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Rep. George Miller Headshot

Playing Politics With the National Pastime

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So it looks like no place is safe from partisan politics anymore -- not even the ballpark.

George Soros, the financier who provided significant support to Democrats in the 2004 election cycle, recently joined a bidding group interested in purchasing the new Washington Nationals. The possibility of a Democratic supporter buying the Nats has provoked threats from some Republicans, who apparently believe that it's fine to use any means necessary to punish the political opposition.

This week the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call quoted Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, as threatening Major League Baseball -- the Nats' current owner -- over selling the team to Soros. '"I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes,' Rep. Davis told Roll Call. 'I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions' from antitrust laws."

Does Davis really believe that you shouldn't be able to buy a baseball team unless you support the Republican agenda? Why should partisan politics have anything to do with who owns a baseball team?

The answer, of course, is that it shouldn't have anything to do with it. But this is the new, and sad, reality of the Republican abuse of power in Washington, D.C. Republicans see no arena that is unfit for applying their litmus test of loyalty.

President Bush once owned a baseball team. And Davis didn't mention that former Secretary of State Colin Powell joined one of the other groups bidding for the Nats. Neither of those things bother Democrats. What does bother Democrats is not just Republicans' failed foreign policy, failed economic policy, reckless budget deficits, or broken promises on education, but also their intolerance for dissent.

Let's keep the partisan politics out of the ballpark.