Tierney On Obama & McCain On Science

Math Is Tough

At the NYT, John Tierney sorta, kinda compares the responses given by Sens. McCain and Obama to 14 questions about science and technology policy posed by ScienceDebate08. “The answers contain a lot of boilerplate and a fair amount of agreement, but also some potentially interesting differences.”

Indeed.

Space. Mr. McCain sounds more enthusiastic about space exploration, at least judging by the relative length of the two candidates’ answers. Mr. Obama emphasizes reorganizing the space bureaucracy to produce “a robust and balanced civilian space program” that would focus not just on space but on problems on Earth.

Mr. McCain promises to “ensure that space exploration is top priority and that the U.S. remains a leader. “He speaks of encouraging the private space industry and cites the X Prize Foundation’s $30 million prize for the first robotic rover on the Moon, but he doesn’t propose any new space prizes (like the $5-billion Mars Prize I’ve touted). And he sounds awfully committed to NASA – even to its much-maligned space shuttle: “I have called on the Bush Administration to suspend its decommissioning of the shuttle until the next President is in office, and to retain the option of continuing shuttle flights . . . .”

Given that all candidates from all persuasions at all times tend to obfuscate (sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of habit) I suppose one could do worse than the side-by-side comparison given by ScienceDebate08. But it’s still hard to discern what either candidate would do for space science over the next 4 or 8 years, given the chance. Wisdom advises that everyone try to not put their own biases into the candidates words, even as they try to play to the voters perceived biases.

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