Watching the spate of committee hearings on Capitol Hill related to the Obamacare launch debacle reminds me of a story — or, rather, an ongoing type of coverage — that I wish the Washington Post, Politico or even C-Span would do: Keep count of the percentage of time each senator or congressman talks versus the amount of time the witnesses, whose appearances are ostensibly the purpose of the hearings, get to talk.
A sub-tally might also be done of how much of the committee member’s time is spent even asking a question, as opposed to giving a speech.
At most hearings each committee member is usually allotted five minutes to question the witness. My informal count of what I’ve watched over the past few weeks had the members hogging three to four minutes each, sometimes more.
This would make a nice sidebar to any story about a hearing. And perhaps an award could be given out at the end of the year for the member of the Senate and the House who took up the most time. Who knows? Keeping a visible count like this might even turn the hearings into hearings.
2. The French as the tough guys:
I may have missed this because I don’t follow foreign affairs as much as I should, but it would be great to read an explanation of how France — in fact, France run by a Socialist — has become the toughest member of the NATO alliance. Whether it’s Mali, Syria and now the Iran nuclear negotiations, the country that former George W. Bush defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed as part of a timid “old Europe” now seems to want to be the West’s leading hawk.