Stupid, Even By D.C. Standards

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - February 20, 2008
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It shouldn’t take long to see if Roger Clemens’ three-day whistle stop tour of the nation’s capital - which included meetings with 24 Hill residents - will have its intended effect. If we take Rep. Tom Davis’ (R-Va) comment at face value that “someone is lying in spectacular fashion about the ultimate question,” then the next step in Clemens vs. McNamee is an investigation by the justice department. Such results, however, are not always available in the city with an oral lobbyist fetish.

Going after Brian McNamee would be simple. He’s a nobody with no friends, and punishing him for soiling the name of the Republican favorite would be easy. But proving he did so would be much tougher, faced with corroborating statements from former clients. Clemens, while easier to prosecute, is safer from the threat of possible prosecution because, well, he’s Roger Clemens.

Most who have testified before such a body aren’t able to name-drop about a deer-blind phone call of support from a former president who just happens to belong to the same party as those roasting his antagonist. Nor do they have questioners falling over themselves to expound the heroic acts of a man who tossed a ball for a living.

Rep. Dan Burton left little doubt regarding his allegiance as he railed against McNamee saying, “Roger Clemens is a titan in baseball and you with all these lies, if they are not true, are destroying him and his reputation. Now how does he get his reputation back if this is not true, and how can we believe you because you’ve lied and lied and lied and lied?”

What was expected to be nothing more than popular topic-posturing turned into a partisan love fest where each side praised the particular enemy with whom they’d prefer to sleep, but the Republican from Indiana wasn’t the most pathetic member of the Beltway circus.

No, the prize for biggest suck up does not go to the congressman who allegedly threatened Major League Baseball with an investigation after a group including Democratic Party spendthrift George Soros made an initial play for the Washington Nationals. That honor actually goes to a trio of GOP blowhards who treated Clemens like an NRA lobbyist.

Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) displayed photos of Clemens to show how his body had not changed over the years saying, “You appear to me about the same size in all those photos. It doesn’t appear [your] size changed much.” The photos, by the way, were exactly the same as those in a 62-page document Clemens’ team gave to reporters prior to the hearing. The honorable representative from the great state of North Carolina also grilled McNamee if he planned to write a book and sneered at him saying “We’ll see about that” when he answered no. Fortunately, Foxx solidified her claim as an impartial observer by being seen giving Debbie Clemens a hug following the proceedings.

Joining Foxx on the Clemens appreciation committee was Carolyn Maloney (R-N.Y.), who thanked him for his service to the New York Yankees and, maybe most pathetic, Rep. Eleanor Norton, who commented “All I can say, Mr. Clemens, is I’m sure you’re going to heaven.”

While the Republican side of the committee did the most to steer clear of contesting Clemens on the inconsistencies of his testimony, to be honest, the Democrats had their share of sucking up as well. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) admitted the big right-hander was “one of my heroes” while discrediting Clemens’ testimony. William “Lacy” Clay (D-Mo.), who could have been one of Foxx’s lap dogs, asked what uniform he’d be wearing upon induction to the Hall of Fame

Who the hell cares?

With a nation at war, gas prices choking the economy and Gulf state residents still in need of a place to live more than two years after a massive storm left them homeless, it is unconscionable that a group of elected officials, whose job it is to take care of such problems, would put aside such concerns in order to suck up to an athlete who seems to have adopted the Pete Rose defense - arrogantly lie while the evidence mounts.

“No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored,” said Clemens channeling the all-time hits king. “I know a lot of people want me to say I took steroids and be done with it. But I cannot in good conscience admit to doing something I did not do, even if it would be easier to do so.”

Though Burton claimed to have seen no evidence that Clemens used steroids in his attack on McNamee, he should have heard enough to question why the Rocket was allegedly getting shot up with Lidocaine for various injuries after Dr. Arthur Pappas, medical director for the Boston Red Sox for 25 years, told investigators the drug is used only as a local anesthetic mostly in combination with other injections that include, according to a New York Daily News article, steroids. Burton is correct that there was no smoking gun, but there are plenty of powder burns to raise the suspicion of anyone actually concerned with getting at the truth.

With baseball being exempt from the nation’s anti-trust laws, Congress has some oversight into what is going on and, to be fair, if it weren’t for their grandstanding nearly three years ago, baseball would not have a drug testing program, the Mitchell report would not have been instigated, and Bud Selig and Donald Fehr could continue to hide behind their clouds of lies. So maybe some good could come of the hearing.

But if this is where it ends, at least we have the magnanimous Clemens to help us through the dark times.

“If I am guilty of anything it is of being too trusting of everyone, wanting to see the best in everyone, being too nice to everyone.”

Thanks, Rog.

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