Say this about Mark McGwire: He sure rescued Harry Reid!
The Senate majority leader has formerly-Big Mac to thank for knocking his self-induced crisis off the front page. "Dingy Harry," as Rush Limbaugh not-so-affectionately has dubbed him, was public issue #1 until McGwire's steroids-admitting, crying jag with Bob Costas made everybody forget Reidís dopey comments about Barack Obama's "Negro dialect."
Not that the disgraced home run champ's attempt at damage control solved his problems. It didn't. McGwire couldn't bring himself to acknowledge that his consumption/injection of steroids actually helped him hit baseballs.
Instead, said the sobbing slugger, he used steroids purely to help "repair his injuries." His abilities to hit a baseball, he argued, were god-given and therefore, by implication, the steroids he took played no role in enabling him to bust past Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron and Roger Maris as baseballís fiercest home run hitter.
The "most dangerous thing," British Prime Minister Lloyd George once famously said, was "trying to leap a chasm in two jumps!"
And in attempting to parse his apology to spare himself the ignominy of admitting he was a "cheat," McGwire only halfway got out of his hole.
The half-apology served to stoke the critics, who rushed to the airwaves to denounce not-so-Big Redís refusal to face facts, even five years after his embarrassing performance before the Congress.
What McGwire should have said was something along these lines:
ďYes, I have god-given ability to hit a baseball. And yes, I studied and trained as hard as any player to master my craft. But I also presume, the steroids helped. How much, I donít know. But I do know that I am profoundly sorry for letting people down. And I will have to live with that, as I devote the rest of my life to repairing my good name.Ē
Had the quivering McGwire made this admission, he would have been spared the afterglow of criticism to which he has been subjected.
But Harry Reid, at least, is today a happier camper.