Sunday, January 31, 2010
Political Impact: "Just Lost the Geek Vote"
Blogger News Network writer Nancy Reyes provides some political analysis of Monday's expected presidential decision announcement as to a change in the direction of NASA away from the planned 2020 return to the Moon in the piece, "We Just Lost the Geek Vote."
What political impact the high-level presidential decision may have long-term for the president in 2010 mid-term elections and the presidential election of 2012 is yet to be seen, just as the president's formal budget. But Congressional Democrats in Florida [vid] are going to be especially hard pressed in the days ahead with thousands of rocket engineers expected to be sidelined from the state's I-4 economy without a new space agency human launch vehicle being built.
Members of the Congress from Florida, Alabama, Texas will be sounding alarm bells in the coming week on Capitol Hill as Space Shuttle Endeavour takes to a dark morning sky orbit on Super Bowl Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center, if all goes as now planned.
The shuttle is being set upon on the fifth of the final five flights in a program with a nearly 30-year flight history, to be retired prior to year end. The launch and mission will draw some national news attention with the addition of the ISS Cupola [vid] throughout the week. The nation's space program may well be among the pre-game conversation by hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a few million, on February 7th as the 'Bud guys' and the 'keyboard geeks' gather around the television to watch the pig skin rotate and later at post-game water coolers.
The growing longer-term political questions on Capitol Hill will be: 1] 'does the space program have much political impact these days?' 2] 'How will Americans react when some measure of national security realization sets-in that the Chinese and Russians have the only rides for human space access in 2011 -- and there is no space shuttle or Ares replacement?' 3] 'Will Internet-rocketeers heroically save the day with commercial space launches and put Americans back into orbit prior to the 2012 election?' That is when the so-called 'Geek Vote' will really matter strategically -- in several states.