Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Senate and Debates

In watching the endless opening statements of the Senate Health Committee (June 17, 2009) and the various speeches on the floor of the Senate, it is clear that the U.S. Senate is NOT a deliberative body. The Senators speak at each other. They never engage with each other.

The Republicans repeat the same phrases over and over (as do, of course, many Democrats). But they just spout, they don't argue or discuss. When a Republican talks about government bureaucrats interfering in the doctor-patient relationship, a Democrat can't ask that Republican about the interference of private insurance committees. Similarly, when Republicans deride Comparative Effectiveness, Democrats can't ask them about decisions made by clerks in insurance companies.

It may make these "debates" more civil, since we don't see the shouting matches all too common on TV, but it also makes them incredibly frustrating because there is no way for the observer to find out if there is any thought behind the boilerplate phrases.

1 comment:

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