Author Topic: Dana Rohrabacher--net positive or negative influence on USA space program?  (Read 2594 times)

Online zubenelgenubi

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I waited a couple of days to post this--I wanted to think about asking this question in a (semi-)open forum.

(I'm surprised no one here's brought up the subcommittee Q&A I've linked below yet.)
***

Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science Committee from 1997 to January 2005.

He's currently vice-chairman of the same subcommittee.

He's served as a Congressman since 1989.

We had this from him in the subcommittee hearing on the 18th.
<opinion>
His opening statement seems to ramble a bit.
His questions appear reasonable, and he has a good point that NASA should prove the ability to return rocks from Mars before trying to return people from Mars...until we get to about 5:07 in the file:
</opinion>



>>>
Rohrabacher: "You have indicated that Mars had, was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?

Kenneth Farley, a Mars 2020 project scientist: "The evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago. There is no evidence that I'm aware of."

Rohrabacher: "Would you rule that out?  See, there are some people that...well anyway..."

Farley: "I would say that is extremely unlikely."
<<<

What's going on here?


I found a previous discussion in a 2014 forum thread illuminating:

I've been observing these hearings for a very long time (since the mid-1990s), often in person where I've been able to watch the body language of those present. And yes, there are some members of Congress who regularly demonstrate their uselessness on this subject. I know that lots of space geeks worship him, but they don't seem to understand that despite all his time in Congress, he has a relatively paltry legislative record. And for the most part his colleagues don't take him seriously. It is not that they disagree with him: they don't respect him.

I can't say that I agree with you. Rohrabacher is the vice-chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology.

He managed to get the worst provisions out of the 2013 House NASA Authorization bill. More specifically, the provision that provided that the NASA Administrator would be elected every 6 years by an independant body was taken out because of his actions. He also had the language forcing cost plus contracts on commercial crew taken out of the bill. There is a reason why he is popular among space geeks. 

See this thread for a prior discussion of these points:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32171.120

Is Mr. Rohrabacher a net positive or negative influence on the American space program?
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 10:18 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Online Coastal Ron

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IIs Mr. Rohrabacher a net positive or negative influence on the American space program?

When compared to a number of members of the Senate, it's hard for me to say that Rohrabacher has had much of an influence in the past 8 years or so. And his disdain for the SLS has not endeared him to many on his House committee either.

Plus now he's getting attention for his Russia enthusiasm, which is counter to the vast majority of his party.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline QuantumG

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Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Blackstar

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I waited a couple of days to post this--I wanted to think about asking this question in a (semi-)open forum.


Like I wrote before, his colleagues don't take him seriously.

Offline guckyfan

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He takes on the role of court jester is my impression. He sometimes speaks inconvenient truths and seen as a jester he gets away with it. But what do I know? I am an outsider.

Offline AncientU

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I waited a couple of days to post this--I wanted to think about asking this question in a (semi-)open forum.


Like I wrote before, his colleagues don't take him seriously.

And his colleagues are Congress critters...

Overall, Congress has done NASA and the USA space program a HUGE disservice by making it into a pork dispenser.  His 'leadership' has at a minimum been an an accessory after the fact.
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Online zubenelgenubi

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He takes on the role of court jester is my impression. He sometimes speaks inconvenient truths and seen as a jester he gets away with it. <snip>

Your comment sparked a thought:
There appear to be similarities between Rohrabacher and the late James Traficant (D-OH).  Their service in Congress overlapped by several years.

Some snippets of Traficantisms:



Like I wrote before, his colleagues don't take him seriously.
Here's a question for everyone; hoping it's not too off-space-topic:

If Rohrabacher and Traficant (and others like them) are perceived in their legislative house as American versions of Babylon 5 Season 1 Londo Mollari's or worse, why do the majority of their constituents re-elect them term after term?  If their representative is not taken seriously, doesn't that damage the interests of the constituents?

(Yes, most Congressional districts are (legally) gerrymandered to ensure re-election of the incumbent, Democrat or Republican.  Why aren't the "jesters" removed via primary challenge?)
« Last Edit: 07/21/2017 04:03 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline JH

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Why do the majority of their constituents re-elect them term after term?  If their representative is not taken seriously, doesn't that damage the interests of the constituents?

Even among those who vote, almost none pay close enough attention to know how well respected their member of Congress is within government.

Almost every member of both the House and the Senate is far more popular within their own district/state than Congress as a whole is. Therefore, even if they knew what congressional colleagues thought, they probably wouldn't care.

Offline yg1968

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It's funny but when people ask whether habitable exoplanets have civilizations, it's a good question. But when a Congressman asks a question about civilization on Mars, it's a stupid question. Mars had oceans billion of years ago, so it's actually more likely to have a civilization than a "habitable" exoplanet. 

If a question like Rohrabacher's helps to debunk the beliefs of people that see stuff on Mars (because of some strange NASA images) that is a good thing.

Plus, Hillary Clinton made very bizarre comments about UFOs on Jimmy Kimmel. She seems to believe in them but nobody said anything about that.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2017 11:42 PM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Why do the majority of their constituents re-elect them term after term?  If their representative is not taken seriously, doesn't that damage the interests of the constituents?

Even among those who vote, almost none pay close enough attention to know how well respected their member of Congress is within government.

Almost every member of both the House and the Senate is far more popular within their own district/state than Congress as a whole is. Therefore, even if they knew what congressional colleagues thought, they probably wouldn't care.

Ted Cruz was not respected by his peers in the Senate. That actually helped in the Republican primaries in 2016. Congress as a whole is very unpopular. Being seen as an outsider is a good thing.

Offline Rocket Science

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It's funny but when people ask whether habitable exoplanets have civilizations, it's a good question. But when a Congressman asks a question about civilization on Mars, it's a stupid question. Mars had oceans billion of years ago, so it's actually more likely to have a civilization than a "habitable" exoplanet. 

If a question like Rohrabacher's helps to debunk the beliefs of people that see stuff on Mars (because of some strange NASA images) that is a good thing.

Plus, Hillary Clinton made very bizarre comments about UFOs on Jimmy Kimmel. She seems to believe in them but nobody said anything about that.
Seeing UFOs is fine, seeing aliens is a whole n'other matter... ;) ;D
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Offline yg1968

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Offline Blackstar

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There appear to be similarities between Rohrabacher and the late James Traficant (D-OH).

Traficant served seven years in prison. Rohrabacher has not been to prison yet.

Offline yg1968

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There appear to be similarities between Rohrabacher and the late James Traficant (D-OH).

Traficant served seven years in prison. Rohrabacher has not been to prison yet.

He is not being investigated for anything. So your "yet" is misplaced. On the other hand, it does show your bias.

Offline Danderman

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Dana Rohrabacher was one of the original sponsors of the Launch Services Purchase Act, which established the commercial launch industry.

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