The next two weeks could be a seminal time for Viceroy Gerst. As Sen. Stickman places a finger on his chin, rolls his eyes skyward, and rhetorically says, "There is some political center slow-walking this, and I don't know what it is, who it is, or why. But all the competition has either dropped out or been put somewhere else." Or perhaps shot out of the sky by the Stick of a man in Florida like so much skeet. The upshot of all this indecision leaves the shadow Viceroy in a strong position to employ a little reverse psychology on his own.
Come Wednesday, with the stroke of a pen, the Viceroy will bring one of GAO's 13 urgent national issues to a head. He will start in theoretically irreversible earnest to shut down and retire the space shuttle. By Friday, his actions will have the Stickman burning, booming, and wiggling like an Ares-1 on lift-off. And that is exactly what the Viceroy hopes to see in order to save his anachronistic program.