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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Melon Head Follies

When Dan "Melon Head" Burton is your biggest defender, perhaps Roger Clemens should reconsider his strategy.

Burton, you may recall, is the Indiana congressman who didn't acquire his nickname because he looks like Barry Bonds. No, the former Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, earned his by taking a pistol into his backyard and firing it into a melon to allegedly prove Vince Foster was murdered -- by someone acting as an agent for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Nonetheless, the good people of Indiana have kept returning him to Capitol Hill where he had been fairly quiet -- until yesterday. Burton emerged as one of the Clemens' most vocal defenders in the four-plus hour hearing that could be aptly titled Roger and Not Me.

The erstwhile ace of the Red Sox, Yankees and Houston Astros insisted everyone -- friend Andy Pettite, former trainer and accuser Brian McNamee. even Pettite's wife -- "misremembered" details around his alleged use of steroids and human growth hormone.

McNamee -- who would go to jail if he lied because he would be breaking an agreement -- took the brunt of Burton's wrath.
"This is really disgusting," Burton of Indiana told McNamee. "You lie when it's convenient for you. I don't know what to believe, but I know one thing I don't believe, and that's you."
Interestingly, the hearing broke down along partisan lines, with other Republicans rushing to the defense of the Yankees icon while Democrats poked holes in his story -- which apparently also included some good old-fashioned witness tampering.

The hearing also featured an allegation that Mr. Clemens coached another possible witness, his former nanny, over what to say about a 1998 party at the house of José Canseco, then a Toronto Blue Jays teammate of Mr. Clemens.

The nanny, whose name was not disclosed, was seen by the panel as someone who could resolve contradictory accounts by Mr. Clemens and Mr. McNamee about whether Mr. Clemens attended the party.

Committee staff had asked Mr. Clemens’s lawyers for the nanny’s name last Friday. Mr. Clemens found the nanny, whom he had not seen since 2001, last Saturday and invited her to his house, his lawyer Rusty Hardin said. On Sunday, Mr. Clemens talked to her, saying he had not been at the Canseco party, and Mr. Hardin’s investigators questioned her. On Monday, they gave her name to the committee.

“Mr. Chairman, I was doing y’all a favor,” Mr. Clemens said in testimony about the nanny. “And as far as I was concerned, I hadn’t seen this lady in a long time, she’s a sweet lady, and I wanted to get her to you.”

I bet you did Rog. You didn't earn the name The Texas Con Man for nothing. Maybe you and Dan should go melon hunting down on your ranch.

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