"What? Biden is going to get us to the moon?"
But I knew I'd have to wait for the transcript. Here it is. Let's see:
Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.Oh. Ugh. He's insulting the deniers. Mocking people. I'm used to being bored by the SOTU, but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.
We didn’t argue about the science....Well, why not? If we didn't argue about science, it was not because we were scientific, but because we were over-emotional — scared of Communism and nuclear war — and thus manipulable.
We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon. Now, that spirit of discovery is in our DNA... That’s who we are...Ground control to Major Joe.... You sang at that point, didn't you? We did. Of course, you did. That's who we are. It's in our DNA. I went to bed thinking we might be going back to the moon. But now I see. We're curing cancer. Joe, going to the mat again, Joe's in charge. Get it done.
You know, last year, Vice President Biden said that, with a new moon-shot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they’ve had in over a decade. Well, so — so tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.
I see that my son John is watching the video of SOTU and simulblogging the experience on Facebook. Excellent — "'Equal pay for equal work' — he 'won't let up until it gets done.' What's the 'it' he's talking about? Gender-based pay discrimination is already against the law."/"Paul Ryan has perfected his almost-neutral-but-slightly-skeptical facial expression."
When John gets to the Sputnik part, he says: "Why is Obama so fixated on 'Sputnik'? My mom, Ann Althouse, called this out when Obama brought it up in his 2011 SOTU." Let's see
Is it possible to declare a "Sputnik moment"?/The President tried last night:Ha. Funny that ends with some Bob Dylan lyrics — I ask you how things could get much worse
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation's Sputnik moment.But how do you have Sputnik without Sputnik? The Soviets launching their satellite shocked Americans into a period of intense activity and achievement. It's nice to want to do that again, but there's not an equivalent incentivizing advance by an imposing and feared foreign competitor.
This is our generation's Sputnik moment. What is? Are we playing let's pretend? Nothing is scaring us and lighting a fire under us. In fact, it's hard for us now, with our long perspective, even to understand why Sputnik was such a huge motivation. Ask some under-50 Americans today: Why was it so important to beat the Soviets in sending men to the moon? Ask them when/if the Soviets got a man to the moon. I'll bet they can't even give plausible answers. I'll bet even the over-50s are hit-or-miss when it comes to answering the question whether the Soviets got a man to the moon.
So what on earth — or on the moon — does Obama think he will get out of the mere verbal tag "Sputnik"? If you remember how Sputnik felt — and I do — you'll probably say, but there is no equivalent of Sputnik. There are just a lot of countries, full of human beings, trying to get ahead economically, like us — not against us. There's no race with dramatic consequences for the winners and losers, and there's no impressive physical object that signifies that bad guys are winning the race. If you don't remember Sputnik, you're like: Sputnik?
If the Russians happen to get up there first.... It's who we are. It's in our DNA.