Don Young made "Captain Zero" a well known nickname for Sean Parnell. He pounded the point home when debating Parnell by running circles around our verbally challenged governor. This is not a particularly difficult task since Gabrielle Ledoux, better named LeDud, made Parnell look foolish as well.
Our lone Alaska US Representitive does not have much tact. Every Alaskan knows it and many Alaskans love him for it.
DY can get away with being one of the biggest pork spenders in Congress and still pretend to be a conservative. It fits in perfectly with the false individual independence Alaskans love to display.
The problem with not having tact is you better get things right. To that end a US congressman has an army of staff to research where things may go in any interaction.
As a gun advocate, DY should understand that you better be ready to take fire if you shoot. DY recently took a shot at Professor Douglas Brinkley. The exchange took place at a hearing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Dr. Brinkley has left political leanings. He wrote a book, The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House, about Jimmy Carter that many feel was instrumental in the former president winning a nobel prize. Speaking of undeserved nobel prizes, he also was asked to help write an essay for the Official Inaugural Book of Barack Obama. In 2004 he wrote Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.
The reason Brinkley was at the hearing was a book he wrote about the history of environmentalism with regards to Alaska, The Quiet World, Saving Alaska's Wild Kingdom: 1879-1960.
Young grandstands with the best of them and he started out on the money that day. He was completely correct to state that there was nobody in the room who was going to change their mind. It is a truth that is distorted all the time by Senator Mark Begich who cannot name one politician he has converted despite promises to do so.
Brinkley is no Captain Zero. Young left the door open when he mistakenly called him Dr. Rice. Zingers only work if you land them appropriately and Young sprawled on the ice instead.
It turns out Brinkley was better prepared than Young. Brinkley pounced on Young. He sarcastically pointed out Rice was the name of a university.
Young went straight into panic mode. "I will call you whatever I want!" was his retort. It ranks right up there with, "I know you are, but what am I." It was like watching DY channel his inner Sarah Palin.
It set the stage for Brinkley to land another punch. He ridiculed DY's education effectively. He was able to point out Young was likely not paying close attention. It was at that point that mommy had to come in and save DY in the form of Rep Doc Hastings (R-WA).
Hastings mispronounced "faux pas" much like a fellow Washington resident Geoff Tate did "raison d'etre" in the Queensryche song I Don't Believe In Love. He also managed to fumble Dr. Brinkley's title referring to him as "Mr." He sounded as ridiculous as Young did. They were only missing the third stooge in the comedy routine.
After the bleeding stopped for DY he was able to finally get back on point. He actually did a nice job of getting back to grandstanding and making a decent case for ANWR.
DY then failed again to stay on message by attacking Brinkley for not working in the private sector. It was revisiting Brinkley's point that he works in the private sector. Young opened up his wound instead of finishing strong on ANWR.
Brinkley has continued to take cheap shots at Young since the altercation. He has always been a hero on the left but he is making the most of his 15 minutes of fame.
Brinkley is a typical academic. Many of his views come from the shelter of never having to survive in the real world. His statement that he is from the private sector when government money keeps every university afloat, including Rice University, is preposterous.
Congress members often attack people who testify. We have all seen oil company executives bashed. We have all seen baseball players get grilled. And if you want to be a Supreme Court justice, you better be ready to step up. In the grand scheme of things calling somebody's work "garbage" as Young did may be borderline but on the mild side for DC.
Young, to his credit, is taking advice he gave to Brinkley and being quiet. The statement from his office has been that Brinkley is just trying to sell books. Yes, Don, he is, and you have just made him a lot of money.
As much as I agree with DY on this one he made sure Brinkley will get a wider audience. So much for acting in Alaska's best interest.
It is a safe bet that Brinkley would beat DY at Jeopardy but in this forum Brinkley should have had no chance. Somehow DY managed to make Brinkley look like the capitalist private sector guy instead of the academic elitist.
Captain Zero, are you taking notes?