Commentary by James Turnage
Political appointments are frequently no more than a ‘lollypop’ to appease rivals. They can also be a measure to keep an adversary busy, giving him or her less time to oppose those in lead positions. Let’s all hope that is the case with the decision to place Senator Ted Cruz head of the subcommittee which oversees NASA. His appointment reveals that either Republican leaders have lost their minds, or they simply want him out of the way.
Cruz has no qualifications for the position. When science is involved in any discussion, he is in denial. Ninety-nine percent of the world’s scientist agree that climate change caused by man is a serious problem; Cruz does not agree with them. On Friday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed their findings that 2014 was the warmest year on record since 1880. The title of Cruz’ committee is ‘Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness.’ Either Cruz will have to read a science book, or he’s already in way over his head.
Cruz, who will undoubtedly place his name in contention for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, stated that he believes superiority in the space program is a ‘race between freedom and tyranny.’ He really said that.
Cruz will have oversight of an agency which is responsible for using satellites to monitor changes in the earth’s atmosphere. NASA revealed that the earth’s average surface temperature has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The cause is directly related to carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions. Cruz will certainly tell them that they are mistaken.
Cruz is the junior Republican Senator from Texas. He is expected to encourage the space agency to conduct more business in his state at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Elon Musk is currently considering constructing a ‘spaceport’ in Texas for his company SpaceX.
Cruz claims that the United States relinquished control of its space program when it allowed Russia to take the lead on the International Space Station. He says that the United States should ‘work alongside our partners, but not be dependent upon them.’
The Republican appointment of Cruz raises multiple questions which have no answers. The action once again questions the ability of Republicans to make good judgment. Are qualifications unimportant when considering political appointments? Is it not reasonable to criticize them for allowing an inexperienced and uneducated Senator oversight of an agency which has an annual budget of nearly 20 billion dollars?
Cruz’ personal judgment has been questioned. He was instrumental in an effort which shut down the federal government, including NASA, for two weeks in 2013. He urged Republicans to repeat the offense this year and defund President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Cruz opposes any and all immigration reform. Although he is of Cuban descent, he is anti-Hispanic. He also opposes resolving our relations with Cuba. Over 50 years of isolation have not produced the intention of the embargo. The government remains in the control of the Castro family; only the people of a country just 90 miles off of our shores have suffered.
Maybe it’s not accurate to blame Republican leadership for a poor choice; the people of Texas are the true culprits; they demonstrated a lack of judgment when they elected Ted Cruz.
By James Turnage