Heard on the Hill

Dana Rohrabacher Zaps Moon Base Plan

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a space fanatic but rejects presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's vision of a moon base by 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), a one-time confidant to former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), is no longer starry-eyed about the GOP presidential hopeful and believes his moon base plan is a bust. Rohrabacher has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Republican nomination contest.

For the record: Rohrabacher is absolutely starry-eyed about all things relating to space exploration. He’s just not convinced that Gingrich is the rocket man to lead us there.

“I think that it is unrealistic to think that we could establish a moon base by 2020, even if we spent all the money in the world. ... [It’s] just going to bankrupt every other program,” Rohrabacher warned of Gingrich’s bombastic plan, which he flogged in Florida last week, to jump-start the battle for the stars.

The plan, even on Florida’s Space Coast, didn’t seem to impress as Gingrich got trounced in Tuesday’s GOP primary in the Sunshine State.

According to Rohrabacher, the former Speaker’s major strength — visionary thinking — has time and again been undermined by less-than-exemplary follow-through.

“The trouble is, it’s never part of Newt’s calculation whether or not something can be realistically accomplished,” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee member charged.

Rohrabacher would, however, be fine with having Gingrich spew out big ideas ad infinitum. As long as someone else ultimately pilots them home.

“He should go on a lecture as being a futurologist who can paint pictures for people of what a bright future we could have,” Rohrabacher counseled. “But he doesn’t have the management and leadership abilities to lead those to fruition.”

We get it: Gingrich is a total space cadet.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.

Topics: fightingwords