Quotation by D.W. Brogan

As debate is rare in the House of Representatives, since nearly all real business is done in the committees, it is very natural that such debate as there is should be very oratorical, should be "sounding off," not discussion. And this is one of the reasons why public speaking in America is still so rhetorical, why audiences for example do not often "heckle" a speaker, bombard him with questions, or embarrass him with ironical applause or laughter. It is almost as rare to interrupt a political speech as it is to interrupt a sermon. In the Senate, things are different. Any senator who can get the floor can talk as long as his wind lasts. He cannot be out of order unless he takes the most extravagant liberties. So Senate debates are often lively, often educational. They are very different from the formal pieces declaimed in the other house, or even printed and sent to the voters without being spoken at all. A senator has to persuade his colleagues, even those of his own party, or he has to intimidate them, and so the Senate has a high representation of public speakers who can discuss as well as declaim.
D.W. Brogan (1900–1974), British political scientist. The American Character, pt. 2, ch. 3, Knopf (1944).
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