Of course much of government is largely conducted in empty rooms, but I can't remember thinking of it that way before. These senators weren't orating to us, up in the balcony, or even very much to each other. Their audience was whoever happened to flip through channels and pause on C-Span for a moment. Their charts were reiterated from the day before. Their points were largely along the lines of, "As I said earlier..." or "As I was saying yesterday..." It wasn't debate. It was filling time by looking good.
Some of them might even sound good, but most were waffling on, deliberately filling time. I was grateful for McCain, who still had wit and a spark of life in him, despite the emptiness of the room's grandeur.
It began to seem like a pageant, each senator coming on when the script called for it, otherwise off in the wings, doing business, on vacation, not cluttering up the stage.