Tonight I heard Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin talk about his new book Mission to Mars. Aldrin made numerous allusions to the fact he was not happy with the current direction of the space program. But tonight he told a story about President Obama even more damning.
On April 15, 2010, President Obama delivered his central speech on space policy at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Aldrin was given a ride on Air Force One to the speech. Aldrin said tonight in front of a packed house in a National Geographic auditorium in Washington D.C. that he presumed he might have a chance to speak with the President about options for space during the flight to Kennedy.
But it didn’t happen. President Obama had nothing to say to the moonwalker and didn’t seem to want to hear anything from Aldrin on the long flight to Florida. So Aldrin sat in the back of Air Force One and never saw Obama – until it landed.
When it landed, Aldrin said he was summoned to the front of the plane. But he found out it was not to talk about space policy. Instead, President Obama wanted Aldrin to emerge from Air Force One next to Obama for a photo op. The moonwalker was to be a mere prop.
I do not believe Aldrin sought to embarrass the President tonight with this account, even if that was the result. Obama’s in-flight snub of Aldrin and subsequent impressment as a prop became a recurring joke throughout tonight’s lecture.
Aldrin’s son even asked in Q &A what he would do if he had 15 seconds to discuss space policy with the next President. Aldrin’s answer alluded to Obama screwing things up.
Throughout the night, Aldrin made other comments sure to make the liberals in the audience squirm, such as complaining about “the unions” fouling up math and science education.
As the second man to walk on the moon, Aldrin rightfully enjoys a place in American (and world) history that few can match. Even his accomplishments on Gemini 12 were historic. He represents a time of unparalleled American greatness, when televisions carried black and white images of American can-do know-how to every corner of the globe. Aldrin, now 83, is a fervent advocate of projecting America deeper into space because he is a fervent believer in America, even if some find him more useful as a prop.