You thought our "do nothing" Congress couldn't be more despicable?

16 of 18 Senators walk out on Seth Rogen before/while he makes an passionate plea for more help com batting Alzeimer’s Disease. Honestly, the disconnect and lack of empathy between our Congress and the U.S. Citizen (unless they’ve got lobby money) is disgusting. No doubt if Seth Rogen was representing an oil company they would have stuck around for the extra 15 ,injures or so to actually listen. Mark Kirk is especially despicable having the gall to tweet as if he cared… while walking out before he even heard the speech.

If some state legislator sponsored a bill allowing restaurants and other small business to refuse the custom of any sitting senator or congressman, I think I’d donate money.

You don’t need a bill for that- being a federal legislator isn’t a protected class in terms of discrimination.

Most members don’t stay for speeches. They come and go during speeches all the time. It is rare for them to stay the whole time and usually only for big hearings where they can get spotlight airtime.

This is not a big deal and seems overblown given what I know of hearings.

Yes, I know. It was a joke.

Yes, whether they stay for the hearing or not has nothing to do with whether they’ll support legislation, which is really the important thing.

The optics are certainly terrible though.

Currently being rocked by a pizzeria in Tucson. Apparently the only legislator that’s come in since it went up brought a printout of the vote on the anti-gay bill so he could point out his no vote, and he was permitted to enjoy pizza as a result.

Having sat through dozens and dozens of hearings over the years, I can confirm what wahoo says. There have only been two or three hearings I can think of where members weren’t constantly going in and out. Members often have two (or three) simultaneous hearings going on, plus votes on the floor, meetings, etc. This is definitely being overblown. That said, if I were Rogen, and didn’t know that it would happen, I might be offended, too. From an inside the beltway perspective, whoever recruited Rogen for the hearing should have made him aware this would happen.

Are the hearings relevant to the decision process? I have always assumed that how legislators vote is solely determined by the usual mix of 1) Polling data, 2) Money and 3) What their leadership tells them to do. Other than the rare “Mr Rogers Testifies” moment, how often does somebody change their position due to a hearing?

fwiw, I imagine a scenario where Rogen did know this would happen, but he’s using it as a chance to go viral for a good cause.

What’s the point of showing up at a meeting then walking out just 2 minutes later, no less interrupting someone while they’re trying to make a cohesive speech? Why even show up in the first place when it’s going to be so disruptive while they get up and leave?

Rogen said many of them showed up to have their picture taken with him.

Pretty much.

You show up to express support…but then they’ve got committee meetings, staff meetings, constituent meetings, etc. to do.

Meetings like this usually involve a fairly endless stream of testimony and speeches. Senators and staffers come and go throughout such meetings.

If you want to see “do nothing”, make these folks sit through these types of speeches instead of doing the kind of multitasking a legislator is pretty much obligated to do nowadays.

“Well, I was going to vote for it anyway so why stay for the speech”.

It’s an odd catch-22: Senators generate these fluffy, camera-ready, soundbite-friendly hearings. But the Senators themselves don’t really have enough time in their day to hang around fluffy, camera-ready, soundbite-friendly hearings since they actually have the serious business of governing the country to do.

Somewhere, there are professional staffers who will deliver 5-minute summaries on what Rogen testified to, including whether or not it is politically expedient for the Senator in question to support or oppose the proposals. Those same staffers likely sat through the testimony (possibly watching it on CSPAN while doing other work) and may actually have been involved in getting Rogen to testify in the first place. Based on those briefings, the Senators will decide what they will do - write some legislation; attach their names to someone else’s legislation; support or oppose whatever legislation is generated; blame Obamacare; etc. This is the system working as designed… just not the system we imagined from our gradeschool sociology classes.

I think they likely could have time if it mattered to them. Thing is they do so many of the things that none of them matter beyond something they can say at an event later on (or on Twitter or whatever). I mean two managed to stay and it’s not like Harkin doesn’t have “better” things to do, he’s been there for a while and is a pretty important Senator.

“I care about X, here I am with Y when they came to Congress to talk about it.” = why most of them go.

In reality, getting lunch is probably a higher priority.


Read up on the insane time investments they need to put into fundraising.

Senators (by design) actually put in less effort towards fund-raising than Congresscritters do since they serve longer terms than event he president. And yeah, I knew that putting “serious business” would draw a few smiles, but as someone who has worked around the Senate, they DO put in long hours and [most of them] DO actually take much of this stuff seriously. If they get nothing done at the end of the year, it’s not because they’re out golfing the vast majority of the time… though to be fair they do play a lot of golf.