Monday, March 21, 2005

can't be trusted?

now that the furor over congressional steroid hearings and the lies told at them is over, the time to draw conclusions has arrived. and john mccain has been convinced:

"It just seems to me they can't be trusted," McCain told ABC's "This Week."

"What do we need to do? It seems to me that we ought to seriously consider ... a law that says all professional sports have a minimum level of performance-enhancing drug testing," McCain said.

"I was a little dubious about the necessity of having hearings because I had been told that baseball had installed a weak, but legitimate, regimen," McCain said. "I now applaud my colleagues in the House because what this highlighted was the absolute insensitivity of both the owners and the players to the American people."
pardon me for my persistent dubiousness and apparent insensitivity, but since when are the american people harmed by the insensitivity of their entertainers? are we going now to pass laws against poorly reworked orchestration? are we now going to pass laws against operas performed in english translation? are we now going to pass laws to persecute jerry bruckheimer generally? this concern for some conveniently nebulous "sensitivity" to the general welfare -- and, of course, unquestionably, for the children -- should compel them to do so under this strange calculus.

but how long, i wonder, until we get a law against second-rate politicians barring them from put-upon moral concern and baby-kissing?

mccain's ostensibly pious sympathy also reaches out to tragic figure mark mcgwire:

He also offered advice to Mark McGwire, the retired slugger who repeatedly evaded questions about his and others' steroid use.

"The first thing Mark McGwire should do is get himself a new lawyer," McCain said. "I was saddened by what he had to say, and it's unfortunate because he's one of America's heroes."
because we all know that american heroes cannot sully their principles in duplicity for their own egregious monetary ends.

i'm no fan of steroid use, and i think it has imbalanced the sport in a way that is akin to forsaking golf for a long-drive competition. and i've no sympathy for a baseball organization that has sought refuge from competition in this same government by hiding itself behind the blatantly wrong 1922 antitrust exemption.

and yet -- congressional intervention over the matter of steroids is merely a pretext by which the federal government can extort from baseball a measure of protection money. i know of no clearer way to state it. it will not fix the problem of performance enhancement -- a problem that has no regulatory solution for so long as the science of performance enhancement continues to advance -- but will certainly direct a stream of funds at government to shut them up about it.

this is how congress works. this is how john mccain works. and it is at least most of the reason why baseball is averse to congressional regulation -- not out of any moral virtue, but a desire to keep their money.

i'm convinced that the ownership particularly could care less about performance enhancement -- they will find a way to market their product no matter how the product is modified. steroids were a convenience that baseball capitalized upon -- "chicks dig the longball", you remember. but they might just as happily raised the mound back to 1968 standards and sold randy johnson and roger clemens rewriting the other side of baseball's historical ledger to bring baseball back out of post-strike antipathy. perhaps they chose to encourage what they believed to be the easier path to resurgent popularity and profitability -- but they certainly chose the most opportune one.

and now -- cue the literary irony -- some politicians sit in judgment of that? hardy har har.

so pardon me if i don't get step onto my high moral soapbox and declaim the right of congress to protect the sacred moral purity of the people and the nation. no one has done more to destroy those things -- to the extent they ever existed -- than those who now facetiously claim to defend them.

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