Tech Patriots and Dana Rohrabacher

This isn’t the newest of news, but I’ve been pretty busy lately so I’m trying to catch up on the blogging. Anyhow, a few weeks back, I found out that there is a movement to try and help Dana Rohrbacher move up in the Republican leadership for the space technology committee he’s currently on. Being a libertarian, who usually votes for people who I know have no chance of winning, I usually don’t endorse politicians like this, but I think it’s worth an exception to my normal policy this time. Dana was one of the only voices for sanity on the House Science and Technology subcommittee during the NASA budget hearings this year. I’d like to see someone like him setting up actually balanced hearings instead of the space-celebrity jokes that passed for hearings this past year. If you’re the sort that supports commercial space, and donates to politicians, you might want to check out the Tech Patriots group that Dana’s supporters setup.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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11 Responses to Tech Patriots and Dana Rohrabacher

  1. Neil H. says:

    Woah, Elon Musk is hosting a $1000/head fundraiser for Rohrabacher at the SpaceX factory? That’s rather above my price-range, but I still think that’s -very- interesting.

  2. Bennett Dawson says:

    If I lived within driving distance, I’d be seriously tempted. But if I lived that close I wonder if I would have manged to get hired (I can sweep and cook) by now (or at least go on a few tours)? 🙂

  3. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    Tours at SpaceX are fun–those guys run a seriously sweet shop.


  4. Brian Swiderski says:

    It’s a tragic comment on the Democratic Party that a guy like Elon Musk has no one better to turn to than Dana Rohrabacher for support of common-sense space policies. I’m actually embarrassed for my party on this. Rohrabacher is a climate-change denier – about two IQ points above a Creationist – and yet he’s apparently the point man on humanity’s future. Strange bedfellows.

  5. Mike Puckett says:

    “Rohrabacher is a climate-change denier – about two IQ points above a Creationist”

    Then that puts him about 50 I.Q. points above they hyper-partisan knuckle-dragger who made post number 4.

    Just becase you can see the stars from down in the gutter Brian, does not mean you have to feel entitled to stay there. It wouldn’t kill you to grow up a bit.

    I have contributed to Dana in the past and will continue to do so.

  6. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    Hey Brian, Mike,
    Let’s tone it down a bit, please? I think there are more tactful ways of saying a) “I disagree with Dana on a ton, but for space he really seems to be one of our better hopes” on the one hand, and b) “I don’t like liberals, but think that even they should support Dana if they support space”. I know I sort of invited this by making a political post, but let’s try to keep things civil.

    ~The Management

  7. Brian Swiderski says:

    Good point, Jon. Sorry to have reacted with such ferocity on a subject that really doesn’t require it. Rohrabacher is good for space industry and bad for science – I guess that’s all I really should have said.

  8. Roga says:

    I’m sorry to prolong this but – how is Rohrabacher bad for science? And what is the evidence he is a climate change denier? And what is a climate change denier? I’m really curious about this. Politicians tend to give precious few clues about what they think in truly measurable areas like science. I have seen real evidence Rohrabacher is a rational person not afraid to bring up unpopular questions during the Augustine hearings, I would like to know what his track record is on other similar areas.

    Before I hit “submit,” I will admit that I am generally skeptical of the label of “climate change denier” because I see it lobbed against so many people for the very scientific act of questioning conclusions and making difficult but reasonable cost/benefit choices. However, I am a supporter of Rohrabacher because of space, and I am always a little worried when supporting politicians that I am only getting part of the story, so enlighten me.

  9. Brian Swiderski says:

    Rohrabacher is dismissive – not merely skeptical, but utterly and angrily contemptuous – of the overwhelming, multi-generational scientific consensus that human industry is responsible for the consistent increase in global temperatures since the industrial revolution. I’ve personally seen him comment on global warming in various media, and it’s not pretty.

    Still, his dogmatic free market ideology has proven useful to the legitimate cause of Newspace. He is not, as most of his Republican colleagues are, an adherent of fascist economics – he appears to sincerely believe in genuine laissez-faire capitalism rather than merely using it as a tool of convenience to increase corporate power over government. This is a good thing in an industry held in thrall to Alabama political sleaze and ossified bureaucracy. He is useful on behalf of this issue – and not many others.

  10. Randy Campbell says:

    Uhm, I’d also point out that Rohrabacher has a position of “No funds for anything that might be used for a Mars or Lunar mission” that lead him to (among other things) cancle all funding for NASA work on the TransHab development program, which (granted) let Bigelow pick up the scientist from the program for a song when NASA was forced to shut it down. However he THEN went back and ordered NASA to not only restrict the research, but then ordered them to destroy all the stored data!

    And Mr. Rohrabacher was quite OPEN about this because he saw development of the TransHab as directly related to possible use on a Mars mission and for that reason stated that he could not and would not support development of, use of, the technology by NASA and that as such NASA should NOT allow access to the data!

    He held an “open” hearing on TransHab prior to killing the program and despite lengthy and well reasoned arguments for continuation of the program his only “concern” during the hearings was “Could this be used for a manned mission to Mars”

    Since the answer was “yes” (technically what really CAN’T be linked with a manned mission to the Moon or Mars for that matter?) he still cancled the program.

    I’d really suggest the “Tech Patriots” (and Mr. Musk) look into Mr. Rohrabacher’s past record before they endorse him. His consistant “sound-byte-support” of the March-Storm meetings on Captial hill, and Mars Society hearings and breifings are invariably followed by active obstruction and non-support from Mr. Rohrabacher and his office and for the life of me I do NOT understand how he continues to act this way and STILL get the support of the space activist community?


  11. Randy,
    I’ll admit I wasn’t following space politics quite so closely back in 1999 (I was still a teenager then), but based on Dana’s track record since then, I’m more than willing to give him a pass. Not having access to his exact logic at the time, it’s hard to make a judgement call, but he’s been one of the biggest supporters of commercial space since then, so even if he made a bad call on one project a decade ago, I still think he’s one of the best voices for sanity in Congress on things related to space.


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