In many cases, public congressional hearings are used merely as opportunities for Congressmen to grandstand and help their own image - and dragging in the guy who ran the salmonella-infested peanut plant strikes me as just such a situation. However, in this particular case, I will give props to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Sometimes, bad guys need to get their comeuppance publicly - and Stewart Parnell got his in a big way today.
I'm sure a lot of you have seen pieces of this on the news, but I really think you need to watch the whole 4 minutes to see just how much of a laughingstock this guy made of himself. It's one thing to take the fifth when asked if you committed a crime, but it's downright ridiculous to take it when you're merely being asked if you heard the previous testimony. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) did a great job asking just enough questions to make a fool of this guy, and for not letting him go before making sure that Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) got to ask the question that ended up on every nightly newscast in America.
There might not have been much using in brining this guy in in the first place, but it was first-class political theatre. Good work by the bipartisan tag-team of Stupak and Walden.