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Friday, February 15, 2008
More on the Politics of the Clemens Hearing

Following up on the strange (and inappropriate) political divide in Wednesday's hearing is this piece in The New York Times. (H/T: Paul Horwitz).

Several things to highlight, which confirm or address comments to the earlier post:

1) Rep. Souder (R-IN) said word got back to him prior to Wednesday's hearing that Clemens is a Republican and that he has met and spoken with President Bush. And no doubt that was a major topic in the private meetings Clemens had, at least with GOP members.

2) Waxman says he regrets having the hearing because it was unnecessary--they found out most of what they needed to know from the pre-hearing depositions and affidavits and Waxman (perhaps in consultation with ranking member Tom Davis) wanted to cancel as late as last Friday. Waxman says the hearing went forward because Clemens and his lawyers wanted the chance to defend himself in public, a charge that Rusty Hardin vehemently (because Hardin does not do anything non-vehemently) denies. But Clemens no doubt regrets having the hearing, as well--it seems as if public opinion now is strongly against him and DOJ and the FBI seem likely to convene an investigation, with or without a committee referral.

3) The story cites an anonymous GOP staffer as saying that the GOP attack on McNamee and coddling of Clemens all was a proxy attack on Waxman. GOP members "reflexively" did not want to help Waxman and thought they could score political points by showing that this is not something with which Congress should be concerned (a major talking point on Fox News Wednesday evening). But they could not make the none-of-our-business argument explicitly or directly attack Waxman for holding the hearing. Because it was Davis, as chair in 2005, who first thrust Congress into the middle of this controversy. Amazing stuff.

More: Sunday, 1 p.m. C.S.T.:

Two commentators from Slate, one political and one sports, on the bizarre political divide over Clemens, with a sharper focus on Clemens as an important FOW. Money line from Metcalf, arguing that the "truly sad revelation behind the Clemens-McNamee face-off: How deeply ingrained the habits of bad government have become in recent years."


Interesting points, but I always get a bit suspicious when the Clinton Times cite to an "anonymous GOP staffer"....

Blogger Jimmy H -- 2/15/2008 12:44 PM  

Think what an incredible statement Waxman has made. He says the Committee did not want the hearing but held it because Clemens and his attorneys wanted one. So he had a critical United States Congressional Committee waste a day on a hearing held at the behest of a single individual. Good thing there were no other important issues to tackle. And if that is to be beleved, Rusty again chose noise over silence and had it backfire.

Blogger Alan Milstein -- 2/15/2008 1:43 PM  

what? this wasnt the US Congressional Committee on Baseball Affairs? then what are people voting on?
(Partisan Sarcasm Intentionally Omitted)

Blogger Jimmy H -- 2/15/2008 1:51 PM  

"because Hardin does not do anything non-vehemently"

That is beautiful, just beautiful.

Anonymous David -- 2/15/2008 4:17 PM  


I actually do not necessarily have a problem with it. If we start from the premise that the investigation was a legitimate exercise (let's use our imaginations) and the committee's private fact-gathering revealed Clemens to be the target and that target wanted a chance to respond in public, I think principles of fair process and open government support the committee agreeing to that--sort of a "day in court" idea. Not constitutionally required, but justifiable.

As for Hardin, has he made a single decision in this entire debacle that has not backfired?

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 2/15/2008 5:48 PM  


I can go along with that theory, and even accept all the assumptions... But, in that case the hearing should have been fair and unbiased. This hearing was neither. the Dems attacked Clemens and the Reps attacked McNamee... that alone would make it a a waste of time just like alan said...

wow...It scares me to find myself on the same side as Alan...


Blogger Jimmy H -- 2/15/2008 6:30 PM  

Very funny.

Blogger Alan Milstein -- 2/15/2008 9:40 PM  

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