Monday, June 27, 2005

Putting The Squeeze On Major League Baseball

Garance Franke-Ruta quotes a subscription-only Roll Call story about the latest flourish of the Republican fist - an effort to intimidate Major League Baseball so that they won't sell the Washington Nationals to George Soros.
While the Soros-Ledecky group is not seen as the frontrunner to win the bidding for the Nationals, who should be awarded to their new owner at the end of the 2005 season, the very prospect that Soros could have a stake in the team is enough to irritate Congressional Republicans.

“I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes,” said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. “I don’t think they want to get involved in a political fight.”

Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that if a Soros sale went through, “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 anti-trust laws.

Indeed, Hill Republicans could potentially make life difficult for MLB in a variety of ways.
You'd think that I could no longer be shocked. But I am utterly astounded by this unashamed, on-the-record threat to prevent a private business from conducting a legal transaction with a private citizen. Davis and his colleagues make no attempt to cover this naked exercise of brute power with even the thinnest veneer of a pretense to legitimate governmental interest. They don't even seem to be aware that this kind of petty bullying is the sort of thing that people usually try to hide.

They simply believe that Congressional Republicans are entitled to demand that every aspect of American society, from great to small, be ordered as they wish. They simply display the two-year-old child's astonished outrage that anyone has the temerity to thwart their will.

I'd close with something about "surely this interference with private business transactions is a wake-up call for American conservatives," but I'm too busy trying to figure out how they sleep at night at all.