Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Do the ayes really have it?
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Jul 16, 2018
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It might be useful to compare the modern Congressional hearing to a football huddle, in which the people attending the hearing are “teams,” each attempting to come up with a “play” in which each team member will be assigned responsibility to “block” a specific “defender” so that a “fullback” will be able to carry the ball through a “hole” in the “line” and get into the “end zone” for a “touchdown,” which will cause every Congressman to exchange “high-five” handshakes on his/her own side of the aisle and slap each other on the “butt.” Blunt force trauma is the blue-plate special for the other side of the aisle.

Truthfully, a better analogy would be to compare the Congressional hearing to a funeral, in the sense that you have a gathering of people who are wearing uncomfortable clothing and would rather be somewhere else. The major differences are that:

Usually only one or two people get to talk at a funeral; and
Most funerals have a definite purpose (to say nice things about a dead person) and reach a definite conclusion (this person is put in the ground), whereas Congressional hearings drone on until the legs of the highest-ranking person present fall asleep.

Also, nothing is ever really buried in a Congressional hearing. A point of view may LOOK dead, but it will always reappear at another hearing later. If you have ever seen the movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, you have a rough idea how Congressional hearings operate, with motions and appeals that everybody thought were killed, are constantly rising from their graves to stagger back into the hearings and eat the brains of the living.

Congressional hearings operate the way “Show and Tell” operates in nursery school, with everybody getting to say something, the difference being that in nursery school the kids actually have something new to say. When it’s your turn at a Congressional hearing (“The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Rhode Island.”), you curl your upper lip like a junk yard dog, froth at the mouth, and strike the air with your lethal talons.

While one Congressman has the floor, some of the highly-paid, elected officials in their comfy leather chairs are having elaborate sexual fantasies. Others spend their non-speaking time doodling on a yellow legal pad. At the top, they write the date and underline it twice. To keep from falling asleep, they draw interlocking rectangles. As time moves along, the open spots in the date are filled in with the writing utensil. Sometimes when Congressmen of the same political party are sitting together, they can use their notepad to discuss various other Congressmen at the hearing.

“El Dorko.”