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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Liars, congressmen make for bad viewing

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I always knew there was a good reason I never watched C-SPAN.

I just didn't know what that reason was until last week.

Trying to sit through ESPN's televised production of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's four-and-a-half hour grilling of Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee was kind of like trying to perform dentistry on oneself; it was both painfully uncomfortable and highly unneccesary at the same time.

I won't bother getting into the specifics of the Committee's reasoning for trying to mediate the differences that separate Clemons, a major league pitcher that has racked up 354 victories in his 25-year career, and McNamee, his one-time trainer and friend.

In a nutshell, McNamee claims he injected Clemens with illegal performance-enhancing drugs (Human Growth Hormones and steroids) more than 15 times between 1998 and 2001. Clemons claims he never received these injections from McNamee, and denies ever using any performance-enhancing drugs.

Obviously, one of the two is lying.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform did not come to this conclusion for us, common sense and an elementary school education did.

When two people tell two separate, and wildly different, stories, someone is lying. I learned that much in kindergarten.

Not on Capitol Hill.

What I learned on Capitol Hill is what I have suspected all along.

We have the wrong people on Capitol Hill. Although thinking back on that last point, I might have learned that in kindergarten, as well.

We had committee co- chair Tom Davis saying after the mammoth hearing, "Mr. McNamee is obviously not the most credible witness."

And then we had committee chairman Henry Waxman with a polar-opposite view, saying, "Mr. McNamee was very credible."

Brilliant! Republicans and Democrats disagreeing.

The way I see it, trying to make Roger Clemons and Brian McNamee squirm like worms on a sizzling-hot sidewalk has nothing to do with oversight.

Or government reform.

It does, however, have everything to do with eager politicians grabbing the spotlight whenever, and wherever, they can.

If they really wanted to put their precious (just kidding) time, or our money (not kidding) to good use, maybe they should have called a hearing to figure out why the Miami Dolphins won just one game this past season.

Makes about as much sense as a bunch of high-powered congressmen and women, taking five minute turns lambasting Clemons and McNamee does. Especially when you have to wonder if said congressmen and women have ever watched one single pitch of a major league baseball game. Based on some of their queries, I would venture to say they have not.

Look, I know that steroids are illegal, just plain wrong and have given Major League Baseball a black eye it can never recover from. That's one reason I hardly watch MLB these days.

My point is, we already knew that and last week's hearings on the Hill had nothing to do with that fact.

It dealt strictly with trying to pressure one of the two former comrades into admitting to a lie.

I thought that was what our criminal justice system and network of courts was for.

There has to be a ton of lawyers, judges and other court officials that would love to get their hands on a soap opera of this proportion.

And a soap opera is just what last week's hearing was. It was really bad reality television.

People that supported Clemons and believe he is still bound for the Hall of Fame probably felt that way before the hearing and probably still feel that way after.

People that supported, or at least believed, McNamee's claims before, probably still do after.

To my eyes, they both came off as selfish, weaslily and not-to-be-trusted slugs.

While I suppose that I'm really just bitter because I wasted four-and-a-half hours of my precious (not kidding) time glued to a stupid TV is the root of my gripe, I still think we, the people, could be better served if our elected leaders put their muscle into accomplishing something that directly benefited the American people a bit more. Stuff like finding solutions for never-ending high gasoline prices, helping the homeless ... you get the drift.

So if you're scoring at home, there were no winners from last week's stalemate on Capitol Hill (probably not the first time those words have ever been uttered). Just losers. Those of us that watched the whole ugly mess.

But at least I got a chance to see how the 40-member House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform whittled away their time on a winter February day.

But the next time I tune into ESPN only to find C-SPAN, I can assure you that will be the last time.



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