Friday, Senate thugs Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn issued an edict to sports organizations: If you help the administration promote Obamacare, we will destroy your reputation. Or something. Via TPM:
The letters, dated June 27, warn the chiefs of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and NASCAR that partnering with the administration to publicize the benefits of the health care law would damage their reputations.
Not content to leave it there, they went on:
We have long been concerned by the Obama Administration’s record of using the threat of policy retaliation to solicit support for its policies or to silence its critics. Should the administration or its allies suggest that there will be any policy consequence for your decision not to participate in their outreach efforts, we urge you to resist any such pressure and to contact us immediately so that we may conduct appropriate oversight.
I always love it when thugs try to pin their thuggery on other people. The Senate thugs are not alone. Rep. Steve Scalise, Chairman of the ultra-right wing Republican Study Committee, sent out a query to the NFL and NBA:
“Given the harmful impact on millions of your fans and the people of southeast Louisiana, coupled with the Obama Administration’s failure to meet the deadlines established to stand up their own law, I would caution you against being coerced into doing their dirty work for them,” Scalise wrote. “Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you’re uncomfortable responding in writing due to concerns about inappropriate or unwelcomed pressure from the Administration to cooperate with the implementation of [Obamacare].”
Oh, please do reach out to him. Kiss his ring, too. The NFL took the threats seriously, and bowed to Republican bullies immediately.
Asked about the congressional letter, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had not made any commitment to the administration.
“We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the health-care law’s] implementation,” he said in an e-mail.
This isn't a surprise to me. Teams owned by billionaires who give lots of billionaire money to right wing candidates aren't likely to resist a thug threat to stay out of the Obamacare public relations efforts. But the obvious and forthright thuggery tells me that Republicans are sweating bullets over Obamacare. Good. They should be. I hope its implementation leaves them marginalized for decades to come.