Cobb County Republicans don’t all agree on Braves stadium, and this is news to some people

Look out! It’s Republican-on-Republican violence in Cobb County!

A deal for hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to draw the Atlanta Braves north of their downtown home is pitting conservative tea party activists against the elected and civic leaders in the staunch Republican county, with opponents saying the use of public money to help a private business is not what American capitalism should be about…

It’s all “appalling hypocrisy” and “arrogance,” [Atlanta Tea Party leader Debbie] Dooley explained, particularly from the four Republican commissioners who pitch their conservative credentials and champion the idea of a free market. Dooley and other tea partiers typically associate active, expensive government with Democrats, but it was the commission’s lone Democrat who cast the only dissenting vote.

Cheap irony aside, this isn’t actually surprising at all: As Kevin Delaney and Rick Eckstein found in Public Dollars, Private Stadiums, party affiliation has pretty much no correlation with whether local politicians will support a sports subsidy project. When push comes to shove, elected officials of all stripes can turn to “economic development” or “job creation” as justification for these deals, and usually do, for reasons I’ve gone into before. And the Cobb Tea Party (which is a branch of Dooley’s Atlanta Tea Party, apparently) has already previously teamed up with the local Sierra Club chapter to oppose the stadium project, so you’d think the “strange bedfellows” angle would be played out by now.

If it’s marginally less cheap irony you want, you may prefer the fact that John Malone, the CEO of Braves corporate owner Liberty Media, sits on the board of the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank that has savaged stadium deals as a waste of public money. (Though, to be fair, Cato also thinks this about early childhood education.) I haven’t yet seen any reporter question Malone about how he reconciles his opposition to government subsidies for business with his request for $300 million in government subsidies for his business, but I’m sure the nation’s journalists will get around to that, as soon as they’re finished watching Cobb County Republican Smackdown.

5 comments on “Cobb County Republicans don’t all agree on Braves stadium, and this is news to some people

  1. Actually, to be fair, the linked Cato article is an opinion piece that notes a DHHS study found early childhood education (Head Start) to not improve results.

    I love this site, but it could stand to be a little less political at times.

  2. Cobb County has opened a big ol’ can of worms with the Braves subsidies. The Weather Channel, which for decades has been located in Cobb County, is threatening to move if the county doesn’t build them a new parking deck or come up with other incentives. If Cobb gives in to The Weather Channel, you can bet every other large business in the county is going to come knocking for their share of the taxpayer pie.

  3. Ideology doesn’t mean much when “you get yours”, that’s why everything’s in such good shape these days eh?
    That goes for both sides.

  4. Yeah there are mixed results about the effects of early childhood education. Heckman won a Nobel Prize for applied econometrics, and he loves them, but there are many articles published at elite academic journals with empirical evidence to the contrary. Their overall record is no better than, say, charter schools.

  5. I could have picked Medicare, or foreign aid, or disaster relief. My point is just that the list of government expenses that Cato sees as “waste” is a long one:

    Not that they’re wrong about all of it, but it is kind of their shtick.