Some consider these “show votes” increasingly tedious and counterproductive. The process has left some rank-and-file lawmakers less engaged. And greater media attention has made the public more aware than ever that some proposals are just for show.
“I guess I did show votes,” former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) mused Wednesday during a visit to the Capitol.
He said that during his reign in the late 1990s, those first votes usually had a clear purpose: setting up a final showdown to which almost everyone knew the outcome. But these days, even that small measure of certainty is missing.
“Does anybody know the endgame here today? Everybody’s so frustrated, they’ve all got a hangdog look,” Lott said of his former colleagues.
Perhaps the biggest change in the decade since Lott ran the Senate is the sheer willingness of leaders to admit their political intentions.