Ed Driscoll

JFK And The Space Program, Then And Now

On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy spoke at Rice University in Houston about NASA and the nation’s space effort. At the time, only four Americans had actually been in space, in flights that had lasted a combined total of about ten and half hours:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man’s history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this [football] field.

On July 27, 2004, Mary Beth Cahill, the other JFK’s campaign manager spoke to Fox News’ Brit Hume about NASA:

Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill claims ‘dirty tricks’ by NASA after it released ‘surprise’ photographs showing the Dem presidential hopeful dressed in a space suit crawling through a rocket hatch.

Cahill, asked by Fox News whether it was a dirty trick, said: ‘Well, what do you think?’ No photos were supposed to be taken, she said.

Begin Transcript:

HUME: I must ask you about this photograph that suddenly turned up and fell in our laps last night nobody thought it was come. nobody had reported on the event which led to-t but there he was, the senator, on all fours in this very peculiar outfit, which i guess nasa had given him. how did that come about?

CAHILL: well, yesterday senator John Glenn, obviously he was an astronaut in his previous life sexrvings senator carr took a tour of a bio facility at nasa. it was just the two of them, and the nasa staff, and all of a sudden this is a leaked photo.

HUME: it was leaked?

CAHILL: yes.

HUME: it was made by nasa, right?

CAHILL: yes, it was.

HUME: so the campaign had no idea there would be any photographs.

CAHILL: none.

HUME: when it was agreed he would put on his th costume.

CAHILL: there was no press there. there was — nothing. all of the sudden these photographs are out.

HUME: do you smell a dirty trick here?

CAHILL: well, what do you think?

HUME: that NASA is not a particularly political organization.

CAHILL: this was a pledge i want tour, obviously that, senator glenn and senator kerry were taking at cape canaveral, and all of the sudden these photographs appeared, and, you know, take it as you may.

From “We choose to go to the moon” to NASA is trying deliberately to screw Senator Kerry. What on earth (or any planet) has happened to the Democrats?

Update: More here, including an existentially tacky “he said/she said argument” between Cape Kennedy and Camp Kerry.

Another Update: Captain Ed writes:

The Left likes to talk about how paranoid Nixon was, but these days Nixon almost seems like Pollyanna compared to the Democrats. According to Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry is so stupid that he doesn’t realize that when someone points a camera at him and asks him to smile, he doesn’t know they’re taking a photograph, even when the flash goes off, and even when he’s asked to pose with three other Democratic politicians. Is that what Cahill wants us to believe?

Or, perhaps, it’s more likely that John Kerry and his campaign continue to blame his own missteps on others. He didn’t fall, that son-of-a-bitch pushed him. They weren’t his medals, they were Some Other Guy’s, and besides they were ribbons, which mean the same thing as medals, except when they don’t. He didn’t vote for war, Bush misled him into voting for the war. He voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it. He didn’t smile, those NASA bastards used a camera to fool him into thinking that his visit was a secret.

If Kerry isn’t man enough to take responsibility for his own actions, why should anyone vote to give him responsibility for leading and protecting the free world?

It sort of reminds me of what Blaine Nye of the Tom Landry-era Dallas Cowboys said about his often imperious coach: “It’s not whether you win or lose, but who get’s the blame”.