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)