Friday, June 3, 2005

Foul ball

How do Republicans and conservatives — sometimes one and the same — feel about left-wing billionaire George Soros’ attempt to buy the Washington Nationals?

“Soros is a political thug, and if he becomes an owner of the Nationals, I would recommend they be moved back to Montreal,” conservative publicist Craig Shirley told Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times.

Mr. Shirley added: “If Soros gets the Nationals, I think the president of France should throw out the first ball, not President Bush.”

Washington-based investor Dale Mitchell Jr., son of the late Cleveland Indians and Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder, would “have pause about supporting the Nationals with Soros as owner. Of course, I have pause anyway — I’m just trying to get my head around the fact that we have a National League team here in this town. I’m an American League guy.”

Mr. Mitchell, a conservative who twice voted for Mr. Bush and whose father was most famous for taking a called third strike for the final out in New York Yankee pitcher Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series, compared Mr. Soros with the owner of the Baltimore Orioles — and found them about on a par.

“They must have been staying up nights trying to find someone more obnoxious than Peter Angelos,” he said. “Seriously, if Peter Angelos and George Soros were the owners of our two teams in this area — oh, my goodness.”

Ed Brookover, former National Republican Congressional Committee political director, finds it “mind-boggling to think about the biggest socialist around becoming an owner of a capitalist enterprise, a Major League Baseball team, in the nation’s capital. … In fact, I would not think Major League Baseball would want that controversial an owner in this town.”

Tracey Schmitt, Republican National Committee spokeswoman, said of the Bush-bashing leftist’s attempt to buy Washington’s team, “Since he has failed at both grass-roots politics and legalizing grass, we’re not surprised he is spreading some more of his own green in a new endeavor.”

But Beltway conservatives wouldn’t boycott a Soros team, said R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., editor in chief of the American Spectator.

“The difference with liberals is that they have the political libidos of a nymphomaniac while conservatives have practically no political libido. Conservatives don’t see everything as political. We’ll go to the baseball game and not pay attention to who owns the team, though I suppose it would make a difference if the Nazis or the communists owned it. George Soros isn’t that extreme — just short of it,” he said.


The Congress of Racial Equality yesterday criticized the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights for its new ad campaign attacking California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown.

CORE ran its own ad last week supporting the nomination of Justice Brown to be a federal appeals court judge.

“Janice Rogers Brown is being attacked by the Leadership Conference for one reason and one reason only, because she is a black woman who has dared to stray from the liberal plantation,” said CORE national spokesman Niger Innis.

“It has always been considered racist to believe that all blacks look alike, yet the Leadership Conference and their allies in Congress want to reinforce the myth that all blacks must think alike. If they dare do otherwise, they will be ostracized and attacked.”

Liberalism in crisis

“Forgive me for making a blunt and obvious point, but events in Western Europe are slowly discrediting large swaths of American liberalism,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes.

“Most of the policy ideas advocated by American liberals have already been enacted in Europe: generous welfare measures, ample labor protections, highly progressive tax rates, single-payer health care systems, zoning restrictions to limit big retailers, and cradle-to-grave middle-class subsidies supporting everything from child care to pension security. And yet far from thriving, continental Europe has endured a lost decade of relative decline,” Mr. Brooks said.

“Western Europeans seem to be suffering a crisis of confidence. Election results, whether in North Rhine-Westphalia or across France and the Netherlands, reveal electorates who have lost faith in their leaders, who are anxious about declining quality of life, who feel extraordinarily vulnerable to foreign competition — from the Chinese, the Americans, the Turks, even the Polish plumbers.”

Mr. Brooks added: “The liberal project of the postwar era has bred a stultifying conservatism, a fear of dynamic flexibility, a greater concern for guarding what exists than for creating what doesn’t.

“That’s a truth that applies just as much on this side of the pond.”

Jersey voters

This year’s race for governor of New Jersey “finds the residents of the Garden State in a surly mood,” Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund writes.

“Personal and financial scandals forced Democrat Jim McGreevey to resign last year, and the recent release of taped conversations between a South Jersey Democratic boss and other pols have only deepened a public perception that the state’s local governments are dominated by a public-sector version of the Soprano family,” Mr. Fund said.

“But none of this compares with the public anger over the state’s highest-in-the country property taxes. Already 50 percent higher than the national average, they are going up 7 percent a year to keep pace with constantly growing local budgets and a state debt burden that is the third-highest in the country. An activist state Supreme Court has taken over distribution of a large chunk of property taxes and directed 60 percent of it to failing urban school districts. But none of that extra money appears to be improving education.

“Next Tuesday, Republicans will select someone to challenge the certain Democratic candidate, Sen. Jon Corzine. A human ATM who spent $63 million of his own money to narrowly win a U.S. Senate seat, Mr. Corzine now vows to spend ‘whatever it takes’ so he can take over the governor’s mansion. But while he has both bucks and name recognition, he hasn’t closed the sale with voters. …

“New Jersey has a reputation as a solidly blue state, with Democrats controlling all statewide offices. But that very dominance also makes the party vulnerable to an angry electorate that wants change. And the state itself may be changing politically. Last year, President Bush gained 6 percentage points in New Jersey over his 2000 tally, winning three congressional districts he had lost to Al Gore.”

Nixon nostalgia

The national news media need a modern-day “Deep Throat” to reveal how President Bush misled America on Iraq, former presidential contender George McGovern said yesterday.

“We need someone like that who is highly placed to tell us what’s really going on. We know that we were misled on Iraq,” the Democratic former senator from South Dakota told Fox News Radio.

Mr. McGovern unsuccessfully ran against Richard Nixon for the White House in 1972.

“This war in Iraq, in my opinion, is worse than anything Nixon did,” Mr. McGovern added.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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