Congress strikes out on Clemens

Freedom New Mexico

Did Roger Clemens use steroids or human-growth hormone? We don’t know and won’t speculate.

But after watching the four-hour, three-ring circus put on by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, we’re beginning to develop more pressing concerns.
Among them:
• Why is a government reform and oversight committee focused more on baseball than, say, government reform and oversight?
• Why do Republicans seem to like Clemens while Democrats appear to like trainer Brian McNamee, Clemens’ accuser? How did this become a partisan issue?
• If Clemens is innocent, shouldn’t he carry that presumption until proven otherwise instead of facing attacks for claiming his innocence?

We haven’t learned the answers to any of those questions. Here’s what we have learned:
• Question the accuracy of the Mitchell Report on baseball drug use and Congress will go after you.

• Clemens is a better baseball player than public speaker unless we’re “misremembering” what we heard at Wednesday’s hearing.

• It’s better to admit doing something wrong than profess your innocence. Case in point: Andy Pettite came across as downright angelic by admitting drug use. Clemens is under attack, to some degree, because he is undermining the Mitchell Report by claiming innocence and some bureaucrats don’t like that fact.

• If Clemens admitted using steroids there’s very little anyone could do to him other than lob criticism his way. By claiming his innocence on Capitol Hill, he could face criminal perjury charges. There’s legitimate incentive to say you did it regardless of the truth.
There are a lot of pressing issues facing the country right now:

• People are dying overseas in a war with no end in sight.

• The economy is a major concern in many regions of the country.

• Foreclosures have skyrocketed, leaving people without homes.

• Government is running up debt at a torrid pace.

But this committee attempted to place the country’s focus squarely on whether Roger Clemens got an incriminating shot in the rear.

“This circus could only impress P.T. Barnum,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry in a statement. “Apparently, Democrats think the economy and illegal immigration will solve themselves. So instead of working on that, they’re playing with baseball.”

And so far, they’ve struck out looking. We know no more about whether Roger Clemens took steroids now than before this hearing.

The Mitchell Report reportedly cost Major League Baseball at least $20 million. Baseball officials have the right to throw away money if they see fit. But has anyone figured out how much the fallout from the report has cost government in staff time and expenses?

Is baseball picking up the bill for that one?

That actually might be something for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to bat over.

Frankly, we could have told committee members for free that baseball has a history of drug use.