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Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The (Party) Politics of Steroids

I will leave to others to discuss who came out better in Wednesday's hearings, except to note that you can find as many opinions as you can find voices. Some "Clemens looked better" voices are here (where commenters already are weighing in) and here; some "Clemens is toast" voices here and here.

But a question for anyone who watched, listened, or read about this:

What explains the apparent party-line split as to who seems to believe and support Clemens and who seems to believe McNamee? McNamee was attacked (quite personally, actually) by Republicans Dan Burton (who called him a liar), Christopher Shays (who called him a drug dealer), and ranking member Tom Davis (who acted as Clemens' counsel at a couple of points, jumping in to counter challenging questions directed at Clemens and asking the toughest questions of McNamee). Sharp questions were directed at Clemens by Democrats Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings. One legal commentator expressed doubt that any request to investigate one or the other for perjury or lying-to-Congress would have bipartisan support.

Why the divide?


Excellent question Howard. Maybe because Clemens is a good ol' boy. It scares me to find myself on the same side as the republicans.

Blogger Alan Milstein -- 2/13/2008 9:40 PM  

(1) Republicans view it as a matter for baseball to resolve; keep the govt. out of business, including baseball's business; (2) Public health issues are not a huge priority to Republicans, so if somebody wants to smoke, drink, and do drugs, then that's their own personal choice; (3) Republicans are not typically proponents of the principle of in loco parentis; and (4) Republicans don't like to see somebody trying to bring down a top performer (Clemens, or "titan" as stated by one congressman) with accusations that can't be substantiated.

Democrats think the reverse of what I just said.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 2/13/2008 10:27 PM  

As to # 1, the first hearings on this nonsense were convened in 2005, when the GOP controlled the House and this Committee. As to # 2, I vaguely recall the GOP occasionally taking a somewhat strong stance against people who want to make the personal choice of doing drugs.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 2/13/2008 10:34 PM  

How many professional athletes contribute to the GOP? I believe that especially baseball players, the distribution is pronounced towards the GOP.

Blogger qtlaw24 -- 2/13/2008 11:26 PM  

"It scares me to find myself on the same side as the republicans." This pretty much sums up all your postings on any subject, Milstein. Good job!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/14/2008 7:20 AM  

Also, Democrats can't stand to see a wealthy person get an unfair advantage. I think they would be more sympathetic if it was a high school, college or minor league player sitting in Clemens' chair.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 2/14/2008 8:12 AM  

This was Rich Man vs Poor Man. Guess who the GOP lined up behind, with a Fox News flourish of jingoism. Burton, Isso, Shays, Foxx: they all but chirped "Thanks for the signed balls, Rocket!"

Only one witness in this case has taken a substantial loss in income and reputation - McNamee, never more than a gofer in this drama, who's now broke, unemployable and vilified. No grandstanding cheering section for goony-looking McNamee at these hearings. That, for me, indicates truthfulness overall.

It's true he lied previously - mostly to the press, never while under oath and almost entirely to avoid naming Clemens. Got smeared as a disgusting lower order of vertebrate and drug dealer - in front of millions of people, and by some of our most august fixers and charlatans - regardless.

If yesterday's Congressonal circus at McNamee's expense taught me anything, it's never to cooperate with the government unless coerced. Remember: they doubtless threatened to take everything away from him unless he came clean. Then he did; and they took everything away from him anyway.

Anonymous Sick Dr Joe -- 2/14/2008 8:47 AM  

Maybe if Clemens were still a Red Sox instead of a Yankee, the dems would have been on his side.

Blogger Alan Milstein -- 2/14/2008 10:48 AM  

Clearly the Dems are more interested in protecting Sen. Mitchell. If it were an ex-GOP Sen. it would have been the opposite. Remember, Waxman and Mitchell are still very close friends and with partisanship being at its height now why would anyone question what went on.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/14/2008 1:52 PM  

Is there any merit to the prediction made by McNamee's attorney that, if convicted of making false statements or obstructing justice, Clemens would likely receive a pardon from President Bush?

Anonymous Brad Jones -- 2/14/2008 3:02 PM  

The divide is a result of the Democrats going after yet another American institution: baseball. Yesterday it was the Boy Scouts. Today it is baseball.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/15/2008 5:14 PM  

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