"I wonder if a better space related election year idea would be for the Republicans to openly suggest that space settlements should be the goal of our national space effort and give a list of simple to understand reasons why."(link)
First off, no matter what I read the probability of anyone fabricating a 62,000 mile carbon nanotube cable, attaching to it a large mass sattelite in space and a sufficient facility on the ground all to make an illustrious "space elevator," not to mention doing all of this on the cheap, are pretty remote. The facility and insurance costs on something like this would be mindboggling - though I'm free to admit it's still a very remote possibility.
Whittington's suggestion I think is unrealistic given the political climate - but his line of thinking is sound. Maybe not "Settlements" but a Lunar "Settlement" could be an election year promise. It need not be an extravagant government run affair - they could involve private industry. The most noble course of action could be a proposal to provide incentives for Lunar settlement. Don't make any specific number promises - or if so make them small... Though I think this is what Mark had in mind in the first place just on a large scale.
This would add to the whole "Vision Thing" that is so necessary in an election campaign. Vote GOP and vote for America inherenting the stars... That's something to think about.