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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."