Sad, pathetic…those are just two words that could accurately describe the scene at a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, aimed at the issue of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On stage, front and center, undeniably arrogant professor Douglas Brinkley, and a congressman, who by definition is someone with questionable esteem, Rep. Don Young, Republican of Alaska. It was little more than a schoolyard joust, that did nothing more than waste time.
It started by Young referring to the Brinkley, a Rice University professor and so-called historian, as Mr. Rice. Brinkley, apparently presuming he’s from the everyone-knows-your-name club, interrupted to set the record straight on who Young was addressing, and informing the congressman that Rice was a university.
Young reportedly told Brinkley to “be quiet”, and went on to say that members of his committee were the ones to ask questions and that Brinkley was merely there to respond. To ignite the flames further, Young insinuated that the hearing was an exercise in futility.
He didn’t like the idea of Brinkley’s interruption and referred to the ever full-of-himself prof as an ivory tower elitist. Young lost his composure entirely when he said, “Boy, I’m really pissed right now.”
Okay, enough said. I mean, no one expects Alaska to elect Mensa caliber representatives, or even governors for that matter. Consider that pseudo moose-hunter, former Gov. Sarah Palin. On that I rest my case.
Why Brinkley, who we’re told and often reminded is quite bright, would fall into an obvious trap and appear before a committee that will ultimately do nothing to protect whatever is there in what Young called a “nothing” kind of place, is beyond me.
In the end, the actions of the two verbal jousters set a poor example for anyone watching.
I can just imagine the thoughts going through the minds of visitors to a House committee hearing for the first time, presuming (incorrectly, for the most part) that this is the way of Washington.
They just need to know that this wasn’t a typical exchange (at least I hope not), but rather an example of when a highly arrogant individual gets involved in a contest with someone whose interest in hearing an opposing side ranges between zero and none.
No one wins.