Friday, February 10, 2006

So Hear This

It is now clear that senate hearings have descended into the margins of political discourse. The reason for this is a mixture of those Howard Hughes hearings in the filum, and a right-wing plot. How else to explain the ability of legislators again and again to turn one of their few remaining chances to control the workings of government into such an unedifying spectacle?

I don't often catch them, what with having a day job and all that. But the pomposity of the average senator always takes me aback, especially when quite a few of them can be much more charming when being interviewed. It's clear right now that it's in the interests of the Republicans to bore as many people as possible with the proceedings, since they're the ones doing the unspeakable acts. But why Democrats such Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden insist on droning and preening so much eludes me. I suppose that's what happens when fewer former prosecutors get to the top in politics.

And then there's Norm Coleman, the preternaturally vacant and unpleasant senator from Minnesota, and inheritor of the great Paul Wellstone's seat. The man is very good at using senate hearings to make unpleasant characters more likeable. First he did it, as we recounted, with George Galloway, and it was up to a UK celebreality show to remind us what a chancer Galloway is.

Coleman then spent this morning making Michael Brown, the man that ran FEMA while it let New Orleans drown, look like a sympathetic character too. You honestly can't think of any other reason for the performance but that he got a call from up top in the Republican leadership to make Brown look bad (rather than the president), and was simply too dim to take care of the call properly. I guess he gets a consolation prize from the fact that his performance makes the senate hearings, and thus congressional oversight, look toothless. But he makes himself look very silly.

The Make Up - "Come Up To The Microphone"
I implore you, not for the first time, to buy "In Mass Mind" here


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