August 2, 2005

President defends steroid cheat Palmeiro

From the Washington Post:

David Jackson writes in the Dallas Morning News: "Little more than an hour after word of Rafael Palmeiro's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's steroid policy, President Bush defended the former Texas Ranger.

" 'He's a friend,' the president said in a White House roundtable interview with several Texas reporters. 'He's testified in public, and I believe him.'

"Citing Mr. Palmeiro's previous statements under the 'klieg lights' that he had not used steroids, the former Texas Rangers part-owner said: 'I believe him -- still do.' . . .

"Mr. Bush, who was part of the Rangers' majority ownership group from 1989 to 1998, has often spoken out against steroid use."

As you'll recall, the President was co-managing director of the Texas Rangers when his players, such as Rafael Palmeiro, started hitting prodigious numbers of homers. Granted, his partners didn't let him have much authority, but he claimed that he "signed off" on all trades, the most notorious of which was the 1992 acquisition of Jose Canseco, author of the recent steroid tell-all Juiced. As I wrote for UPI in "Bush Turns Against Steroids" on January 21, 2004 in response to Bush's denunciation of steroids in his State of the Union address:

In 1992, Bush's Rangers acquired in a blockbuster trade the ever more massive Canseco, even though he was then probably the most infamous steroid abuser in baseball.

Although Canseco had won the 1988 American League MVP award by being the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases, his career as a Ranger is most remembered for one week in May 1993. First, a long fly ball bounced off the outfielder's increasingly block-shaped head for a home run. Three days later, Canseco volunteered to try pitching and blew out his elbow, ending his season.

Last year, after angrily ending a career cut short by injuries, Canseco was jailed when he failed a drug test for steroids, violating his probation stemming from a nightclub brawl he had gotten into alongside his brother Ozzie.

... When Bush's Rangers traded for Canseco in 1992, he had been the subject of steroid rumors for many years... Canseco's second World Series appearance in 1989 inspired novelist Anne Lamott to complain in "Operating Instructions," her best-selling diary of her baby Sam's first year of life: "I was explaining to Sam that Jose Canseco shouldn't get to play because of the obvious steroid use, that there is something really wrong with the guy ... It was obvious from Sam's expression that he didn't think much of Canseco."

The evidence was not subtle. When Canseco started in the minor leagues, he was tall and slender, but eventually bulked up to 240 pounds. Tellingly, he possessed the steroid user's equivalent of the portrait of Dorian Gray: his identical twin Ozzie, who stayed skinny and in the minors for years.

Bush signed off on all Rangers trades, such as the Canseco acquisition...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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