IN NOVEMBER, the American people put the Democrats back in charge of Congress. Although some of my fellow Republicans are unhappy with that vote, the political arrangement makes it crucial for President Bush and the Democratic Congress to find common ground. If the president is looking for a place to start, he should go back to an idea he proposed a few years ago -- one that has important implications for our national security and our sense of pride in our nation.
On Jan. 14, 2004, Bush announced a "Vision for Space," a dramatic, news-making concept that would take us back to the moon and, eventually, beyond. The initiative would keep the United States preeminent in the arena of human spaceflight.
Of course, that "vision" was announced when the Republicans wielded much more power than they do today. Politics aside, many in and out of the space business strongly believe that going beyond the moon is exactly the right track for our nation -- especially considering China's publicly stated goal of starting to colonize the moon within the next few decades.
It must not be forgotten that China's military runs that country's space program, something we were dramatically reminded of just three months ago when the Chinese space agency blasted a target satellite out of orbit with a missile. Although the message may have been lost on some, it was not lost on the White House and the Pentagon. China has made it abundantly clear that it has no intention of ceding the ultimate high ground, nor its unimagined promise, to a confused and distracted United States. The same can be said for Russia, Europe, India and a growing list of nations that see a future in the high frontier.