The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-08-2013, 12:36 AM
Quintas Quintas is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Whats the purpose of congressman giving speeches to an empty room?

Is there a rule that to get something on record it must be in the form of a speech? What's going on when a member of congress is giving a speech from the house chamber and there's one half asleep staffer in the entire auditorium?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-08-2013, 02:57 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
Head Cheese
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: El Cerrito, CA
Posts: 2,589
It gets the speech into the Congressional Record, so that it can be referred to when the member is talking to constituents (especially when campaigning).
__________________
'Tis a pity that I have no gravy to put upon Uncle Hymie.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-08-2013, 03:04 AM
Glazer Glazer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
For Senators it could be a Filibuster.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-08-2013, 03:40 AM
septimus septimus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman View Post
It gets the speech into the Congressional Record, so that it can be referred to when the member is talking to constituents (especially when campaigning).
But isn't actually speaking unnecessary for that purpose?

"Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in the Congressional Record."
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-08-2013, 04:40 AM
njtt njtt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Isaac Newton, when he was a professor, often used to lecture to an empty room. It was part of his job description that he had to give regular (I think weekly) mathematics lectures, but his material was so advanced, that few if any of the students could understand it, and, as most of them were studying to become clergy or lawyers, they did not really need higher math anyway, so very few of them ever attended his lectures. His lab assistant, Humphrey Newton (no relation) reported that "Ofttimes he did lecture to ye walls."

On the other hand, when he was an MP, later in life, the one time he spoke in Parliament was to ask that the window be closed, because there was a draft.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-08-2013, 05:22 AM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
It also provides video footage of him giving an important-sounding speech to the House (they don't show the rest of the empty chamber). Hopefully that footage will be shown to his constituents on the local evening news or in campaign ads. And, hopefully, he will not say something incredibly stupid that will be shown on the comedy shows and in his opponents' campaign ads.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-08-2013, 05:27 AM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glazer View Post
For Senators it could be a Filibuster.
Ah, the good old days. Now they just file a statement of intent to filibuster, the Senate takes a cloture vote, and everyone says "Don't bother. You win. Let's move on to something else." Yes, occasionally a nostalgia-buff like Rand Paul will actually filibuster, but hardly ever.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-08-2013, 04:14 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
How much of this talking to a seemingly empty room is done for C-span?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-08-2013, 04:16 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
"Delivered on the Floor" sounds much more impressive than "handed to the Recorder for inclusion in the Record".

Sometime I wonder what it would have been like to have simply everything phrased as a speech.

The Gettysburg address was an afterthought - the primary speaker that day was someone who spoke for 2 HOURS. Straight. The golden age of Oratory.

Somehow a 5 second sound bite seems do hollow.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-08-2013, 04:22 PM
snowthx snowthx is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
It also provides video footage of him giving an important-sounding speech to the House (they don't show the rest of the empty chamber).
Yes, this is what I think - when Ted Cruz was blathering for all those hours, the camera was fixed on him and his maunderings, but I wanted it to be turned around to show who was actually there watching him. Is this what we pay our representatives to do?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-08-2013, 05:39 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowthx View Post
Is this what we pay our representatives to do?
Just imagine how much damage they'd do if they were actually doing things. Let them talk to empty rooms, it's cute and it keeps them out of trouble.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-08-2013, 05:51 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW.
Posts: 4,635
Well, from my days as an Senate Intern, I can add that the audio ( and maybe video now too) is broadcast throughout the Senate Office Buildings, so other members of the Senate could be listening to the speech even if the Chamber is empty.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-08-2013, 06:18 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
Well, from my days as an Senate Intern, I can add that the audio ( and maybe video now too) is broadcast throughout the Senate Office Buildings, so other members of the Senate could be listening to the speech even if the Chamber is empty.
I hope they can turn that feed off. Otherwise the Senate Office Buildings sound like some level of Purgatory.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-08-2013, 06:20 PM
Glazer Glazer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Or at least a staff member. Who'll later give his Senator a brief summery.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-08-2013, 06:34 PM
48Willys 48Willys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
Just imagine how much damage they'd do if they were actually doing things. Let them talk to empty rooms, it's cute and it keeps them out of trouble.
It also keeps us out of trouble.

As Will Rogers used to say; "Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-08-2013, 09:25 PM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
Head Cheese
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: El Cerrito, CA
Posts: 2,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowthx View Post
Yes, this is what I think - when Ted Cruz was blathering for all those hours, the camera was fixed on him and his maunderings, but I wanted it to be turned around to show who was actually there watching him. Is this what we pay our representatives to do?
When C-Span was new, Tip O'Neill did this - he once ordered the cameras turned around to show that someone was addressing an empty house. It caused a bit of a stir at the time.
__________________
'Tis a pity that I have no gravy to put upon Uncle Hymie.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.