For starters, lawmakers could increase the amount of time allowed for questioning by staffers, who tend to have more expertise, more time to prepare and less incentive to showboat. Under the current rules, House committees have the option of allotting a single hour for questioning by the staff, to be divided equally between the minority and the majority. Why not bump that time up to two hours — or three?
Hearings could also be flipped to bring the staff into the process earlier, when viewers are more likely to still be paying attention, rather than after everyone has endured multiple hours of lawmakers’ playing to the galleries.
Another possibility: Restructure the way members conduct their questioning. All the ping-ponging between Republicans and Democrats, each with only five minutes, ensures that no one can construct a remotely cogent narrative. Many barely have time to finish their opening rants.