This is bigger than you realize, yes nasa did it in 1964 in what is essentially a lewis & clark type exploration project, the mercury / gemini / apollo series of flights.
This is different than 1964 its akin to the opening up of the railway systems in the east that eventually lead to the transcontinental railway. Spacex is just the first company to get there under their own steam. Yes they have government contract, but they developed their own medium lift vehicle powerful enough to launch a man rated space craft into orbit. that is the Dragon space capsule. They did it all in house at a fraction of the cost of the defunct Aries & constellation projects. The dragon now needs to go through a full vetting process to get it man rated but even then it will take 3 years, that will still beat the first full up test flight of the Aries by 3 years[nasa's best guess]. The best part of this is it was done privately for a fraction of what the public sectors failed attempts cost.
The Republicans, well, they are just upset the Democrats killed Aries thats why they are kvetching on this, I say if Elon wants to win this hands down, press to get the dragon man rated in 18 months. As there are plans to get the Constellation project restarted already afoot