Keep Your Eye on the Ball, Congress

5 years ago

Off the top of my head, I can think of handfuls of other issues that are more important than whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress about using steroids.  Things, in fact, that are - believe it or not - more important than if Clemens even did use steroids.  Like the Paycheck Fairness Act that is up for a vote this Tuesday.  Or how to control the cost of college.  Or how budget cuts may lead nursing homes to begin to accept fewer Medicaid patients.  Or how Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner can't promise anything except a fight with the Obama administration over the upcoming debt ceiling problem this summer (yes, this does sound a lot like 2011).


Instead of these really important issues affecting millions of Americans (not to mention their families), let's  hold yet another trial for Clemens's perjury debacle.  It's widely assumed that Clemens did use anabolic steroids or human growth hormone (HGH) during his Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career.  In fact, it's widely assumed that many players have used similar enhancements to bolster their home run numbers and power-hitting statistics.  But does this sort of cheating constitute use of massive taxpayer resources?  (For a second time?  We're seven weeks into this thing, people.)

As you might recall, Clemens testified in a House committee in early 2008 (while under oath) that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.  He was indicted two years later and charged on six counts: one for obstruction of Congress, two for perjury, and three for making false statements.  His first trial, in 2011, ended in mistrial.

It's despicable if that is true, and MLB should better enforce their no-steroid policies, but I can't help but recognize the laundry list of issues that need solutions in line ahead of Clemens's drama.  It is really, really wrong to lie under oath to members of Congress.  It is really wrong to lie, in general.  But is it worse to waste taxpayer resources - including hours upon hours of time paying federal prosecutors, members of Congress, and staff to construct a case - trying to convict one man of using performance-enhancing drugs when so many other problems need desperate attention?  You tell me.

Originally posted on

Photo Attribution - By Tage Olsin (Own work (Photo taken by me)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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