The Washington Times on our “Sputnik moment”:
Mr. Obama’s call is more abstract. It poses no concrete objective, like putting a man on the moon. Mr. Obama was simply touting his new budget proposal. He would like to see the same level of national commitment as during the space race, but without a goal, without passion, and certainly without identifying any country as an adversary. In fact his self-possessed “Sputnik moment” is a lifeless call for more aimless government programs and regulatory meddling.
Invoking Sputnik strikes me as evidence of historical ignorance on the part of the president and his speech writers. Sputnik came at a very particular moment in world history, and its launch was evidence that a hostile power that posed an existential threat to America and the West was leaping ahead in technology that threatened us where we lived. Namely, the technology that sent Sputnik aloft could be used to send spy satellites into space, and to send nuclear warheads (which the USSR possessed, thanks in no small part to Western left-wingers who helped them acquire that technology) into our cities. The moment we face now, in which we have spent ourselves into a very deep hole, is of our own making. It’s not a Sputnik moment at all, and it doesn’t call for more vigorous government. It calls for leaner and smarter government, and there’s no evidence coming from the White House that they understand this at all.