* The Reality of Washington Hearings
Wednesday saw a Senate hearing on the cruise industry in the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller. Purported experts who generally were critical of the cruise industry testified as well as Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein and Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill.
Most of the time, the focus was on safety, with lots of grand theater and the senators enjoying their time in front of the cameras appearing to be watchdogs for the safety of American consumers. For their part, the cruise line CEO’s generally did a good job of defending the industry’s record, although none of the industry’s detractors acknowledged it. The cruise lines are going to work with Congress on that - to a point - and the news media ate that up. But right at the end of hearing - in literally the last minute - Rockefeller brought up another issue that most of the media ignored, but it is where the cruise lines won’t cooperate and where, if Rockefeller weren’t a lame duck (he will not run for reelection next in 2014), there could be a fight to the death.
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