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Unsporting



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One of the features of this Congress (and, for that matter, most congresses) is their willingness to stick their noses into where they have no place to be. There’s no better example of this than the question of steroids in sports, something that has also been the subject of presidential pontificating.

Over at Fox News Radley Balko takes this story and, well, runs with it. This, in particular, is well worth repeating:

“The notion of Congress “cleaning up” another institution is laughable. Likewise, Rep. Davis and fellow baseball antagonists say steroids and amphetamines give athletes an “unfair advantage” over the competition. Never mind that after the 2000 census, Davis led efforts to gerrymander his own congressional district to ensure he’d never need to worry about re-election. Due to gerrymandering, Davis ran unopposed in 2002, as did one in five of his congressional colleagues.Davis also recently sneaked a provision into federal legislation that prevented an apartment complex from going up in his district because, according to the Washington Post, he feared it would bring too many Democrats into the area. And as head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, Davis fought to similarly gerrymander Republican districts across the country, effectively giving many voters just one candidate to choose from.


“As for McCain, he’s responsible for putting limits on campaign spending that will make it even more difficult for challengers to knock off incumbents in the House and Senate. Such efforts make it more difficult for voters to hold the GOP accountable when, for example, its party leaders prove to be corrupt. While opinion polls show the public’s approval of Congress consistently hovers around 40 percent, 98 percent of incumbents won re-election in 2004. According to a Cato Institute study by Patrick Basham and Dennis Polhill, “90 percent of Americans live in congressional districts where the outcome is so certain that their votes are irrelevant.” So it’s difficult to take politicians like Davis and McCain seriously when they talk about healthy competition and unfair advantages. If a slugger has indeed been using steroids, he may well have cheated opposing pitchers of a fair duel, or paying customers of a level baseball game. But politicians like Davis do all they can to cheat voters out of honest elections and electoral accountability. Which is worse?


Indeed.




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