Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Congratulations, you've been nominated by the President....

Should you ever hear those words, how should you behave? There is a useful survivor's guide. At it's heart are the so called "Korologos Commandments" - a succinct set of rules suggested by Republican aide and lobbyist, Tom Korologos. He served as US Ambassador to Belgium - but is best known for his experience in assisting people facing nominations.

* Model yourself after a bridegroom at a wedding. Be on time, stay out of the way and keep your mouth shut.

* Before confirmation, give no speeches, write no letters, make no public appearances. Senators do not like to read about grant plans of an unconfirmed nominee.

* You may have been a brilliant success in the corporate world or some other field of endeavor, but the Senate expects you to be suitably humble and deferential, not cocky.

* There is no subject on this Earth that the Senate is not free to probe. Be ready with polite and persuasive answers.

* The purpose of the hearing is to get in and get out. Follow the 80-20 rule. If the senators are talking 80 percent of the time and you are talking 20 percent, you are winning … If it’s 60-40, you’ve got a problem. If it’s 50-50, you’re losing and the confirmation is in trouble.

* The Constitution stops at the hearing room door. There are no rules of evidence …. There will be hearsay questions, irrelevant questions and even some stupid questions. Be ready for all of them

C-SPAN recently broadcast an hour's presentation (available here) on  testifying before Congress - by William LaForge, who has recently published a handbook of the same name.