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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Not to get too political, but . . .I won't shed tears if and when Rogers Clemens gets indicted, but a reader over at Talking Points Memo has a pretty good point:
Doesn't it seem a little odd that when you have a ball player (Roger Clemens) who lies to Congress about steroid use in baseball, the U.S. Attorney for DC convenes a grand jury to consider a perjury indictment, but when an official of the Justice Department (Bradley Schlozman) lies to Congress about trying to politicize the civil service within DOJ, the U.S. Attorney fo DC passes on further investigation or prosecution? Which really seems like the more significant problem for the country?
This isn't a partisan point inasmuch as I'm sure I could easily find an example of a lying Democratic official if I had the time to look. It's a Washington point. In Washington, it seems, there is a certain flavor of lying that is tolerated (i.e. lying by people who work in Washington), and a certain kind that is not (lying by anyone else).
It probably comes down to motive identification. If you're a congressman and a guy from some government agency lies to you, you probably appreciate why he's lying. He's got a boss he's protecting, maybe, or he is trying to prevent embarrassing political fallout, the type of which you understand. Heck, you may have had a job a lot like his before you got elected and were forced to lie in much the same way! When some ballplayer comes in and lies to you, however, he's an interloper in the ways of Washington and his lying technique is far less polished, and maybe even a little insulting to your craft. Release the hounds.
None of this is to say that Clemens shouldn't be prosecuted. It's just that maybe more people should be as well.
(thanks to Ethan Stock for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 6:43am
I strongly agree with that thought. But there is also something to baseball being held to a higher standard than most.
With all of the furor over baseball’s performance enhancing drug problem, Washington and most of the media gave the NFL a free pass when it came to PEDs. It seems that if a baseball player abuses drugs, or if a baseball player lies about illegal activity, it is a much bigger deal than if an NFL player does.
The political capital that our elected leaders stand to gain from prosecuting baseball players seems to be much greater than most groups of people that they could choose these days (Washington DC insiders as well as NFL players).
Posted 01/14 at 11:57 AM
@ Ethan - I also sent Craig a link regarding Schlozman http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99307148 - so apparently we are thinking along parallel line.
@ Jeff - In regard to being held to a higher standard I struggle when someone from the Justice Department lies and knowingly commits acts that illegal (i.e. hiring based on political affiliation when the law clearly states it is illegal).
The following is a portion of what I wrote to Craig this morning when I shared the above link with him.
If Congress is truly serious about not having folks lie to them and wants to make a statement about truthfulness and integrity and its importance then prosecuting Schlozman makes a much louder, though maybe less public, statement on maintaining the integrity of the system.
I am a fairly simple man, though I often wrestle with some complicated matters (e.g. race issues), and believe that when one knowingly violates the basic premise of an office (e.g. a doctor willfully violates the hippocratic oath) the prosecution needs to be swift and the punishment needs to recognize the violation of a basic tenet of the profession. So if a member of the Justice Department knowingly and willfully violates the law in hiring practices and knowingly and willfully lies to Congress in their investigation of said prior illegal actions then punishing that individual to the fullest extent of the law is most appropriate.
I will be curious to see how Congress proceeds with Schlozman and I would hope that the permanent revoking of his law license is just a beginning and jail time is not of matter of ‘if he goes to jail’ but ‘how long he goes to jail’. However I suspect that I will hear a great more about Clemens being investigated for his fibbing to Congress about getting his hand caught in the PEDs cookie jar and very little about Schlozman blatantly lying to the same body about his corrupt actions that effects the lives of many.
Posted 01/14 at 01:09 PM