From George Washington's dream of a great national city along the Potomac to John F. Kennedy's grand plan for Pennsylvania Avenue, the District of Columbia has always been a Rorschach for the fantasies of the powerful.
A few recent developments reveal a great deal about the civic dreams of 21st century Republicans. They yearn for Washington to be a city where citizens can't vote, are well-armed and where Democrats can't own the baseball team. Gee, it sounds like heaven.
Washingtonians have never been allowed a federal vote, but at least we now have a baseball team. What the team lacks is an owner. But lots of groups are trying to buy the Nationals now. One of them includes mega-zillionaire George Soros, who gives some of his zillions to Democrats and leftie causes.
Letting a guy like that in was over the top for some Republicans in Congress. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., suggested that allowing a lefty, foreign creep like Soros to get a slice of the Nats could lead to a "political fight." He even suggested that Congress could snatch away baseball's sacred anti-trust exemption. His staff has reeled that notion back. Rep. John Sweeney, R-NY, speculated that a Soros-owned team could kiss any hope of public stadium financing help good-bye.
Guys who own baseball teams tend to have big opinions and spending habits. A fellow named George W. Bush used to own a good chunk of the Texas Rangers. George Steinbrenner once made illegal campaign gifts to Richard Nixon. A man named Colin Powell is a member of one of the groups trying to buy the Nationals. So is Fred Malek, who as an aide for Richard Nixon once compiled a list of all the Jews working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But no George Soros for Contract with America Republicans. Not in our nation's capital. For several years, Republicans led by Tom Delay have run something called the K Street project that tries to pressure lobbying firms to hire Republicans, not Democrats. This of course collides with the sacred right of politicos to cash in. I suppose they're just applying the same muscle to baseball.