Republicans Tout Congressional Softball Game Win as Harbinger of Political Victory
Every year, Democrats and Republicans in Congress face off in a friendly softball game that is supposed to be an apolitical activity to encourage comradery between normally partisan lawmakers. In normal times, the charity match receives little ado in the press; the last time it generated major headlines was in 2017 when Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), the current House Minority Whip, was injured along with three others in a shootout.
This year’s game, which took place on Wednesday at National’s Park in Washington DC, has caught some extra attention too, thanks to the Republicans eking out a narrow 13-12 victory over their Democratic colleagues.
The winners are now boasting that it should be treated as a harbinger of political triumphs to come in the ongoing stalemate over President Joe Biden’s agenda as well as the GOP’s refusal to fund the federal government and raise the debt ceiling.
Roll Call correspondent Jim Saksa attended the event and noticed that Republicans were all too happy to revel in their on-field success.
“At the end of the day, I’m deeming this game as socialism versus capitalism. It’s a game, but let me tell you: If we win tomorrow night, we’ll send a message for November,” said Congressman Roger Williams, Republican of Texas, in reference to next year’s midterm elections.
“This is some of the best parts of Congress, I think,” said Representative Kevin Brady, another Texas Republican. “Not only getting to know your teammates, but players on the other team, Democrats. You share the love of baseball — it’s a great game. And I’ve made great friends on both sides now because of this game.”
But Saksa noted that the tensions from the “intense political brinksmanship” on Capitol Hill loomed heavy over the entire affair.
“Such singing the praises of bipartisan tradition strikes a discordant note next to the intense political brinkmanship currently unfolding in Congress, where the parties are already trading recriminations over the possibilities of another government shutdown or an unprecedented sovereign debt default. Meanwhile, an ominous anti-democratic theme runs under that cacophony, as some Republicans continue to repeat lies about the validity of last year’s election,” he wrote.