The Third ‘D’: Data, Dogma and Demagogues

Although I didn’t watch the entire hearing chaired by Senator Cruz earlier this week, I watched enough to be deeply unimpressed. Almost ‘D’-pressed.

Two people with the microphone did their jobs well–Admiral Titley, with a no-nonsense exposition of the consensus view, and Judith Curry, with a brief recapitulation of the problems that consensus view has yet to address.

Watch it here:

The politicians did not acquit themselves well. Senator Cruz was the calmest of the Senators and would have gotten a passing grade from me if he hadn’t used really wrong statistics in some of his charts.  His summing up at the end also left a lot to be desired.

My fellow Democrat, Senator Markey was horrible, sounding ill-informed and authoritarian at the same time. The low point of the entire proceeding was when he insinuated that Judith Curry, author of about 200 peer-review papers on climate change, a well-respected climate scientist, was a climate change ‘denier.’

Clearly, with the exception of Curry, those invited by Senator Cruz arrived with no intention of changing anyone’s mind. John Christy, who I interviewed for and found to be delightful and informative, and William Happer both basically could have phoned in their testimony using material they have been taking from one conference to another for years.

Mark Steyn was his usual inflammatory self, but it didn’t go over as well without the humor that usually makes this acerbic conservative commentator entertaining even to those of us who disagree with his positions.

Former Admiral Titley was unquestionably the star of the show. He’s had a lot of practice talking to the upper echelons of the political establishment and it showed. He was calm and collected and Cruz didn’t really have an answer for him.

In this current zero-sum atmosphere, Titley won the show for the consensus. If Senator Cruz wants to use climate change in his campaign for the Republican nomination, he needs to get educated, coached, schooled–whatever–pretty quickly.

As for Senator Markey, he represented what I have come to consider the worst side of the Democratic establishment, ignorant, not interested in learning, dogmatic and yes, at the end, demagogic. Senator Markey, who has read from ‘The Lorax’ on the Senate floor and whose qualifications for his present august position include driving an ice cream truck for several years, is the antithesis of what I want from my party’s leaders. He showed that he knew next to nothing about climate change during this hearing. He also showed clearly why that no longer matters.

Casting the point of view of the political establishment as equivalent to Galileo is demagoguery. Calling distinguished climate scientists ‘the last redoubt of denial’ is demagoguery. Everyone in the room was stupider at the conclusion of his remarks by the nature of his having made them.

Here is just Markey by himself. It’s shameful.


Where demagoguery fails it is not for lack of demagogues, but their underestimation of those to whom they preach.

17 responses to “The Third ‘D’: Data, Dogma and Demagogues

  1. One very good thing that Steyn did was force Markey to defend his position when initially he wouldn’t give Curry the right of reply to the insult. Once Markey started, it was obvious he didn’t know what he was talking about. That showed him up as the blustering bully he is.

  2. I thought Markey’s knowledge base and style was nearly identical to that of the President’s. You do know that Prof. Happer had just been the victim of a pathetic attempt at an ambush by Greenpeace? But since this is one of the first venues where skeptics have actually been allowed to speak I think they did ok. And yes, the Admiral has had a lot of practice echoing the dogma.

  3. I was waiting for Markey to say, “I read a pamphlet, so I know what I am talking about.”

    • I do have to admit that compared to Obama’s ignorant, childish, insulting ways, Sen. Markey tries hard but still falls short.

  4. I live in Massachusetts, so Senator Markey is one of my senators. It was bad enough when he was a Representative from this Commonwealth, but he was not my district, thankfully. Secretary of State Kerry, a former Mass. senator, who considers climate change to be “the greatest challenge of our generation”, is also not an asset to the discussion.

    John Adams would be appalled.

  5. Tom, I’m not sure that I understand the source of your admiration for Titley’s performance – apart from your apparently mutual belief in the “dangers” of the dreaded CO2 and/or conviction that a “Carbon Tax” and/or facsimile thereof will magically make our world a better place.

    Not to mention your mutual membership in the echelons of the Obama admiration society. See:

    To be honest, I’d never even heard of Titley the “expert” **(according to his PSU bio) before he decided to dance with the obnoxiously ill-mannered Markey – again. IMHO, his July 2014 “testimony” before a Markey-led stable could easily have been written for him by a member of the IPCC’s team of PR pap writers. See: which, for the record, contains 6 “coulds” and 6 “mays”.

    ** Have you ever noticed that those whose actual academic accomplishments are extensive rarely – if ever – describe themselves as “experts”. Yet, those whose demonstrated accomplishments and academic achievements (such as Titley and his fellow PSU faculty member, the Mann-omatic one) are minimal at best, are rarely – if ever – hesitant to describe themselves as such?!

    Had I been in Titley’s shoes, I’m fairly certain I would have found some way to decline what must have been Markey’s invitation to this week’s dance!

    Perhaps your “assessment” of the participants is hampered by your failure to view the entire video. Whereas my views are coloured by having watched the whole thing, as well as the utterly disgusting pre-hearing Greenpeace attempted ambush of Happer – and some parts, more than once.

    • Well said, Hillary.
      However Titley and Markey are two peas in a pod. Titley would never be able to push his derivative bilge in a well contested forum. He would be in trouble in the shallow end if the public square was a pool.

    • My admiration for the Admiral is based more on style than content, although he wasn’t horrible there either.

  6. Difficult to disagree with anything you said. I positively disliked Markey, rather liked Titley, Thought Judith performed quite well.

    However, I thought Steyn was better than I expected-I have criticised him in the Past. Cruz was Ok, but I don’t see him as President.

    As for showing Mr Goddard’s charts…I thought they had no place at a Senate hearing. Mind you the whole thing seemed very staged and inconsequential and I can’t see it changing the minds of any of the two warring ‘tribes.’


  7. Let me make it clear that when I say I rather liked Titley I was referring to his personality. His knowledge of climate wasn’t really tested by the soft questions lobbed at him by his own side


  8. Steyn’s commentary is interesting. Apparently these guys give their speeches ask a question then leave the room while the other Senators are asking questions.
    They also don’t even bother with the opposition witnesses. Asking Titley about the satellite record while John Christy is at the table?

    • Presumably there are two possible reasons for that:

      The first is that they had no idea who christy was

      The second possibility is that they didn’t want to learn anything new from the expert on the room


      • Great insight. The Senators supporting reasonable inquiry should have been better prepped by their staff. A few questions to establish that in fact the Admiral is just peddling his argument based on his position would have been quite useful.

  9. Why do you feel driving an ice cream truck is something to be mocked?

  10. I was rather disappointed that Cruz wasn’t better prepared when the 97% consensus came up repeatedly since just a few days or weeks prior he kept getting beat over the head by the President of the Sierra Club with the 97% consensus 2 by 4. He should have been far better prepared because that is a major handrail for the Alarmists. I think we need a new poll, but one that is run by polling experts (two to check each other), where the questions are public knowledge, where the respondents positions are kept secret so that they can answer honestly (use the same firm that has kept Obama’s college transcripts secret – probably the best kept secret in modern times), but where the tabulators also know which respondents have or are receiving federal money for climate research. The Democrats will fight this tooth and nail.

  11. Ronald,
    We are in a brave new world. Climate imperialism is the new regime. The climate demagogues have basically won.
    Things will not go well.

  12. Pingback: David W. Titley and Xtreme Weather | The Lukewarmer's Way

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