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September 27, 2007

Ode to CSPAN


Lately, the little television in the space between my desk and my boss’ has been tuned to CSPAN or one of its stepchildren (CSPAN 2 and CSPAN 3) more often than CNN. So instead of poorly produced infomercials for knives that can cut through whole buildings with a single slice and never dull, I’m treated to the theater of national politics.

And I find it highly, highly amusing.

When the sound is muted I enjoy looking at the expressions of people in the background of whatever’s being filmed. They obviously don’t know that the cameras covered in cloth so as to blend in with the wall hangings connect to a portal that broadcasts their mugging to every American astute enough to tune in to this glorious channel.

During the Patraeus reports, the channel was especially lively as members of antiwar group Code Pink repeatedly interrupted the proceedings to heckle senators as the committee chairman’s calls to order were fruitless. There was also that fun, 10 minute pause as the “report of the year” stalled when they tried to get Dave a microphone that worked.

The war stuff in general is just priceless because these politicians get SO worked up about it. This column in today’s Washington Post by Dana Milbank did an excellent job of painting an image of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.).

Check it:

"I am disappointed," Byrd said as if the witnesses were children. "This committee will not -- N-O-T, not! -- rubber-stamp every request." Theatrically, he drew out his words: "Trillionnnn." "Breathing roommmm."

After watching the proceedings yesterday, I think Byrd has become my favorite senator. And this information from Milbank’s column only stoked the fire for me:

In April, he had identified himself as "Popeye the Sailor Man" and delivered a 15-minute discussion of his dog at a Senate hearing. In June, he had found it necessary to deliver a speech on the Senate floor objecting to reports that "I am at death's door."


  1. Very clever post. It's fun to have an inside-the-beltway perspective--even if it's by way of C-SPAN.

  2. robert byrd is one of my favorites as well. I also really appreciate Senator Kennedy, well honestly any of the old Senators. Their speeches are the most theatrical.

    Oh CSPAN! Always there to entertain!