Meet the new "Oxmeter"
Posted March 1, 2011 6:28 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2011 7:13 p.m. EST
They don't call it the "deliberative body" for nothing.
The Senate, a smaller body than the House, gives its members a lot of freedom to talk at length on bills, amendments, points of personal privilege, and so on. The chamber's culture includes a lot of tolerance for speechifying on the floor.
But eventually, even senators run out of patience – especially when someone's holding forth for 10 minutes on a bill that isn't controversial, or delivering a flowery speech that appears to be aimed more at the folks back home than to the Senate proper.
That's where the Oxmeter comes in.
No one around today could quite recall how it got started. But at some point in the last 25 years or so, the Democratic leaders came up with the idea of a "trophy" for long-winded orators: a huge, shiny air-pressure gauge on a pedestal, usually delivered with a flourish to the offending speaker by Tony Rand or David Hoyle.
When Hoyle retired from the Senate last session, the Oxmeter was officially retired, too. But the new GOP leadership resurrected the concept today with a new trophy "designed" by Sen. Stan Bingham. It looks like something Wile E. Coyote might have ordered from Acme in the old Warner Brothers cartoons, a mess of wires and gauges and red sticks of fake "TNT."
Sen. Tom Apodaca smiled and pointed to various Dems as the new trophy was introduced. But the minority got a jab in, too: Sen. Clark Jenkins offered up another award, a beanie with propellers he called the "Bob Rucho cooling-down instrument" for superheated oration.
Watch it here: