Romney's rise, Gingrich's moon plans and more: Dana Milbank Live

Jan 27, 2012

Mitt Romney is on the rise in Florida. Newt Gingrich is making vacation plans on the moon. Chat about these topics and more with Dana Milbank live Friday at Noon ET!

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Good afternoon, dear readers. 

I'm just over the moon with the questions in the queue today and I am ready to launch. 

Can the moon colony proposal kickstart the Gingrich campaign? I'm looking forward to an administration where the secretaries stay in cabinet for four years but the First Lady is replaced every 12 months.

I would think of Gingrich's moon shot less as a kickstart than a booster rocket.   Clearly this has the potential to get him into a higher orbit. 

Having a permanent lunar base is such an excellent campaign promise, in fact, that I think we should help Newt more by suggesting various follow-on campaign proposals for him.   Who should be sent to the lunar base?   What terrestrial policies might benefit from the moon shot?   

Believe it or not, there are some reasonably smart financial/aerospace people running the financial numbers on mining the moon for commercial benefit. I know Mitt likes to fire people but it's probably not a fireable offense in this case. Unfortunately, the commercial numbers don't work without pretty substantial government subsidies.

I think I heard that they could put a giant mirror on the moon to reflect the sun's rays back at the sun, thereby ending global warming on earth. 

After losing five years in a row to its fierce rival, Yale hired a new head football coach from Harvard who then hired/poached/stole three other Harvard assistant coaches. In the same week, Obama stole the Republican's "all of the above" energy plan to co-opt/head off Republican attacks on Solyndra, Keystone and other energy issues. Did Obama follow the Eli strategy that if you can't beat them buy them (and/or their gameplan)?

I hadn't heard about this coup performed by my alma mater but I think it it is an excellent plan.   My Eli certainly could do no worse than they have been.

Still I think it will be many, er, moons before there is an Ivy League championship football team in New Haven.

Are we certain Newt doesn't have ADD? He seems to jump around all over the place without much follow through and then ride up and down some sort of mood/energy rollercoaster. As much as I'd like to see him end up against Obama, I don't think Republican voters are going to go for someone who is almost clinically inconsistent with his performance.

This is because there is less gravity on the moon, which makes it appear that Newt is bouncing around a lot. 

This new debate coach really seems to have done the trick for Mitt. What about a column coach for you?

Who should I hire?  Please:  nobody from Harvard.

Did you catch Bob Schieffer's denunciation during the CBS Evening News last night of political rudeness and vulgarity? Long overdue. I hope it becomes the modern-day equivalent of Joseph Welch's famous plea, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

I don't know what the (*&^&%@!# he's talking about.

So is Newt's current marriage an open relationship? Enquiring minds want to know!

No. There is only seating for two in the crew compartment.

Even when Mr. Romney tried to sound more 'down to earth' than Mr. Gingrich about investing in space travel, why did he have to say that he would fire anyone at his firm if they wanted to do that? Newt has a list of words to use against the left....should Mitt have a list of words to not use against himself?

Fire the boosters!

Judy Blume denounced the GOP field in a tweet last night:

Oh, Fudge.

So NASA estimated that Apollo cost (in 2005 dollars) about $170B dollars. CBO estimated it would that it would cost $66B (again in 2005 dollars) just to get the first man to the moon, and nobody has estimated the cost to build a space colony. Considering that Newt is supposively all about cutting spending and taxes (ending capital gains taxes and estate taxes, lowering corporate taxes to 12% and offering an alternative individual 15% tax rate) the logical question might be, "Former Speaker Gingrich, in light of your economic plan that would increase the deficit by $850 billion per year, how do you propose to pay for this program? Or are you simply saying this because your on the Space Coast of Florida and you're trying to get votes by saying whatever pops into your mind first?"

Yeah, sounds as if this one might wither on the launchpad.

I feel the need to support Gingrich just to see how far we get to a moon colony. Reagan taught me that you don't really need a President to run the country so I figure my vote ought to go for the biggest entertainment value.

This is why I have a Newt 2012 sticker on my laptop.  I also have a Santorum sticker, for similar reasons.  Apparently my Santorum sticker got on TV during Bernanke's press conference Wednesday, which makes me glad I didn't put on a Ron Paul sticker.

Did I hear that the US would colonize the moon and claim it as ours? I love NASA but the moon is so 70's!!

I just realized this is probably one of those Alvin and Heidi Toffler ideas.   Remember them?  Newt's New Age gurus in the 90s. 


Will you be part of the initial colony to the moon? I'm sure they will need journalists, and WE will need a journalist of your caliber to report on the 51st state's doings back here on Earth.

Well, I did jump out of a plane last month, so this would be the logical next step.   I am sure the Post bean counters will make me fly coach, however. 

I think we can have a moon colony by the end of Gingrich's second term, since he won't be elected president until Hell freezes over and pigs fly.

Well, it may strike you as lunarcy, but I think it could happen.   I recall suggesting before a Bush State of the Union that he should call for human travel to Mars, but instead he decided to invade another country.

Dana: I miss seeing you on TV. You used to be on MSNBC all the time. Your humor was great. Any plans to return to television?


Pretty much every Tuesday and Thursday on Hardball. 

Usually Monday and Wednesday prayers with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Fridays (including this one) on Martin Bashir. (Gene Robinson today, I think!).


There would have to be the requisite Starbucks on the Moon

Too Democratic.  I think Newt would likelier begin his lunar nation building with a Wal Mart.  

For anyone who has spent time in the northeast and heard the "Connecticut School of Broadcast" radio ads ("you can be on the radio too!") you would think someone/school had come up with a School of Pundrity. It would include obscure if not off the mark historical analogy studies like George Will but also include Philosophy/Logic to set up straw man arguments and then Multimedia to learn how to put on makeup for TV appearances. You would think Georgetown would have a sister program to their diplomacy/security schools.

I am hoping for a well-endowed professorship.

I am completely surprised that no one has suggested that not only will the moon base provide real jobs for real americans, it would be a great place to house Congress. (ok. Someone may have stated this already, but I've been to lazy to look)

No, you are the first.  I thought moving Gitmo there would be the obvious choice -- avoids the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross -- but yours may be superior.

How many delegates will the Moon have at the Republican National Convention, and might this be enough to put Gingrich over the top for the nomination?

Newt's lunar delegates will probably cause Romney support to, uh, crater.

Give your buddy Grover a call about being a column coach...

sorry, he's from Harvard.

How about hiring Chris Cillizza?

A Hoya would be good.  But he is probably too expensive.

Why on earth did you waste your travel expense dollars to be in cold, dark New Hampshire rather than warm, sunny Florida? Rookie mistake....

Asking myself the same.  Am thinking of going to Florida Sunday to follow Newt for a bit.  

In memory of the Great Jackie Gleason, I think we should name Newt's Frist Moon Base after Alice Kramden. To the Moon!!

We could store all our nuclear waste on the Moon, and then let it shoot off into the outer solar system when it explodes. And Martin Landau is still around to command it.

I think there will be support for this in Nevada.

Isn't he just too closely identified with the 1%?

You sell him short.  He is more closely identified with the 0.1%. 

Dana: The Post carries a story that says the tarmac confrontation reveals the president's "testy side." If so, it's with good reason. I saw footage last night of Governor Brewer after her meeting with the president in the White House last year to talk about immigration. She stood in front of reporters smiling, saying that the meeting was cordial and indicating that she thought it went well. Then, months later, she comes out with a book in which she describes the meeting in a completely different way--saying that the president was "patronizing" among other things. Given Governor Brewer's revisionist history, I'd say the president has a right to be "testy"--although I'd use a stronger word.

I think he would have been within his rights to demand she prove her citizenship.

The finger seen round the world Can we expect more Republicans to give the president the finger in the future?

I see your point.

I bet Americans would fund it if the first 535 people were from Congress. They would either have to learn to work together or they would all kill each other.

To the World Bank?

I would have preferred something in a higher orbit, but ok.

If we have people born on the Moon Colony, should they get automatic citizenship to "Olde America"? Or will this be a new political issue?

Presumably this will be a military base so it will fall under the McCain/Panama rule.

According to a timeline published in today's Post, Newt as far back as 1981 was working on getting statehood for the moon. This reminds me a lot of a plotline of a Bullwinkle cartoon from the early 60s.

Please. First Tiffany's

Of course. 

I hope we do reenter the space race. We can't let ourselves keep falling behind Richard Branson.

Do I get some compensation for sitting on the launch pad for 40 years?

No.  And now you have to pay a retroactive charge for you checked luggage.

Come down to earth's gravitational field please -- we're ready for your wisdom!

I'm sorry, I am all out of wisdom.

This discussion has been a blast.   I still feel the Buzz from your (Arm)strong comments.

Have a safe flight and I'll chat with you next week.

In This Chat
Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is "Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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