Obama to NASA Chief: Make Muslims 'Feel Good'
As always (or at least recently), I must preface my commentary by noting that I think that the Obama administration is a national catastrophe on almost every possible level. I greatly fear the damage that it will continue to do to the country if it maintains its present foreign and domestic policy courses. Having said that, I have been profoundly annoyed for the past few months by the need to defend its manned spaceflight policy, which is one of the few things that it’s gotten at least partly right. Because I have done so, from a dispassionate and informed analysis of the policy itself (as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction to anything emanating from this White House), I have been accused by the ignorant of being an Obamaphile and worse (if there is such a thing).
This is what I wrote in April, in my ongoing quixotic campaign to persuade conservatives and Republicans that Obama's space policy actually is a huge improvement over the Bush policy:
Many don’t trust President Obama to execute this policy along these lines. Neither do I, necessarily. But I’d rather have good policy poorly executed than poor policy well executed. The execution can always be improved later. Do I believe that Obama really cares as much about human spaceflight as he said in his speech at the Cape? No, and I think that’s a good thing. I think he sees NASA as a problem he inherited from George W. Bush, and in that, he is right for once. He assigned to the problem people who do care about getting humans into space and, like Bush, he now wants to move on to other matters. Really, we should fear the day he gets interested in spaceflight; that will be the day that private enterprise is no longer trusted to conduct it. Let’s hope that day never comes. In the meantime, remember that when government does the right thing, it doesn’t matter whether it’s done for the wrong reason. Whatever the motivations behind it, this is a much more visionary space policy than we’ve ever had before.
The administration hasn’t made it easy for me; I feel as though I and a few other brave souls have had to do the heavy lifting. NASA’s public-relations efforts aren’t good in the best of times, and these are a long way from that. The rollout of the new policy in February was a self-admitted disaster (well, OK, he may not have used that word, but they clearly recognize that it was deficient). And almost half a year later, they still can’t get it right.
Moreover, in the latest news, the president seems to be doing everything possible to prove me correct. As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says:
[Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.