It’s been interesting watching the space corner of the blogosphere during the last several months. Many of my friends in the space advocacy community tend to support the Republican side of things, and it was sad to see how many of them started nearing the boarder of tinfoilhatdom during the course of the Presidential campaign. Thankfully, now that silly season is over things are getting back somewhat to normal.
Unfortunately, I’ve been noticing some disturbing trends over the past day or so, particularly regarding the rumor floating around that James Oberstar might be selected to head up the Department of Transportation. As Jeff Foust helpfully points out, people are jumping the gun on this. It’s been interesting how many people snatched at this rumor as instant proof that Obama was going to screw commercial space.
Quite frankly that kind of attitude is the best way to guarantee that bad space policy carries the day. The good news is that from what I’ve seen, the people who are actually close to the DC side of things are saavy enough to realize that even if their guy lost, that they ahve to find a way to work with the new team. And that’s what the rest of us should be doing. Criticism of bad moves is totally appropriate. But jumping to conclusions and prematurely condemning actions that are still in the rumor phase as though they already had been made is silly.
What people should be doing right now, is trying to respectfully engage the new administration on issues like space policy. Make your case, try to show some empathy and find common ground. Don’t just turn your backs on them and then whine about the results.
Sure, there’s a chance that you’ll just be wasting your time, but it reminds me a lot of something one of our investors told me: We were talking about a potential customer, and I was expressing skepticism that they would really be interested in working with us, since our stuff was somewhat dissimilar to what they’re trying to do. He told me “Let them decide whether they’re interested or not–if you don’t at least ask, the answer is definitely no”.
We can’t control whether or not the Obama administration listens to us, but we can at least put the ball in their court by constructively engaging.