Congress today heard sworn testimony from Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. The latter claims he administered improper drugs to the former, who vehemently denies the allegation.
Perhaps someone will explain to me what legitimate interest Congress has in the question of whether Clemens or McNamee is telling the truth. The broad parameters of the steroid scandal are well known. It should not be the business of Congress to deal with the matter, but even if it were, the question of whether a given player used steroids would be irrelevant to that business. But I suppose that if Arlen Specter can concern himself with matters relating to the New England Patriots spying on the New York Jets, then anything having to do with sports is fair game.
Two powerful human tendencies drive this sort of inquiry — the desire to grandstand and the compulsion to extend power and jurisdiction. Since politicians suffer inordinately from these defects, we can hardly be surprised by spectacles like the one today. But lack of self-restraint, in my view, is the underlying reason why Congress is so unpopular. If anything, this latest manifestation (though far from the worst) will exacerbate the problem.
UPDATE: Senator Inhofe also sees no reason why Congress should be “spending our time and tax-payer dollars to vindicate tabloid headlines.” That’s a good way to put it. Heaven help us if Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears should ever have a dispute over who said or did what.
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