Enter the Wayback Machine: In July of 1992, I caused a major tectonic shift in my family by registering to vote as a Democrat, the first to do so in my extended family in anyone's memory. Even my gay cousin is a registered Republican; go explain that one. For days, if not weeks, my folks tried various sales pitches to bring me back from the Dark Side, and one of those tactics, aimed at my imminent matriculation to an Aerospace Engineering program (a career move I already recognized would bring a cyclical vulnerability to unemployment), was this: "You know [the Democrats] will kill the space program." Right off the bat I had no idea what the hell they were talking about, inasmuch as when you think of landing on the moon, you think of (anyone? anyone?) Kennedy. So I wasn't too worried about Bill Clinton sending me to the poor house.
Of course, it has taken a Republican administration to really drive research into the ground. Nick Anthis calls our attention to the Democratic efforts to stop GWB's research budget slashes:
NASA’s FY 2007 budget request makes unacceptable cuts to NASA’s science and aeronautics programs, and it is inconsistent with the stated goals of the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative. We believe that if those cuts are not reversed, long-term damage will be done to important national R&D capabilities. Moreover, an exploration initiative that is premised on the curtailment or diminution of other core NASA missions is not likely to prove politically sustainable over the long run.
Basic science is suffering at the hands of real pie-in-the-sky adventurism, and you care because a lot of what we know about global warming was brought to you by NASA climate researchers -- the ones who weren't silenced by a communications censor whose only qualification (lacking a complete college degree) was working on the president's 2004 campaign.
Along those same lines, the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) has been given less and less money to do the research we need to prevent a global catastrophe, falling from a $1,975M total effort in 2004 to $1,917M in '05 and finally a $1,891M request in '06. NASA's portion of that budget has received one of the biggest hits, down at least 10% from '04. The White House gives somewhat more confusing (and conflicting) numbers, but still show a drop in the administration's budget request for the combined CCSP and Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) from $4,672M in FY05 to $4,482M for FY06; the FY07 request brings it back up to $4,695M, but that's a drop in constant FY05 dollars. Unsurprisingly, the big "budget uptick" in climate change efforts is a massive 50% increase in energy tax provisions, from a steady $1,084M for 3 years to $1,607M for FY07, because you know we can always count on businesses to do the right thing. And sadly, international efforts get slashed 8% to a paltry $220M next year, even though it is the developing world that could use the most help in setting up more environmentally friendly infrastructure so they don't follow in our carbon footsteps. With the exception of a brief election year spike in FY04, the GOP has consistently waged war on good science in my political lifetime, getting its real surge from Newt Gingrich's Republican Revolution -- and for no good reason other than partisan vendetta.
My favorite part of the Bush administration's take on climate change policy is its creation of the new emissions metric, the "emissions intensity." Anytime you hear Faux News or the White House itself talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions 18% by 2012, as promised by the president in 2002, they're lying, and if you're told this by a Republican in person you should sock 'em in the mouth. They always leave out the word "intensity," which is the difference between night and day. You see, emissions intensity equals the absolute quantity of emissions divided by the polluter's economic output, or, for a nation, our GDP, basically. So when the president promises to reduce emissions intensity, he fully intends to keep on polluting; he just plans to grow the GDP faster than the amount of emissions. That's like saying you're going to "cut back on smoking" by in fact smoking the same number of cigarettes per day while running a few extra miles per week and eating more of your vegetables. Say, that sounds like an idea....
So, yeah. That's really all I have to say about that. My vote in 1992 certainly didn't kill the space program; my parents' votes in 2000 and 2004 may just kill their grandkids.