If you want to know whether your congressperson or senator is doing a good job, pay attention to the questions they are posing, especially in the Cabinet hearings. Way too frequently, appointees are being asked if they believe something in particular.
Asking what a candidate believes means: The questioner
Is simply ignorant and does not know how to elicit information.
Is throwing the candidate a softball question impossible to screw up.
May be making a coded statement: Every question has a statement behind it.
In any case, there is no perjury or accountability when you believe
I can believe anything I want. For example, I can believe that alien space vehicles have been entering our stratosphere and heating up the entire globe. That can be my belief, and you can do nothing to disprove it or hold me accountable. It is a question that invites an imprecise or useless answer.
Instead, they should be using directed questions such as whether one has “evidence to the effect that,” or “that can substantiate their position,” for example, on global warming. “Specify the most important studies you have read” on a particular topic.
You would think a sitting Senator or Congressperson would know better, or at least be concerned about embarassing themselves.
The following note was sent to Sen. Kamela Harris regarding her questioning of Dir. of National Intelligence, James Clapper on the 10th:
You used the following question to Jim Clapper on Jan 10,” Do you believe your education efforts of the Trump transition team have been effective?” One can believe anything she wants and not be held accountable for it. How could anyone possibly perjure oneself in answering that question? However, if questioned about “what steps I have taken to eductate the Trump team,” “what specific indicators there are that Trump is disposed to attributing credibility to the intelligence community,” that leads to a response that is substantive. Please pay attention to the use of “believe” in your questioning, for it is not only the “ultimate softball” but is beneath the dignity of a Senator to pose unless interest in an individual’s beliefs in particular.
I will be adding to this list, for almost every day I hear someone pose this question, for which there is no accountability.
Here is Carl Bernstein commmenting on Kellyann Conway acting as a Propaganda Minister, while he falls into the “believe” pit.
And you can deconstruct it and it comes down to, ‘Look the chief officials of the United States intelligence community believed they had something urgent enough to bring to the attention of the president and the president-elect of the United States. ‘That is a story.’”