Parsing the Reaction to Roger Clemens

1203004395All around town, the pundits and pontificators are laying the smackdown on Roger Clemens after his testimony before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. There is very little doubt in our area that Clemens is lying his “palpable mass” off.

How sure are we of his guilt? The Herald’s Gerry Callahan, through slightly gritted teeth, lambasted the GOP love fest that surrounded Clemens: “Now comes the hard part for this right-wing zealot: The Republicans could have shown up with big bozo shoes and clown noses and they would not have looked sillier.”

OK, so Clemens has spent the last 10 years being Public Enemy No. 1 on the Boston sports scene, and yesterday was payback for the way the Texas Con Man left us in the lurch. But how is the rest of the country feeling after the unseemly show on Capitol Hill?

The general consensus is that while Brian McNamee may be a weasel, he’s got the goods on the Rocket.

Slate’s Josh Levin thinks Clemens’ performance was terrible.

Clemens spoke haltingly, answered evasively, contradicted himself, and whispered with his lawyers when asked to explain these contradictions. Perhaps, like Sammy Sosa in 2005, he would’ve been better off claiming he didn’t speak English.

Down in New York, where they dislike Clemens as much as we do, the vitriol was flowing.

The natural constituency for Clemens would seem to be the South, and, of course, Texas. Hmm, not so good there, either. On the Houston Chronicle’s site, 67 percent of voters felt McNamee was telling the truth. Ouch.

In Washington, they understand how these Congressional hearings work, and hero worship lasts only as long as the next day’s poll numbers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Talking Points Memo has already nominated Clemens for Best Testimonial Trainwreck of 2008.

Does anyone buy what Clemens is selling? Not surprisingly, the ex-player/GM contingent on ESPN thinks this will all blow over. Steve Phillips, the outrageously moronic talking head, went so far as to say that the events of the last few months wouldn’t affect Clemens’ legacy at all. So there’s the one person who seemingly believes him. Although it’s telling that very few players have come rushing to Clemens’ defense.

The most amazing part? This all could have been avoided. Yesterday, it was revealed that the Committee was ready to issue statements and move on, rather than convene the outrageous spectacle. Instead, the attorneys for Clemens insisted on a public hearing. A bad move, to say the least.