This week marks the four words that signal the unofficial start of spring: “Pitchers and catchers report.” But with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives last month, they should be accompanied this year by four other words: “Gentlemen, start your subpoenas.”
Over the latter part of this week, pitchers and catchers will head southward, as training camp opens for each of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs. (The rest of the teams’ rosters will report early next week.) But after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred sided with partisan Democrats and moved the 2021 All-Star Game away from Atlanta over Georgia’s voting law, Republican lawmakers should ensure that he will spend March 30 — baseball’s Opening Day — testifying before them about his actions two years ago.
Manfred Buckled Under Political Pressure
During the opening week of the 2021 baseball season, Manfred announced that MLB was moving the All-Star Game and the professional draft away from Georgia over the voting law the state had recently passed. The move came one day after Biden said he “strongly supported” moving the Midsummer Classic over the law, which he called “Jim Crow on steroids.”
The article on MLB’s website discussing the decision to move the game specifically quoted Biden’s statements attacking the Georgia law, along with praise from athletes like LeBron James and Magic Johnson (part owners of MLB clubs). It did not include any statements from supporters of the Georgia measure. It also claimed without evidence that the “law includes a number of elements that will make it harder to vote.”
But very few if any of those supposed effects ever showed up.
Early voting turnout exceeded prior elections in Georgia, both in the 2022 midterm election and in the subsequent Senate runoff. According to a University of Georgia poll taken last month, voters of all races showed high levels of satisfaction with the voting process, citing low wait times and ease of voting at the polls. While almost three-fourths (72.5 percent) of African Americans surveyed said the law made “no difference” on how they cast a ballot, nearly three times more African Americans said the law made it easier to vote (19.1 percent) than said it was harder to vote (6.9 percent). A controversial provision in the Georgia law that increased state oversight of county election boards actually helped to accelerate voter improvements in Fulton County, by prompting a heretofore unorganized county office to get its proverbial act together without the need for a state takeover.
Georgia’s voting law represents but the latest instance where a law that the radical left claims will prompt Armageddon turns into a veritable nothingburger. But conservatives in Congress shouldn’t allow the individuals and groups who demonized Georgia officials over the voting law to let the left’s incendiary rhetoric escape down the memory hole.
Call MLB to Testify
That’s where the House Republican takeover, and with it the power to summon witnesses, comes in handy. Lawmakers should subpoena Manfred on March 30 to appear at a hearing on the Georgia measure, and ask him:
Did you read the Georgia law before moving the All-Star Game?
Did you speak to any supporters of the Georgia law prior to making the decision to move the game?
Do you believe any of the concerns you referenced materialized in the 2022 elections? If so, what are those concerns, and where is the documentary evidence to support them? If not, are you willing to admit that the claims made by opponents of the law have proven inaccurate?
Do you wish to apologize to the people of Georgia, who lost out on business when the All-Star Game got moved, for your actions?
Given the way Manfred showboated before the woke mob two years ago, lawmakers are completely within their rights to compel him to appear on Opening Day — when the nation’s attention will be most fixed on baseball — and force him to spend time defending his actions in Georgia, instead of celebrating the sport on the field. For that matter, they should call him back at the time of this year’s All-Star Game in July, and during the World Series this fall.
Make the Left Eat Its Words
And Congress shouldn’t stop there, either. They should call in executives of companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, Georgia-based firms that loudly opposed the voting law, to see if they wish to “revise and extend” their remarks from two years ago. And they should ask athletes like LeBron James whether his fears about the Georgia law proved unfounded. (For that matter, they should ask James what he thinks about the situation in China while they’re at it.)
The woke left loves publicly embarrassing (some would call it humiliating) those who disagree with its ideology, by asking people “whether they wish to apologize” for their supposed thought crimes. Conservatives should not attack people simply due to their beliefs, but when they make outrageous claims that don’t come true, as in the case of the Georgia law, you better believe that we should hold the left to account. Congress, it’s time to get to work.