Clemens in Congress

Can I just say that I think that Roger Clemens meeting with members of Congress before he is set to testify is an absolute embarassment?  One Congressman has the brains to not embarass himself and his government.  One.

“I didn’t see any point in this whole charade of him walking around and meeting congressmen,” said [Rep. Mark] Souder [(R-Ind.)], a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “What was the point of that? We can read the depositions.   It was more or less just for him to take advantage of his celebrity.”

Exactly.  How can members of the House of Representatives meet with a witness that they are about to question while posing for photo-ops and asking for autographs and still maintain even the smallest shred of credibility?  They don’t see, at the very least, the potential conflict of interest?  They don’t see that they are being played by a sleazebag to curry favor for a man who, more and more, has mounting evidence to suggest that he’s a cheater, liar and scofflaw?  Forget that he has, and will likely continue to, perjur himself under oath in front of Congress.  What does it say that the Congressmen that are questioning him, eliciting these lies, are happy to meet with him privately and be best pals?  Am I supposed to believe that they will then, afterward, question him objectively and without holding anything back?  Pardon my skepticism.  I wonder if anyone will actually ask him tough questions about the evidence and testimony of Brian McNamee or about the testimony of Andy Pettitte?  I wonder if they’ll make him answer truthfully, or let him dodge questions?  I wonder if anyone, after meeting with him and shaking hands and taking pictures, will have the stones to make him squirm, even if it means tarnishing his legacy (and thereby reducing the value of the picture they just got with him).

What bugs me the most is that it’s stories like this that remind me that many of our elected Representatives are simply woefully unqualified for the job.  Representatives take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet I wonder how many of them even know what’s in it.  I know the Constitution doesn’t put requirements on intelligence, experience or education to be a Congressman (you just have to be 25 and a citizen).  But shouldn’t we anyway?  Shouldn’t we have some standards about who we elect to lead us?  I’m not saying each member should have a law degree (though many do, and I’m sure it helps), but some expertise.  Something beyond “my husband was killed in a train massacre, please vote for me.”  How in the world does that qualify someone to do anything, let alone draft complicated legislation (you know, presumably what we elect legislators to do)?  Or “I was once a bust quarterback in the NFL, vote for me,” or “at least I graduated high school, vote for me,” or “hey, I went to high school, too.”

Not to mention (and whoa, am I tangenting waaaaaay off topic) the amount of time some representatives spend in Congress.  Holy Cow!  I can’t exactly articulate it, but I think there’s something wrong with having members of Congress in the same seat for 10, 20, 30 years.  It can’t be good for their governance.  It only serves to separate them from their constituents and the people that elected them.  That’s bad.

Like Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) says at the end of Man of the Year: “Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reasons.”

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