One of Clinton's most memorable statements that will ring down from the Decade of Illusions is: "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The Boy President said that glaring into the cameras on national television and pointing his finger for emphasis. Later he failed his drug test or rather his DNA test. Yet he is still arguing that the statement is somehow true.
Palmeiro is one of Clinton's finest students. Under oath before a Congressional Committee on March 17, he declared: "I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it more clearly than that. Never." He too glared and pointed his finger emphatically. Now that he is suspended after that failed test, he argues with Clintonian indefatigability: "I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period." The New York Times reports that the steroid he tested positive for is stanozolol. It is unimaginable that an adult would not know that he was taking it. Use of it in 1988 cost Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson his Olympic gold medal.
Tom Knott, the superb sports writer for The Washington Times, suspects that Palmeiro's hitting feats owe something to his teaming up with Jose Canseco in the Decade of Illusions. Knott further seems to suspect that many of the home-run marvels of the 1990s were fueled by steroids. Think of it -- a whole decade of baseball records thrown into a twilight of doubt because the rules were compartmentalized. Slowly but steadily, those who cast doubt on the marvels of that decade are being vindicated.