Republicans, Sports, and Free Markets


Having conclusively dealt with all serious threats to national security, Republicans on the Hill are confronting a dire threat to the security of the Nationals:

Three months into their inaugural season, the Washington Nationals are in first place. Attendance is strong, hopes are high, and the team is reportedly turning a tidy profit.

But to some Capitol Hill Republicans there is a dark cloud on the Nats' horizon: the potential that their newly adopted home team could be purchased by billionaire financier George Soros.

Cue sinister organ music. Actually, Soros is only part of a consortium bidding for the Nationals, but any stake he might have in the team is too much for Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA):

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.

Presumably Davis is threatening to revoke MLB's exemptions. One of his colleagues went a step further:

Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.)…said if Soros buys the team and seeks public funding for the new stadium or anything else, the GOP attitude would be, "Let him pay for it."

Hmm. This suggests a solution to the scourge of public financing of stadiums: Persuade Soros to buy shares in all the leagues, and wait for the GOP to take a righteously indignant stand against welfare for professional sports.

Story here; link via Josh Marshall. In May, Matt Welch threw a penalty flag at the case for taxpayer funding of stadiums and teams.