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Income tax day, so Obama flees Washington to boldly talk NASA space reform in Florida (also fundraise)

April 15, 2010 |  2:12 am

Planet Earth as seen beyond the Hubble space telescope

To distract everyone's attention from what April 15 really means to most Americans -- especially those Tea Party protesters advancing on TV cameras in the nation's Capitol as you read this -- President Obama will leave Washington today and fly off to Florida to attempt to announce some kind of new space program.

Or down-scaled space program re-packaged in real good rhetoric.

As usual with No. 44, it will involve extra billions of dollars (the early estimate is six, but these things have a way of changing in an upwards direction, as Washington would put it).

Last month in one of this galaxy's most over-written, under-thought news releases in planetary history, here's how the White House described today's events:

The President’s ambitious new strategy pushes the frontiers of innovation to set NASA on a more dynamic, flexible and sustainable trajectory that can propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery.

The President and the NASA Administrator both believe that we have to be forward thinking and aggressive in our pursuit of new technologies to take us beyond low-Earth orbit. The President’s plan does this.

A foundational element of this new strategy is to invest in the development of a targeted set of inter-related technologies and capabilities that can help us travel from the Earth’s cradle to our nearby Solar System neighborhood in a more effective and affordable way.   

OK, got it? See anything there? Anything at all?

No, neither do a lot of people, including previous generations of.... grumbling astronauts. They don't see how canceling the Bush-planned return to the Moon, retiring the space shuttles after three more flights, renting room on Russian rockets and spending tons on some ill-defined "targeted set of inter-related technologies and capabilities" isn't, in effect, basically giving up on U.S. space exploration in every way but words. Something hard to imagine fellow....


...Democrat John F. Kennedy trying to pull. Now no American president, not even one from Chicago's South Side where Wrigleyville is several light years distant, can be anything but in apparent favor of adventurous exploration. The frontier spirit. Moving West. All that.

So, the specific details provided by the Real Good Talker will be interesting. No doubt he'll mention new jobs for Florida. Those words have worked well turning the economy around the last 14 months or so.

He won't portray said Sunshine state jobs as a reward for voting for his presidential ticket in 2008.

Nor will Obama have time to tell Houston it has a problem because Texas not only was George Bush's home state but went for Hillary Clinton in that year's Democratic primaries (51-47) and, to rub it in, went for Republican John McCain even more so in the general election (55-44). And if you don't see that connection, then you ain't from any side of Chicago.

The trick for Obama, as it was in scrapping Bush's Eastern European missile shield last year, will be to make less look like more. Not less, but smarter. Targeted. Stuff like that. Because given what this guy and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have already spent or obligated from the nation's treasury for years beyond their tenures, there's not a whole lot of loose change left to waste on manned rocket shows.

And Obama and fellow Democrats can't talk about new revenues (shhh, taxes) until after the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

Then after the Kennedy Space Center show today, Obama moves on for a real reason for his Florida trip, an evening in Miami collecting about $2.5 million for the Democratic National Committee at fundraising events where more is always far better than less.

Related items:

Red flag for sinking Obama: Americans now prefer Hillary Clinton

Finally, a cure for Congress' awful approval ratings: Leave town!

How sweet is this? Congress may have accidentally excluded itself from any healthcare coverage

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: IMAX / Hubble3D; NASA (Earth seen from Apollo 8 moon mission).