Highlighting “the dismantling of the space program over the last four years,” Paul Ryan said in Orlando on Saturday, “Today, if we want to send [our] astronaut[s] to the space station, we have to pay the Russians to take them there. [The crowd booed at the thought.] China may someday be looking down on us from the moon. That’s unacceptable. Mitt Romney and I believe that America must lead in space.”

Ryan declared, “I think it’s important that we have a space program that has a clear mission…and a space program that is the unequivocal leader.” He added, “We don’t have that right now.” Ryan argued that the space program “strengthens the entrepreneurial spirit and commercial competitiveness,” that it “launches new industries and new technologies,” and that it is “an integral part of our national security.”

This is a smart pitch on the part of the Romney-Ryan campaign. As the recent death of the humble and heroic Neil Armstrong reminds us, the torch of American greatness must be passed on from generation to generation. As four years of President Obama has shown us, a president with sufficiently low horizons (redistributing wealth and socializing medicine) can spend unprecedented sums of money while simultaneously making America smaller. We need a president who can do the opposite.

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