Richard Eskow at the HuffPo summed up Newt's idea very well at last night's debate:
Newt Gingrich wants to build a manned base on the moon. That would add a trillion or so to the deficit. Why? The logical answer to that question would be the one given in the 1960s to justify the manned space program: Innovation and jobs. But that would mean promoting ... dare we say it? ... a stimulus.
And if you're talking about stimulus spending, there are much smarter ways to do it than building a base on the moon. So instead Newt invented a 1950's-era Red Menace. "I'd like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there," he said. And, no doubt, to get away from the nonexistent war on religion he's always talking about. After all, nothing brings you closer to God than breathing an artificial atmosphere beneath a transparent dome in the Mare Imbrium.
Americans walked on the moon more than forty years ago. The first Chinese have yet to arrive there. They don't seem to be in a big hurry. And guess what? If you're worried about the Chinese economically or militarily, the moon's a pretty good place for them to go. It would cost them a fortune to get there, making them less of an economic threat, and once they get there they would be very far away.
Gingrich even suggested that 13,000 Americans on the moon could apply for statehood. But Puerto Rico? Not so much.
Ron Paul suggested we send some politicians to the moon. Mitt Romney said if someone at Bain Capital had asked me to send people to the moon, I would have said, "You're fired!"
To the moon Newt, to the moon!