Deja Vu All Over Again
I refer the right honorable readers to the first post on this blog.
Although I have been skeptical that baseball in D.C. would happen all along, the actuality of the foul-up is still stunning. I heard on the radio that Linda Cropp has said she wanted "respect" from MLB. (From Mark Plotkin, available here) Well, there are two types of "respect", the kind that prompts people to shake your hand and the kind, that bullies and the Mob use, that prompts people to stay off your turf. I'll let you guess which one I think she earned last night. And Las Vegas is pretty far away from her turf.
But let's not be distracted by the focus on Linda Cropp. From a dispassionate view, I find it hard to argue that last night's festivities were not just democracy in action, if you think democracy is giving the people what they want. For a host of reasons, the public support for this deal was wanting, and the vote last night reflected it. You might think that Cropp's move would hurt her politically -- I think it will actually help her in the long run. Marc Fisher in the Post gets it about right in trying to explain the District:
This city is pathologically averse to change, captive to deep anxieties about race, class and the urban-suburban and District-federal divides. Baseball was an opportunity to rise above those strains, to reach for world-class status, to lure suburbanites back into a view of Washington as the center, a place of pride.The leaders of D.C. (including Mayor Williams) had to lead here. They had rise above simply being a mouthpiece for their constituents and explain why this deal was in the best interest of the city in the long-term, not just short-term. They failed to do that. Moreover, the people of D.C. did not do much to make this happen either, they instead viewed it all with a suspicion and paranoia that is characteristic. D.C. has had a sad history of leaders who don't actually lead, and a citizenry who don't hold them accountable, and who both sacrifice long-term benefit for short-term, parochial interests. That history continues today.