Talking Points Memo reports on Newt Gingrich’s efforts to woo voters in Florida:
Newt Gingrich, courting voters in Florida’s NASA-heavy “Space Coast,” pledged to build an American lunar colony within eight years if elected president.
“By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” he said. According to Gingrich, the base would be used for “science, tourism, and manufacturing” and create a “robust industry” that would grow “precisely on the model of the airlines in the 1930s.”
And we now have a new policy difference between Mitt Romney and Gingrich to discuss: for or against taxpayer dollars spent on colonizing the moon?
“I’m not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that,” Romney said in an Iowa debate last month.
Dave Weigel at Slate declares the plan “Not actually crazy” and notes that Gingrich has long pursued a lunar picnic on the taxpayer’s dime:
The idea is older than Miller himself. Gingrich proposed it in his 1984 futurist manifesto Window of Opportunity, published during his third term in the House. In a classic Gingrichian touch, the moon colony’s statehood would be made possible by a “Northwest Ordinance for Space.” His “space sex” theorizing and space mirror mathematics got more attention, but the moon idea; that was the big one.
This is certainly an issue on which thoughtful people can differ. Being a Tea Partier and conservative, and having read a few of Thomas Sowell’s books on economics last year, and since Wallace and Gromit made it to the moon without the help of some British space dole, I tend to see moon colonization proceeding most effectively if pursued through the free market. When entrepreneurs and inventors can make it cost-effective and profitable to establish a colony then maybe we’ll see people living on the moon.
But perhaps I’m wrong about this. Would any Newt-supporters or intergalactic pork advocates care to make the case for a government initiative to colonize the moon and make it a new state?