Editorial: Congress wasting time with steroid scandals
With Congress’ approval rating hovering at about 25 percent, you’d think the august body would try to shore up its sagging reputation.
But instead of focusing on the Iraq war, health care, torture, eavesdropping on U.S. citizens, the economy or other myriad critical topics, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spent much of Wednesday grilling Roger Clemens about his buttocks.
Evidently, the burly pitcher suffered an injury to his hindquarter sometime in 2001 that may have resulted from an injection. An injection of what, we still don’t know.
And that’s part of the great mystery that prompted 25 members of Congress to attend Wednesday’s hearing. Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young award winner who many think is the greatest baseball pitcher of his generation, is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs from 1998 to 2001.
The hearing was called to test the veracity of a recent report by former Democratic Sen. George Mitchell on steroid use in baseball. Clemens was implicated in the report, officials said.
Clemens’ former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, recently dropped the bombshell that he injected Clemens with steroids numerous times over the three-year period. And just to spice up the intrigue, he also said he injected Clemens’ wife, Debbie, with the same stuff.
“I told the investigators I injected three people – two of whom I know confirmed my account,” McNamee said at Wednesday’s hearing. “The third is sitting at this table,” he added, referring to Clemens.
The pitching great has vehemently denied all allegations, saying early in the hearing Wednesday: “I did it the right way, and I worked my butt off.”
That could explain the soreness.
Democrats and Republicans sparred, sometimes vigorously, during Wednesday’s hearing. Republicans generally supported Clemens; Democrats, McNamee.
But some members of both parties seemed genuinely awed to be in Clemens’ presence:
“He’s a titan in baseball,” said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.
“We are very proud of your professional achievements,” chirped Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., wanted to know what uniform Clemens would wear to the Hall of Fame.
And not to be outdone, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., viewed four different pictures of the pitcher and contended that Clemens’ body build hadn’t changed over the years.
Then things really got fun.
Democrats claimed their substantial evidence implicated Clemens. Citing the findings, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., contended at one point that the facts “swing the balance over to Mr. McNamee” and told Clemens, “It’s hard to believe you.”
By most accounts, McNamee got it just as bad.
The former trainer admitted lying to federal prosecutors and Mitchell investigators because he didn’t reveal he had physical evidence related to his accusations about Clemens.
“Disgusting,” Burton spouted in response.
“Shame on you,” admonished Rep. Darryl Issa, R-Vista, to McNamee.
Issa has it wrong. Shame on him and all the other grandstanding politicians for making a mockery of our legislative system. Save your pontificating for issues that directly affect the majority of Americans.
Sorry, but steroids aren’t among them. Furthermore, to act like a bunch of gushing children over a man who made millions of dollars throwing a baseball is just plain embarrassing.
One of these very public figures – McNamee or Clemens – is an astonishing liar. But neither deserves the attention Congress is bestowing.
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