From my friend George Savage, who (see the postings below) actually knows a lot about our space program:
Like all of us right-thinkers, I applaud the President’s tax cuts, his uncompromising prosecution of the War on Terror and the return of character and the rule-of-law to the executive branch. However, I wish Bush were inclined, or at least constrained [by having control of Congress in the hands of the other party], as Clinton was, to proclaim that “the era of big government is over.” Big government is certainly on a roll right now. The Medicare bill is a near-total disaster (medical savings accounts being the only positive). Overall federal spending is out of control….
As for a manned mission to Mars, well, I think another president might say, “There you go again.” As with [Bush’s] immigration [proposal], the effect is to implicitly reward undesirable behavior. Let’s see, the current NASA bureaucracy is manifestly unsuccessful in managing travel to low earth orbit. But the poor guys running the place are all depressed because they have nothing exciting to do. So let’s increase the agency’s budget and give it an exponentially bigger job to manage. That’ll do it! I suppose Karl Rove will tick the box next to the Star Trek voting demographic or some such.
A proposal, Mr. President: George Savage and I will support the mission to Mars just as long as you agree to send Karl.