First, the senate seat.
The field is starting to firm a little bit. Your contender list probably looks something like this: Brian Knuuttila, Dean Mazzarella, Jennifer Flanagan, and Harold Naughton. Will all four get in? Maybe. Flanagan is in. Knuuttila is all but there. Most folks expect Mazzarella to jump in, but I wouldn't put his name in ink. Naughton needs watching, but why wouldn't he jump in at least for a little while? There will be some more names, and maybe, somewhere, somehow, a Lisa Wong surprise (not Wong herself, but a candidate similar to Wong).
Notice something? No one from Fitchburg. Dean Tran is kicking the tires, and he's trying out a "conservative Democrat" message. But Tran has two little kids and has said in the past he feels a little time-strapped (remember the mayor rumors?). He might not have the desire to give up a year of his life to campaign. But he might. I'm not banking on a run out of Tran. Who's left? There's a "Draft Jody" effort that has popped up here, but he's not making any (public) noises about a run. Former Mayor Dan Mylott took a pass, and someone else who was looking at it -- but never publicly staked a claim -- also took a pass.
So that leaves Fitchburg kind of the outside looking in, which is fine, but not great. It would be nice to have a strong candidate from the city, who could win the race and represent the city at the State House. Instead, as it has been for ages, someone else will likely represent Fitchburg in the Senate. It worked fine with Antonioni, but there would be a nice shot of civic pride if a Fitchburg resident could win the seat.
But the good news is that Fitchburg will be some decidedly fought-over territory. Candidates will need to run hard in an open Fitchburg, which is voter heavy (and recent history points to some active voters). Knuuttila can claim strong ties, and Naughton will try to stake a claim. Flanagan, her critics say, has been running for this Senate seat for four years, and will point to her successes at FSC, the commuter rail project, and elsewhere. Everyone and their mother knows Mazzarella (and has mayoral envy of Fitchburg's southern neighbor), but he'll need to make some self-introductions to what he is all about.
Now, on to Congress.
I missed Watergate, so the three best Congressional hearings I've seen were the Bulger hearings in Boston a few years back, the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, and yesterday's Roger Clemens hearing. Yesterday's to-do was gripping, entertaining, and laughable all at once. We heard about Clemens bleeding through his pants (ew), his butt abcesses (double ew), and way too much about lunch at Jose Canseco's house.
I'm not gonna lie (which is rare for the rest of the players in this little play), I want to see Clemens ruined by this, and I think he's lying his pants off. I don't believe him, and part of it is because I don't want to believe him. And Brian McNamee is nobody's hero. Rep. Elijah Cummings? I love that guy. And locally, John Tierney was excellent yesterday, and Steve Lynch was good, too.
But Andy Pettitte, whooo-weee. The worst part of yesterday for Clemens was Pettitte's deposition, which details conversations that were particularly bad for Clemens. Pettitte is Clemens' downfall in the end. Additionally, you can't think Mrs. Clemens was particularly happy with the last few days. And how did McNamee get hooked up with old Debbie without Roger knowing?
In the end, Clemens didn't answer the one question he has faced more than once, and knew would be coming: Why would McNamee lie about Clemens, but tell (some of) the truth about Pettitte? Why? Clemens has hemmed, hawed, stammered and blown that answer every single time he's given it. He also now has to answer Pettitte's deposition about HGH conversations, and he finally, something as seemingly as trivial as who was and wasn't at Canseco's house is a problem. What was Team Clemens thinking going after the nanny before giving her to Congress? Stupid.
Anyway, you went into yesterday's hearing on one side or the other, and nothing yesterday changed your mind. Today, you're either cheering Tierney and Cummings, or applauding Dan Burton (who, it should be noted, totally booted the Bulger hearings). But yesterday, the best (enhanced) pitcher of a generation -- one of the greats of all time -- was forced to sit before Congress and (likely) lie in an effort to save his reputation, his ticket to the Hall of Fame, and whatever goodwill he has remaining. It was a sight to see, all right.
Labels: Senate seat, Sports