By Paul M. Banks
If there’s anything children of this age have had plenty of experience with, it’s cheating. When today’s youth seek role models, the National Pastime is certainly one place not to look. And our leaders in government aren’t much better.
With the recent admission of steroid guilt by Major League baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez, we now have an unholy trinity of the game’s best overall position player joining the era’s best hitter (Barry Bonds) and best pitcher (Roger Clemens), all being disgraced.
In terms of governance, here’s the special group I had ruling over me in 2008. On the Federal level: George W. Bush, state: Rod Blagojevich, congressional district: Rahm Emanuel (the dirt and grime on his record will be unveiled someday when they dissect the amazing rate of return he acquired on his investments), and the Chicago politics of the Daley machine on the city level.
The “Steroid Era” really took off in 1998 with the summer of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, but 2001 was probably the most unbelievably awful year possible as Bush, our worst ever president, took office, and Bonds ushered in a new low with his 73* homeruns.
George W. Bush=Barry Bonds
Gotta start at the top with the biggest most powerful players in each game, both of these trust fund babies were born with a lot of the blue chips they held during the heights of their careers. And the chip each one has on his shoulder is partially because each spoiled little boy has defined his actions in adulthood by trying to escape his father’s achievements. The fact that neither one has any actual grasp on the difference between right and wrong causes a treacherous trickle down crisis of confidence.
Eliot Spitzer=Alex Rodriguez
Both high profile New York figures were once rising stars and potential redeemers of the crooked game. Before his involvement with a high-priced prostitution ring became public, Spitzer was talked about as a future Presidential candidate. Before his past steroid use became public knowledge, A Roid was prospectively the man who would make the career home run record untainted again.
Rod Blagojevich=Jason Giambi
A significant player in the fixed game, but history will likely remember each of them as the guy whose cheating was the most painfully obvious of all.
Roland Burris=Jeremy Giambi
Neither really had any authentic power, and both will be remembered more for whom they were close to than what they actually did, if they’re remembered at all.
Donald Rumsfeld=Sammy Sosa
We never heard of either of these guys until the absolute peak of egregiously immoral corruption began. Rumsfeld was the architect of a war that yielded nothing good for anyone except a handful of defense contractors. Sosa was the co-captain of 1998’s “Summer of Steroid Love.” Both are great for ridiculously bad sound bites.
Rumsfeld: “stuff happens,” “there are known unknowns and known unknowns, known knowns” “you go to war with the army you have, not the war you want”
Sosa: “baseball been berry berry good to me.” “I’m a gladiator, it’s hard to stop me.”
Dick Cheney=Rafael Palmeiro Everything Palmeiro did in life will now be a distant afterthought to his emphatic statement, “I have never used steroids- EVER!” a year or so before he tested positive. Cheney likewise had no problem lying straight to your face even though the truth is right in front of you- “we’ll be greeted as liberators,” “the revenue we generate from the oil will pay for the war.” But his most bizarre lie was in the 2004 Vice Presidential debate, when he told John Edwards, “I’ve never seen you before,” despite video existing of him speaking with Edwards on more than one occasion. Sure, I can’t remember everyone I’ve met in my life, but I would hope that if I were Vice President, I could recall meeting the guy who was trying to take my job!
Tom Delay=Mark McGwire We haven’t heard much from either of these guys lately, but let’s not forget how much juice they once had, how much faith the American people once had in both of them…and how greatly they violated that trust!
Patrick Fitzgerald=George Mitchell Somebody needs to prosecute the biggest cheaters of the day. And their massive task requires more help.
2004 Bush voters=Bud Selig We need a proper nickname for the steroid era of politics, and we also need to remind the enablers that they have a few drops of blood on their hands for the past decade.
Mainstream media=ESPN Maybe this is redundant, but in both cases…so much for the idea of “the 4th Estate” providing a check on power. During the home run chases and the run-up to war, both acted as public relations flaks for the people that should have been under scrutiny.
Condoleeza Rice=Roger Clemens Neither of these individuals should take up high stakes poker because each one has an obvious and anxious tell that has been on display before Congress. Whenever Rice lied to congressional committees, you saw her face glaze over into a frozen and emotionless state. When Clemens was on Capitol Hill, you saw him nervously lick his lips every time he strayed from the truth.
Pre-invasion Anti-war left=Jose Canseco It’s hard to find a governmental whistleblower to match Canseco, because so far our politicians haven’t been justly disgraced and punished for their crime. Those “nuts” and “hippies” on the left who shut down roadways all across the country as they protested the start of the Iraq war actually had it right all along. If only we had listened to the fringe. Remember the attacks on Canseco’s credibility? The “opportunistic book seller” had the goods on everyone back in ’05.