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Nancy Smith

Shame on Bill Nelson for Using NASA to Glorify His Accomplishments

May 30, 2018 - 6:00am
Frame from Nelson's new digital ad
Frame from Nelson's new digital ad

Who convinced Sen. Bill Nelson he can ride his NASA experience to re-election? You want to vote for this three-term Democrat, do what you've got to do -- but, please, don't vote for him because you think he's some kind of hero for NASA and the Space Coast.

Somebody in his camp apparently thinks Floridians have very short memories.

Nelson released his first digital ad of the 2018 campaign on Tuesday, with glimpses of a dashing younger man floating in a space capsule, as he giddily focused on his trip aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in January 1986.

I Beg to Differ"In Florida, we don't just reach for the stars, we travel to them. I know. I flew on the Space Shuttle," Nelson says as the old clips roll. "And when I looked back at our planet, I didn't see political divisions, I saw how we're all in this together."

Pandering for votes, using a connection that frankly should bring him shame, not admiration.

In case Nelson's advisors are right, and you do have a short memory, or weren't around at the time, let's look at a few facts. Nothing I haven't said before, but in light of the ad, it needs to come out again.

Nelson was the one senator in a position to save 7,000-plus NASA jobs for the Space Coast when President Barack Obama's  administration decreased the some $18 billion funding for space-flight vessels by splitting the money between a more Mars-centric program and an increased budget for climate research projects.

In the words of U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge at the time, "... This amounts to a slow death of our nation's human spaceflight program, a retreat from America's decades of leadership in space, ending the economic advantages that our space program has brought to the U.S. and ceding space to the Russians, Chinese and others."

President Obama's plan easily won the approval of Congress because the president promised to spread the space budget's largesse around, giving work to contractors in other states besides Florida.

Did that ring our senator's bell? Where was he while all this was going on? Where was Bill Nelson, who grew up in Melbourne, was selected as one of only two members of Congress ever to orbit the Earth, whose party label gave him frequent access to Barack Obama?

You would think, once given the honor to fly as an American astronaut, he could have saved NASA as a true government entity for the Space Coast. Or tried. You would have thought he could rise to the occasion.

It killed me that he never got in Obama's face. Never took the risk.

I remember when he spoke to a group in Brevard County -- instead of defending the Space Coast, he made excuses for the president.

“The president made a mistake," Nelson said. "He made a mistake because he did not stand up and lay out his budget for the Space Program and outline what his goal is, which is Mars, and how we should go about getting there for the Space Program. The president should have used the word 'restructure' not 'cancel' with regard to Constellation.”

The thousands of jobs that evaporated because we were no longer looking to set up science labs on the Moon, we were going to Mars ... and Nelson knew by the time we got there, most of the jobs that send up the rockets would have gone to other states. As Obama said in 2009, Florida can't have it all, "everybody wants a piece of the action."

Who cares what other states want when Florida is the world leader?

It took the Sunshine State more than five decades to build its network of know-how. You're looking for aeronautical and space development? The Space Coast has the finest skilled labor in the world. It has bought-and-paid-for infrastructure, hundreds of supporting businesses and industries, and it has communities that understand how to ride out the rough weather that military rigidity and political whim sometimes whip up around them.

Nobody, no region in America or in the world, does space better. And Bill Nelson knows that.

Now, in a better economy, NASA is rebuilding, if only slowly, thanks to international business and private-venture space projects. But none of it is thanks to Sen. Bill Nelson.

There was a time when I thought Sen. Nelson was going to come through. In 2010 he and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas supported Sen. John Rockefeller's bill to pump more money into the Space Program and keep the International Space Station open until 2020. But that was it. That was his whole offense. He was shooting a cap pistol when he needed an Uzi.

And in the end, Obama never wavered from his decision to end NASA's moon program, turn over space transportation to commercial companies, jump-start technologies needed for future human exploration of Mars and redirect some of the former space funding to climate change.

The bottom line for me is, when an elected official knows the fight is right, when the stakes are as high as they were on Florida's Space Coast in 2010 and 2011, and when Bill Nelson had more power than anyone else to fight and win, he owed his constituents everything he's got. Nothing less.

Bill Nelson's first digital ad of the 2018 Senate campaign is a disgrace.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith



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Get humans back in space to inspire those to create robots and a million other advantages. Robots etc are great in exploration. We need to inspire first and foremost to get us back to the technical strides we made in the race to the moon etc.. inspiration must come first! What else is there????

Please get the humans back in space. That is what inspires us. Robots are useful and cost efficient,. Let us inspire minds of our youth to be fascinated to such a degree were they are so fascinated to improve and counter act with robots through the on hands exploration of man and machines working together. Better product if you have been there. And you were!

NOT JUST JOBS THAT BILL NELSON AND DEMOCRATS HAVE KILLED. They kill children too! DEMOCRATS KILL 1766 BABIES PER DAY AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD ( and then have the nerve to complain about illegal border crossing children being separated from the adults.) Now that's some Hyper-Evil-Hypocrisy !

hey glory sorry to rain on your Clarence Bill Nelson ast0rnut parade, but the only reason he was on the shuttle was the pollical power of being congressmen swamp dweller in 1986 he was NOT chosen he pick himself and more than likely bump one of those 1% pick with , intelligent, mental endurance and advance education who earn the position

Wow!! Only a small percent of applicants ever get to be an astronaut, 1%. You need intelligence, mental endurance, and an advanced education. Everyone knows it takes a lot of hard work and anyone so accomplished should be proud, we all should be proud. Nancy Miller did you take the time to research the criteria for this job, I guess not.. Criticizing such an accomplishment is really shameful. Rick Scott is an accomplished criminal.. He was part of the LARGEST EVER Medicare fraud in the nation, and this state is now #1 for Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP fraud, because of Scott. Sorry no applause here. I do applaud the astronaut, I think we all should... Find a real issue to attack, this is pathetic.

We need another candidate for US Senator from Fl!!! Check Nelson's voting record at Even Charlies Crist had a better record! I call him "Mr Photo Op". Gov Scott ran down to Parkland and led to charge against our gun rights based on what? A crisis actor and a Mossad operation and now a big "cover-up" commission so I have no faith in him. I don't who can relate to his "term limits" campaign pitch because it's not a hot topic but the fact that our children are being dumbed down (ask Charlotte Iserbyt) with Common Core (just renamed but still the same garbage) shows me Scott cannot be trusted. We have some good men-Bill Posey, Dan Webster, Ted Yoho...why do we have to settle?

ocean joe sorry I made a ripple in your puddle but please school on what old Clarence has done lately I remember him promising a aircraft carrier to mayport fl to his voters but that never happen under his boss barry so what has he done to make florida better reminded me

Yes, yes Nancy, you must be right . . . . . Just like Trump's claims that John McCain is no hero, your similar claim that Bill Nelson is no hero as he "Never took the risk" sounds hallow indeed . . . . . . . . conveniently overlooked the fact that astronauts (civilian or not - ask Christa McAuliffe whom I met at her town's send off in Concord) risk their lives by going up in a shuttle . . . . can you claim the same? . . . . . . . compare that with Rick Scott's courage in pleading the Fifth 75 times . . . . . . perhaps you should remember that famous saying by your current White House occupant and idol --> "The mob takes the Fifth; If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” . . . . . . . . . . rightwing's directed belittlement . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

Trump's right, McCain is no hero; In the "Hanoi Hilton", McCain's fellow prisoners referred to him as the "Songbird" (Even "MOH" recipient, Bud Day). Can you guess what a "Songbird" reference means Folks (even if you were never in prison...)? SADLY, It's YOU who are "pathetic" Frank (and I'm surprised you use that "self identifier" to 'sign off' all the time...). {Nelson is inept, always has been and will never change... He's hoping to be hired by a lobbying group....Well THEY can have him... Good luck with "Zippy"...Hope you're not paying him too much...because he's not worth your time. He's PATHETIC,.. just like "Frank"}

Despicable . . . . . . just like your lying idol . . . . . . . PATHETIC

Nelson is defined as a "do nothing" and Scott is defined as a crook. Watch Scott at any press conference or at any point in his deposition on medicare fraud by HCA. He can't or wont give a straight answer. A thousand Navy ball caps and plaid shirts cant fix Durty Rick. I thought you folks wanted to drain the swamp, not pollute it.

I lived in Northeast Florida for the last 15 years, Clarence (you know him as Bill) is the do nothing Senator, who never has an opinion (call his office and ask) about anything that does not benefit him in some way. time to fire astronaut Clarence

What an "empty suit" 'Zippy' has been for eighteen years ! This "phony "ride-along-rocketeer" even has the distinction of "voting to cut military pensions" during the "kiss-up-to-Obama" period of his ignominious Senate career. This "pretender" should NEVER be allowed near the "switches & buttons" of the Senate, much less than a "rocketship" (even if it IS a kids' ride in front of a "Five & Dime Store"...) WAKE UP FLORIDA !.... It's time to "TAKE OUT THE TRASH !!!!"

So Bill is using whatever 15 minutes of fame that he can to get his name out there, what do you expect! He has nothing else, no agenda, no clear policy, no accomplishments to speak of. He is going to pull out all the stops to try and hang on. I would expect nothing else from this entrenched bloviator of congress. Bill Nelson is the poster child for term limits.

Anyone voting for Scott after his eight years as governor is as 'deplorable' as those who would vote for Trump again! Scott's previous 'great achievement' was avoiding prison when he was the CEO of a healthcare company that committed a TWO-BILLION-DOLLAR FRAUD against Medicare, Medicaid, and the American taxpayer! Seriously ... what knowledgeable person could actually vote for the mook again?

IKIA, when will you stop touting that tired old lie? Scott was never charged in the medicare case. And the government decided the hospital that was charged did NOT intentionally try to fraud. It was a booking error due to a change in the Medicare laws. THAT is why they were only fined. If you are really interested in the truth, you can look up the facts and stop beating that tired old drum. Or do you really want to know the truth . . . . since it doesn't fit your agenda.

What accomplishments?

Why don't you equal the shame on the man with no hair politicizing his navy cap at rally. He looks like a gord with two blue light bulbs. Better yet, his navy service was unremarkable, which is far less than Nelson. How many times have you mentioned Scott's bilking the government for billions in ill gotten gains at the expense of the taxpayers? Zip, nada, zilch. How many times have you mentioned Scott taking the 5th 73 times? Not once. Knowing this trash tag blog 's Nazi leanings, it does not surprise me.

What an ugly comment. All untrue. Does it not bother you to lie? And how ugly to call Nancy a Nazi, just because you disagree with her. You are a very angry and very sad person.

When Gov. Scott boasts in an ad about any of these things, I'll be glad to.

Your headline tells us from the start not to take your comments seriously because they are so obviously biased and partisan. I'm very weary of so called journalists who just bend information to suit their predetermined views. Actually, maybe we should seek new categories for journalist: Those who report facts and those who report opinion. In the interest of transparency - just call it as it truly is. Maybe that would help us get out from under this endless and harmful problem the public has with sorting through reality and opinion. People are entitled to their opinions and biases - just don't confuse us with writing in the name of journalism.

Barbara don't you know an opinion article from a news article? Did you overlook the I Beg to Differ logo that is Ms. Smith's comment sig? This is SUPPOSED to be opinion. Where did you go to school?

As long as your blasting Nelson, why don't you also include everyone else in FL who did nothing, or better yet, encouraged the demise of the space program. Why don't you highlight Scott's record of nothingness for the space coast. Pink Slip Rick, veto king, slash and dash. What about everyone else? Could Nelson have done more? Sure he could have, but at least he tried, which is more than I can say for your other protected electorates. This just proves this site is nothing more than partisan toilet paper...

Rick Scott is a governor and isn't in Washington. You are blaming him for the demise of the space program when he wasn't even in office and couldn't have done anything even if he was? Saving the program for Florida was Senator Slippery's job.

Nelson is an attention hound that has accomplished little.

Bill Nelson supports Florida and Floridians - always has. Wins some, loses some - but always comes back and works hard. He showed courage and understanding of NASA's role in our high tech space industry by his flight - and has generated consistent support for the Agency and Florida's aerospace industry over many years - in the face of a decade of GOP/Tea Party efforts gut the agency. Rick Scott's record speaks for itself - poor management, pay to play, and personal aggrandisement above all else.

Governor Scott created 1 million jobs in FL, LOWERED our taxes, and did a wonderful job of keeping us safe during the hurricanes. Only an angry, misguided person would attack him the way you do. Your bitter vitriol shows your bias and I don't think you even want to see the truth.

Amen! And, unlike 'Shouldabenafelon' Scott ... Nelson is also a good man ... unlike a lot of the unhinged, partisan, politicos running this state!

Typical liberal exploitation on a shaky foundation. Bill Nelson did zero to promote the interests of NASA when Obama abandon the space program to allow the Russians and Chinese to overtake our technological capalbilities. What Nelson is trying to do is bamboozle the voters much like John Kerry did but got swift-boated in the process. He is a Pelosi-Schumer supporter (look at his totally partisan voting record) granstander trying tpo cloak himself in an America First costume. BTW, what did he do while in the service during the Viet Nam War he is touting? Was he in a combat unit?

He cannot hide all the votes in lockstep with Schmuck Chummer, who want your guns, wants illegal immigrants, higher taxes, abortions at any stage of development, wants liberal judges to override the will of the people, and other nefarious plots to hurt our country. When he went into outer space he should have stayed there.


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nancy smith


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