Toyota Tundra Turns Space Shuttle Into Political Football Page 2

September 18, 2012

Schematic of Toyota Tundra towing Space Shuttle Endeavour

But perhaps the Michigan Republican Party didn't feel comfortable mentioning Chrysler because the GOP's candidate for president, Mitt Romney, has said repeatedly that Chrysler (and General Motors) should've been left to go bankrupt during the Great Recession. Awkward.

Bringing up Chrysler would've also been uncomfortable because that might've led the party to suggest that Endeavour be hauled to the California Science Center by a Chrysler vehicle like the Ram.

The problem with that, of course, is that while some Ram trucks are built in Michigan, others are built in Mexico. The Toyota Tundra, however, is built in Texas. Again, awkward.

And although this is far from a space blog, in fairness, we should point out that Obama didn't "outsource[] our entire space program". The Space Shuttle program was 86ed by President Bush in 2004, not long after the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Other parts of the space program are alive and well, as a recent Mars landing would imply.

It's true that we've become reliant on others for visits to the International Space Station. However, some of the most interesting progress on that front has come from entrepreneurs like Tesla's head honcho, Elon Musk, whose SpaceX project recently completed a successful mission to the ISS. Isn't that the sort of free-enterprise activity that Republicans espouse?

Bottom line: there are plenty of legitimate complaints that could be lodged about both candidates, both parties, NASA, and Toyota. But in this case, Michigan's GOP missed the ball.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to punditize your heart out in the comments below.

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