Roger Clemens, Steroids, and Political Ideologies

In class today, we discussed yesterday’s Congressional hearings dealing with the use of steroids, and other performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, in which our esteemed elected representatives questioned umpteen-time all-star pitcher, Roger Clemens, on his involvement. Those of you who have been following this soap opera understand that one of Clemens’ former trainers, Brian McNamee, and a former teammate, Andy Pettitte, have both accused Clemens of having used steroids and HGH (human growth hormone).

I watched some of the highlights of the testimony, and what was interesting was that here, as in many other contemporary issues in American society, there seemed to be a readily apparent partisan split on the issue, with Republicans believing and supporting Clemens, while Democrats did the opposite. I have no idea why, given the nature of political attitudes and political ideologies, this would be the case. What is it about the issue of steroids in baseball that would “tap into” underlying political attitudes and ideologies in order to make this a clearly ideological issue. Maybe this isn’t an “ideological” issue at all, but a partisan one. By this I mean that for many in this country (especially on Capitol Hill), their partisanship is no longer a means to an underlying ideological end, but an end in and of itself. So if George Bush (with the complicity of both Republican and Democratic-led Congresses during his tenure) spends the people’s money like a drunken soldier, he–a Republican–is immune from criticism by other Republicans, even though his behavior is anathema to conservative economic ideology.

Here is Clemens testifying, and a clip from Mike and the Mad Dog, the most highly rated sports talk show in the New York City area, in which Chris “the Mad Dog” Russo–a Republican–exhorts his listeners in Connecticut to vote long-term Congressman, Christopher Shays (R), out of office for what Russo viewed as Shays’ “grandstanding” during the hearings yesterday.

Mad Dog snarly towards Shays:

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