College professor gets some licks in against Don Young in hearing on ANWR

Congressional hearings are rigged, but occasionally you can insult congressional tyrants-

Public hearings before Congress are hardly ever disinterested forums for gaining policy knowledge. They are mostly set up by the majority party to move or retard legislation or score some political points. Hearings are used to make it appear the public is listened to, or allow groups to let off steam, but members of Congress hardly ever have the inclination to let themselves be informed or swayed. The swaying, if any happens, comes through party leaders, powerful groups, campaign donations, and rarely by a lot of interest from the public.

The congressional hearing is also under nearly absolute control by the committee chair, ranking member, ranking minority member, and the member asking questions. Testimony allowed is usually brief. The panels of those testifying are stacked. The fact this college professor (Douglas Brinkley) was able to insult wildlife enemy congressman Don Young of Alaska is a rarity. Young, the epitome of someone who hates meritocracy, was left cursing and sputtering and fun to watch.

Douglas Brinkley and Rep. Don Young in committee hearing smackdown (video). By The Reliable Source. Washington Post.

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Another take on this. Professor Spars With Tree-Hating, Gnome-Like Congressman at Hearing. Gawker







  1. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    “Hearings are used to make it appear the public is listened to, or allow groups to let off steam, but members of Congress hardly ever have the inclination to let themselves be informed or swayed.”

    Sure we’re not talking about the IDFG commission?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Jeff E.

      I’d say that public hearings of many kinds are a ritual to make it appear that the public is listened to — that democracy exists and remains intact.

  2. Virginia Avatar

    From what I have read about this hearing, Douglas Brinkley (a very noted historian) reminded Don Young that he is employed by the taxpayers and therefore needs to listen when we speak. Young is someone who definitely feels entitled to his position and that gives him the right to talk any way he wishes to a constituent. What a tool!

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      Don Young is a jerk, and he should be in jail like all the other corrupt politicians from Alaska. Mr Young is the only registered trapper in Congress. I have heard him comment before that he has no problem using the steel-jawed leghold trap…..Once again the lack of the empathy gene rears it’s ugly head.

      1. James Avatar

        Don Young is a Neanderthal, and that is a bit of an insult to Neanderthals.

  3. Nancy Avatar

    And a couple of days later, the heated exchange finally makes it all the way to the national news – NBC featured it tonight but focused on the aide in the background and her reaction, rather than what the exchange was about.

    1. Virginia Avatar

      I saw that, Nancy, good old Brian Williams focusing on the reactions of an aide sitting behind Young instead of the real story – please give us a break! I read about this hearing and Young’s disgusting attack on Professor Brinkley on the Dailykos on Monday as well. The media takes its time catching up on stories like this – when they finally run out of news about the Kardashians (whoever they might be) or what the new British princess wore to a fete yesterday.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan