departure for the once proud agency, which is now led by staunch Obama supporter Charles Bolden.
As chief NASA administrator, Bolden has cancelled the Constellation program and eliminated plans to return to the moon. In making this controversial move, Bolden also cancelled the production of new rockets and spaceships that were involved in the Constellation program.
The leader of NASA should be focused on expanding our space mission and returning the agency to its glory days. Instead, he is assisting the state department in promoting diplomacy in the Islamic world. Incredibly, Bolden appeared on the Al Jazeera television network recently to claim that expanding international relations was among his top missions. He said that the President told him his foremost mission was to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering.”
When did it become the NASA administrator’s top job to make the Muslim world feel good? In the past, NASA administrators were busy running their agencies, but not Mr. Bolden. He is our ambassador to the Muslim world, speaking for President Obama. Bolden said he was reaching out to the Islamic countries on the one year anniversary of Obama’s address to Muslim nations in Cairo, Egypt. In the interview, Bolden sounded more like a politician or a diplomat than a NASA administrator.
The whole episode paints another disturbing picture of an administration with a curious and frightening agenda. Bolden should be focused on how this country will explore space in a time of tight budgets and an international recession. Instead, Bolden, under the direction of Obama, is playing politics in the Middle East.
This initiative will not advance space travel because none of these Muslim nations have a legitimate space program and none of them have ever sent men or women into space. This is just another example of a President trying to curry favor with the Muslim world at the expense of our space program.
Bolden claims that the United States needs international help to travel beyond low-Earth orbit. So, the country that designed the fabulously successful Apollo program and won the space race in the 1960’s is now unable to leave low orbit without the assistance of the Muslim world? It is a sad commentary on the condition of NASA and the plight of the United States of America.--
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected]