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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 7/3/2005

Out in right field

Evidently that wonderful display of bipartisanship on Opening Day was a mirage. Excited to have big-league baseball back in the nation's capital, Republicans sat alongside Democrats in April and cheered like the dickens for the Washington Nationals.

But the Nationals - the old Montreal Expos - are owned by Major League Baseball, which wants to sell the team, and all of a sudden congressional Republicans are upset about who might move into the neighborhood.

It seems that among the groups bidding for the team is one which includes a would-be part owner named George Soros.

Mr. Soros, the billionaire philanthropist the GOP loves to hate, spent millions trying to defeat George Bush last year. So any possibility that Mr. Soros could seize control of anything in a town where both houses of Congress and the White House are controlled by Republicans is unthinkable to the party loyalists.

They went so far as to suggest that punitive consequences could result for Major League Baseball - such as revoking the game's exemption from anti-trust law - if the Soros bid to own the Nationals should prevail.

After backing away from that outlandish swipe, Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia couldn't rise above it. He and other Republicans complained about the conviction for insider trading that Mr. Soros is appealing in France, as well as the man's record of support for legalizing medical marijuana.

"We finally got a winning team, said Mr. Davis. "Now they're going to hand it over to a convicted felon who wants to legalize drugs and who lives in New York and spent $5 million trying to defeat the President? How's he going to get him out to the opening game? C'mon."

Mr. Soros, to his credit, is not lowering himself to dignify the congressman's rants. But if picking an owner is all about politics, the same partisan drivel could be levied by Democrats against another group bidding for team ownership that includes former secretary of state Colin Powell.

That group is headed by a major Republican donor and former Nixon aide once ordered to investigate a possible "Jewish cabal" in the Labor Department.

In one sense we can understand the reluctance of Republicans on Capitol Hill to want a liberal like George Soros running the show. After all, that's a "Dubya" on the Nationals' caps.



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