This year has seen no shortage of seemingly pointless hearings, where candidates make fools of themselves only to still be appointed to their designated role anyways. Some notable examples:
- Betsy DeVos was unable to answer basic concepts about education at the house hearing
- Ben Carson didn't want to talk about the budget of the agency he was appointed to control
- Scott Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times to get them to stop doing their job, a fact which came out during his hearing as EPA head
- Tom Price had enormous conflicts of interests during his time as a state representative, and was also unable to give details on what he planned to do to fix Medicare and Medicaid beyond lofty superlatives (link)
- The latest hearing for Brett Kavanaugh is also turning out to be quite the stage for dramatic political theatre, complete with protestors, yelling, accusations of partisanship, and other stupidity.
Despite all this seeming idiocy, these hearings don't seem to have any use beyond letting everyone know that the person who is about to be in charge of <organization> is an incompetent goofball.
So, with that preamble, my question is why do we bother having these things? What goal do they serve? A secondary and related question is, are they actually serving that goal well in the current hyper-partisan political climate?