MORE FROM RAND SIMBERG ON ROMNEY’S MOON-MINING EMBARRASSMENT: “I also suspect Governor Romney assumed that Newt was proposing a massive NASA project to build the ‘lunar colony’ that the governor derided as unrealistic pie-in-the-sky (almost literally) in austere times. If so, he knocked the stuffing out of a straw man, because Newt is actually on record as wanting to bypass the agency, if not abolish it outright. . . . What does this exchange tell us about the two candidates? I think it provides a window into their mindsets. Newt sees space as a frontier of human opportunity and plenty, and wants to direct space policy toward opening it using the traditional American tools of entrepreneurship and competition (unlike most people on the Hill who care about space, who only do so as a means of national prestige and jobs in their states and districts). It’s hard to tell how Mitt Romney views it, since he has not offered an alternative to Gingrich’s vision, but by denigrating the development of new resources because it’s a little too ‘far out,’ he comes off as someone who not only has given no serious thought to space policy other than as a cudgel against his political opponent, but as a soulless technocrat. To me, it was worse than his ten-grand-bet gaffe.”

Read the whole thing. Er, especially if you do issues work for Romney . . . .

UPDATE: By way of background — including for you Romney issues people — try reading this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “Well considering the Chinese view a lunar facility part of their long term goals, Tom Friedman ought to be a Gingrich supporter right? Heh.”