In his Feb. 13 opinion piece, Congressman Rob Bishop castigated President Obama for killing the Constellation space program. ("Obama's budget stresses wants and ignores needs") It should come as no surprise that Bishop, following the current Republican line to blame all of America's ills on Obama, did not tell the whole story.
President Obama did not pull the idea to cancel Constellation out of thin air. He was simply implementing the recommendation of the blue-ribbon Augustine panel that has spent the last year studying the progress of the Bush-era program to return man to the moon.
The Augustine panel included respected representatives from the space and science community, including former astronauts Leroy Chiao and Sally Ride.
The conclusion of the Augustine panel was that the Constellation project had been so severely mismanaged, was so over budget, and so far from their goals that it would be better to start over from scratch. These findings have been largely accepted by respected members of the space community, including Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
I agree with Bishop that it is inexcusable that by the end of this year, for the first time since the early 1960's, the United States will not have the capability to send astronauts into space. In addition to the setbacks to the nation's space program, the dedicated workers at ATK/Thiokol have been unfortunate victims of the mismanagement of the Constellation program.
I also share his hope that, despite the mismanagement of the overall program, Congress will restore funds to continue the Aries project. But it is a prime example of the usual Republican hypocrisy to blame the sad state of America's manned space program on a Democratic president who has been in office only a year. Like so many other dysfunctional things in America today, President Obama inherited the Constellation mess.
There have been countless other examples of Republican hypocrisy since the last election.
It is hypocrisy for Rob Bishop to paint himself as a deficit hawk, when as recently as the 2006 Congressional elections he dismissed the Bush era deficits as a non-issue, claiming deficits would disappear in a few years because of the economic miracle resulting from Republican economic policies. We all know how that turned out.
It was hypocrisy for Sen. Bob Bennett to co-sponsor the bill to create a bi-partisan deficit reduction commission and then vote against his own bill on the floor of the Senate.
It was hypocrisy for Sarah Palin to take a bipartisan measure by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer to direct Medicare to reimburse doctors for providing end-of-life counseling for families, and portray it as a "death panel" that might result in her disabled son being euthanized -- when in the spring of 2008, Gov. Palin issued a proclamation to the citizens of Alaska that stressed the importance of end-of-life planning.
It is hypocrisy for the 2010 Utah Legislature to engage in a self-righteous orgy of indignation over the federal government trampling on our rights, to the exclusion of more important business -- when we heard deafening silence from that body during the Bush years over much more egregious attacks on our liberties.
It is hypocrisy for Governor Herbert to bemoan the horrible state of air quality on the Wasatch Front when the policies of three decades of one-party Republican rule in this state have contributed enormously to the problem.
It is hypocrisy when every Republican legislator in the state runs on the platform "public education is my number one priority" when the Legislature has presided over a free-fall in support for education the last decade that is leading us to a crisis.
Our aging workforce of public teachers is not being replaced in sufficient numbers because salaries are not sufficient to attract new teachers.
The latest idea for fixing the problem is rumored to be installing microphones in our classrooms so the students on the back rows of our overcrowded classrooms can hear.
Our state and nation face significant problems. The first step in problem solving is honest analysis of the issues involved. It's hard to be optimistic that these problems can be honestly faced when so many of our elected leaders are so blinded by partisan ideology.
Olsen is the chairman of the Weber Democrats. (weberdemocrats.org)