Partisan Chin Music
I don't know how many people watched those dreadful steroids hearings this week, but Waxman himself says now that he thinks they were a mistake. (He claims that he was given little choice by Clemens' attorneys, but whatever.)
But I was struck by something very odd in the hearings that made no sense on the merits, which Christine Daniels of the LA Times wrote about today:
Usually in this country, baseball partisans are paying customers who shell out for peanuts and hot dogs, move the turnstile, crack open the Cracker Jack and root, root, root for the home team.
They are not, traditionally speaking, members of Congress batting around the issue of Roger Clemens and steroids as if their party affiliation was a logo emblazoned across a cap and jersey.
Wednesday's congressional hearing on the Mitchell Report introduced us to two new influential political action groups:
Republicans for Roger Clemens.
Democrats for Brian McNamee.
You could hear in their voices and see it in their demeanor as representatives from both sides of the aisle took turns at firing/lobbing questions at Clemens, embattled baseball legend, and McNamee, former personal trainer for the legend and the man who claims he injected Clemens with steroids.
Rep. Dan Burton, Republican from Indiana, called Clemens "a titan in baseball. All these lies, if they're not true, destroy his reputation."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland, told Clemens, "You're one of my heroes, but it's hard to believe you."
Burton told McNamee, "This is really disgusting. You are here, under oath, yet you have told lie after lie."
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Democrat from California, said, "I think McNamee has a lot of credibility."
Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican from North Carolina, looked at photos of Clemens taken at various stages in his career and told the pitcher, "You appear to me to be about the same size. It doesn't appear to me that your size has changed."
On and on it went. Now batting for McNamee, a Democrat. Coming in to pitch for Clemens, a Republican.
The battle lines were so obviously and outrageously drawn according to party affiliation, Rep. Tom Davis, Republican from Virginia, revealed some true colors as he posed a question for McNamee while alluding to the grilling Clemens was taking: "Since the other side seems to be focusing on Mr. Clemens, I will direct my questions to you."
Bush, you'll recall, defended Rafael Palmiero when this whole thing was first revealed. Even the question of drug use is a partisan issue.
I confess that when I saw Dan Burton out there railing like his old self, like he was getting ready to go shoot a watermelon with a picture McNemee's head on it, I was a little confused. Since when are Republicans the big softies toward people accused of drug use?
And then I realized that it's because steroids aren't a drug used for pleasure, which we know is a big no-no. They are drugs used solely to give users an edge that others don't have. Of course they are protective of a big, white Texas boy using steroids to win by any means necessary. It's a fundamental conservative value!
Update: I missed this earlier. According to FDL, sports radio tuned into these silly hearings and are up in arms at some of the Republicans who made asses of themselves. Don't mess with sports fans. Big mistake.