by Whitney Pitcher
When President Obama gave his State of the Union address over 11 months ago, he referred to America’s “Sputnik Moment”–our need to invest massive amounts of money in innovations, particularly green innovations, to keep pace with a changing world (emphasis added):
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 would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t 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. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
Following that speech, Governor Palin criticized President Obama’s reference to Sputnik, noting how spending so much money on things like Sputnik lead to the eventual demise of the Soviet Union:
That was another one of those “WTF” moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
So I listened to that Sputnik moment talk over and over again, and I think, No, we don’t need one of those. You know what we need is a “spudnut” moment. And here’s where I’m going with this, Greta. And you’re a good one because you’re one of those reporters who actually gets out there in the communities, find these hard-working people and find solutions to the problems that Americans face.
Governor Palin was lambasted by the media for making what they saw as a huge historical gaffe. In reality, it turned out to be a history lesson for the biased media. Peter Schweizer (prior to being hired as an adviser to Governor Palin) wrote at Big Peace following the media mocking that Governor Palin that she was indeed correct:
Palin is right: Sputnik was the typical government solution; symbolism over substance. The Soviets did not really create a satellite, and Washington really wasn’t threatened by it. They “welcomed it.”
Palin’s other point is that Sputnik was the sort of government bureaucratic program that got the Soviet Union in trouble; it’s an example of what eventually did them in. Citing Wikipedia (what journalistic ingenuity!), Stromberg [Washington Post author] argues that actually the Soviet Union didn’t have a debt problem until some “thirty years after” Sputnik. Perhaps instead of relying on Wikipedia, Stromberg might have consulted Robert Gates’ book From the Shadowswhich chronicles, in part, his career as a Soviet analyst at the CIA. (Just in case they are unaware at the Post, this is the same Robert Gates who is now the Secretary of Defense.) On page 173, he accurately points out that the CIA knew early on of the “Soviet economic crisis. From the late 1950s, CIA had clearly described the chronic weaknesses as well as the formidable military power of the Soviet Union.” Hmmm. Do you think this “chronic weaknesses might have had something to do with excessive bureaucracies and the size of government? Note to Stromberg: you will have to close Wikipedia and actually crack a book for this one.
In a post today, the Heritage Foundation points out that President Obama’s pie in the sky promises have done just the opposite of what he promised. Solyndra has become the notorious posterchild for the green cronyism–driven by politics, not policy– that is so pervasive in this administration:
Of course, central to the story is solar energy company Solyndra, which received a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee. President Obama spoke at the company’s newly unveiled factory in May of last year, bragging that “[W]e can see the positive impacts [of the stimulus] right here at Solyndra.” Despite the President’s boosterism, Solyndra went bankrupt last summer, leaving 1,100 people out of work. The jobs the President promised didn’t stick around long, and they came at a heavy price.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the “Sputnik” investments President Obama made with taxpayer dollars. Four other solar companies that received stimulus money also went bankrupt this year. There is also Brightsource,a failing solar energy company connected to Obama donor Robert Kennedy Jr, who received more than a billion dollars in taxpayer guaranteed loans. In late September, President Obama’s Department of Energy extended more green energy loans to companies like Exelon and General Electric whose leadership and employees were also big donors to his campaign.Most recently, President Obama has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the company Solazyme to fuel a Navy ship with algae based biofuels. Solazyme’s strategic adviser is non other than T.J.Glauthier who was part of President Obama’s transition team and who worked on the energy part of the 2009 stimulus bill. Solazyme is receiving $16 a gallon for this fuel-- 4 times the average price for such a fuel. Pretty good payback from a friend, huh?
President Obama’s promised to invest in more than just clean energy, though, and that he did investing in both information technology and medicine. Take for example the companies Lightsquared and Siga Technologies. Lightsquared, which received hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for a broadband project and has ties to both the infamous George Soros and Phillip Falcone (another Obama donor) is another company which has been part of President Obama’s “Sputnik Year”. President Obama indeed also invested in “information technology” as he promised in his State of the Union address, but such an investment did not help ” strengthen our security”. In fact, testing showed that Lightsquared internet signals interfered with military GPS signals. In essence, President Obama is willing to compromise the military’s technological abilities in order to fill the wallets of his cronies. President Obama also has extended a hundreds of millions of dollars no bid contract to Siga technologies a company who manufacture small pox treatments. This company had ties to former SEIU leader and Obama friend, Andy Stern, and to mainly Democratic donor Ronald Perleman.
President Obama indeed chose to invest in those areas that he sees will pave the way for what he sees as America’s Sputnik moment, but he has done so at the expense of the American taxpayer and at the cost of our financial future. There’s nothing like repaying your campaign donors and cronies with taxpayer money to truly “win the future”. Yet again, Governor Palin was right. It was just another “WTF” moment turned into a “WTF” year for our President.