Guide For Participants in Congressional Hearings

Tillerson HearingWatching coverage over the past few months of Congressional hearings on Cabinet nominees, and now on the “Russian invasion” against the U.S., I’ve had a strange sense of déjà vu — kind of like “I’ve seen this movie before”. After thinking that through a bit, I realized that this feeling stems from the fact that these hearings are precisely like last year’s hearings on the Benghazi embassy attack, the Clinton email scandal, etc. The only difference between the former group of hearings and the current group is which party is taking the “half full” view and which party is taking the “half-empty” view [see my post “Fake News”? (Or Is It Just Meaningless “News”?) for more depth on that phraseology]. In the former hearings, questions from Republicans stemmed from a half-empty view [where there’s this much smoke, there must be a fire somewhere], and questions from Democrats stemmed from a half-full view [there is no evidence / this is just partisan witch-hunting]. In the current hearings, questions from Republicans stem from a half-full view [ditto previous translation], and questions from Democrats stem from a half-empty view [ditto previous translation].

This was kind of an epiphany for me — the seed of an idea that has now developed into the Guide For Participants In Congressional Hearings that I am announcing via this blog. I think you will agree that if this catches on, it will be a huge time-saver for our dedicated public servants in both branches of the Legislature, freeing up hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of person-hours of staff time devoted to preparing them for these kinds of hearings. This freed-up time, then, can be devoted to actual productive work — the possibilities are mind-boggling. There will, of course, be a time of transition to allow our legislators and their staffs to get their “sea legs”, since atrophy has already set in from the long dearth of productive activity. I am confident, however, that those with any signs of life other than a pulse will be able to rise to the occasion.

So Here It Is! … [Cick Here For Fanfare]

Step 1 — Participant Profile Development

Just answer these simple questions:

    • I am a __Senator __ Representative from __ [State] {if Representative, __ Congressional District}
    • I caucus with [__Democrats __Republicans] {Check one (If you think you are truly “Independent”, see Note 1)}
    • I am considering running for President in 2020 or 2024: [__Yes __No __Maybe] {Check one}

Step 2 — Subject Of Hearing

The purpose of this Hearing is to {Check one}:

__ 1 Confirm somebody nominated by the President [who is in my party] for _________________ [Position]

__ 2 Confirm somebody nominated by the President [who is in “the other party”] for _________________ [Position]

__ 3 Investigate this issue raised by my party: _______________________________ [Issue]

__ 4 Investigate this issue raised by “the other party”: _________________________________ [Issue]

Step 3 — Generation Of Initial Opening Statement And Question List [Automated Step]

A draft Opening Statement will now be generated, followed by a preliminary list of questions for you to ask at the Hearing.

Step 4 — Review And Screening Of Initial List [Manual Step Now, But See Note 2]

If you checked #1 or #3 in Step 2, the Opening Statement will have an overall tone that is positive and supportive, and questions will be what you might call “soft” — e.g., “Do you think being a Supreme Court Justice is an honor, and do you feel that you are qualified for this role?” If you checked #2 or #4 in Step 2, the Opening Statement will have an overall tone of skepticism and cautiousness, and questions will be what you might call “hard” — e.g., “Since your controversial Smith v. Brown ruling was overturned on appeal, have you stopped issuing rulings that reflect your personal ideological positions — please answer Yes or No?”

All you have to do is check the items you want retained in the final list — and if you wish, make edits in your Opening Statement. Be aware, however, that the automatically-generated information stems from a very sophisticated algorithm that is designed to maximize your chances of re-election, so by making edits you may be unwittingly reducing those chances.

Step 5 — Generation Of Script For Hearing [Automated Step]

This is what you will need to have with you in the Hearing. For maximum effectiveness at the Hearing, you should read through this very carefully in advance, paying particular attention to the embedded tips on optics [voice intonation, facial expressions, hand and body language, etc.].

Step 6 — Participation In Hearing

Don’t forget to bring your script, and as you give your Opening Statement and ask your questions, to pay very close attention to the imbedded tips on optics.

Step 7 — Review Of Transcripts From Hearing [Partially Manual Step Now, But See Note 2]

First, run the transcript text through the screening agent that is part of this guide. It is designed to find excerpts that best relate to “hot button” issues that will resonate with your particular constituents. From the generated list, pick those you feel are best suited for incorporation into your overall campaign strategy, and refine them into “talking points”.

Step 8 — Resume Daily Routine

Keep campaign talking points handy at all times, and actually memorize the ones you think are most critical to your re-election. You never know when a media pundit may want to interview you, and maximizing public exposure is a critical part of any re-election campaign strategy.

That’s It! … It’s That Simple

Once you’ve used this guide for one Hearing, you will have mastered the technique. Using the guide for future Hearings will be as easy as falling off a log — and you will have the satisfaction that you are making your party proud! [Except possibly not if you checked Yes or Maybe to the Step 1 question “I am considering running for President in 2020 or 2024” — the output from Step 3 might have produced some items that will ruffle the feathers of your party’s leadership.]

Note. … this Guide is available only to Legislators as an App for Apple and Android devices. It is not available to the general public because that would allow their constituents to see what drives the thinking of their elected officials on a day-to-day basis. That, in turn, would likely result in a massive “un-election” of all incumbents over the next three election cycles. Although I think that might actually be a good thing, I’d hate to think that I was the cause of such a massive upheaval that the country might not be quite ready to absorb.

What Readers Of This Blog Post Can Do

Send this link to this post to the two Senators from your state, and to the Representative for the Congressional district in which you reside.



  1. There is no need for you to proceed. This Guide will only be useful for legislators who understand current reality. Keep yourself informed about it, though — as the Paradigm Shift that is now underway intensifies, this guide will either a) be updated accordingly or b) become obsolete and no longer useful [see the page A Major Paradigm Shift Well Underway at this site].
  2. The basic technology to automate major parts of, and ultimately all of, these steps already exists. However, providing that level of automation will require considerably more time. Because so much legislator and staff time is currently being wasted, I felt that focusing on getting out a workable initial version was most important right now; hence this release being announced today. I’ll follow up with future enhanced versions that will automate these steps.

img_7026 Charles M Jones

Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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