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LeBron James -- Democratic donor, tea party helper and more

By Garance Franke-Ruta

LeBron James's decision to sign with the Miami Heat wouldn't at first blush seem to have a lot of political implications, but that hasn't stopped politicians from trash-talking his choice or bloggers from looking for underlying political angles.

"How can you tie in transparency to LeBron James' mid-career migration to Miami?" asks the Sunlight Foundation's Paul Blumenthal in a blog post Friday.

Easy enough, apparently.

"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, James contributed $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2008 election," he reports.

One Democrat James is interested in going head to head with is also famous for his moves on the court -- President Obama, who had been rooting for James to join his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls.

"I think President Obama would hold his own. I've seen him shoot the ball -- he's a lefty, too. You know, pretty much all lefties can shoot," James pronounced on ESPN after his much-anticipated announcement last night. "He's worked on his game a lot; I've seen him playing with the North Carolina University also. So I think he'll hold his own."

Meanwhile, the Atlantic's Josh Green thinks James's move from Cleveland to Florida "helps the Tea Party," not the man in the White House.

How's that?

His argument, based on what he saw at the Fourth of July parade in Friendswood, Tex.:

There were four tents on the parade concourse with political themes: Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, and Glenn Beck's 9-12 outfit. The first two were nearly empty; the latter two were jammed with people, so I hung out there talking to them. They were angry about a lot of stuff, but the unifying theme was their feeling that they were on the losing end of things, and to hell with the system that had put them there.
Back to Ohio. The unemployment rate is well above the national average, nearly 11 percent. The state's manufacturing base has been decimated, and those jobs aren't coming back. And now, suddenly, the biggest star in the state -- an economic engine in his own right, and a guy who probably single-handedly made Cleveland a recognizable sports mecca all over the world -- has forsaken its residents. And not just forsaken them, but utterly humiliated them by forsaking them on a globally televised ESPN special!
Would you be angry? I sure would be. And I'd be that much more amenable to the "tea party" message that everything is going to hell.

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) may not be a tea partier, but he sure was steamed after James decided to forgo a career with local teams the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

"When LeBron decides he wants to play in a major-league city, he can look us up," Weiner said after James announced his decision. "New York City has a combined 51 championship titles. LeBron has zero. No biggie."

Also, do yourself a favor and check out the Cleveland Plain Dealer's front page today. Masterful.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  July 9, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Cast of Characters  
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Comments

Knicks fans who also happen to be right-wing complainers; what a bunch of losers. The Knicks haven't been a competitve team in probably 15 years, and the right-wingers have never had a legitimate candidate for any national office. Their high water mark was planting Dick Cheney to tell Bush what to do, and the results speak for themselves.

Posted by: RuEb10 | July 10, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Garance Franke-Ruta and Josh Greeen -- apparently don't have enough to do. Just because you repeat made up bs doesn't make it fact. Lebron going to Miami helps only Miami. Go get yourself a new tinfoil hat guys.

Posted by: youfunny100 | July 9, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey jbowen431, You do realize that the Democrats have been in control of Congress for almost 4 years now and that they have had complete control of all legislative and executive power for almost 2 years. In the November 2006 election when the Democrats won the majority, unemployment was 4.5%. The Dow was at 12000 points. The federal deficit was $260 Billion. The U.S. Debt was $8.5 Trillion. Today unemployment is 9.5%, Dow at 10,198, federal deficit at $1 Trillion, U.S. debt is $13.182 Trillion. Are you sure Republicans are the ones to blame?

Posted by: Childrex | July 9, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Where are Woodward and Bernstein when they are most needed to strengthen WaPo's integrity.

It is revealing about WaPo's lack of integrity now, that it can find time/space to write about James -- but none at all to discuss the worst possible action taken by Obama's Department of Justice (DOJ): its woeful handling of the already-won voter intimidation suit against the New Black Panther organization.

No penalty for the organization. No punishment at all for two of the guilty New Black Panthers. A slap on the wrist for the New Black Panther who brandished a police night stick in front of a Philadelphia polling place in November, 2008 and who verbally threatened both white and black voters and poll watchers.

A whistle blower, a lawyer who worked at DOJ appeared on the Fox Network and accused the Obama administration and Eric Holder of having a policy of not bringing any suits on behalf of white plaintiffs if the defendants are African-Americans or Hispanics. In other words, race-based injustice.

What a terrible miscarriage of justice. And WaPo shows its lack of integrity by ignoring it and not trying to assure equal justice under the law for all Americans.

Yes, where are Woodward and Bernstein? They are drastically needed at WaPo.

Posted by: RonKH | July 9, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"Would you be angry?"
Sure I would, and I would be smart enough to direct my anger at the people who caused this mess, and who continue to fight against a recovery. That would be the republicans and Fox News.

Posted by: jbowen431 | July 9, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"What's funnier is he chose Miami partially because he can take less money from the Heat because he's NOT PAYING state income tax, so he isn't really hurt by his move to Florida."

You seriously buy that load of nonsense, and accuse James of being a mental "giant?"

Posted by: kreuz_missile | July 9, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Responding to blog comments, Josh Green says his Lebron-announcement-helps-the-Tea-Party post is a "parody" (of the media?) and a "joke." http://tinyurl.com/36ch47b Whatever it is, no one will mistake it for his best piece of humor or political analysis.

Posted by: hungrypug | July 9, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

It's laughable a mental "giant" like LeBron is a Democrat - what a surprise!

What's funnier is he chose Miami partially because he can take less money from the Heat because he's NOT PAYING state income tax, so he isn't really hurt by his move to Florida.

So, he's a TAX REFUGEE and a hypocrite - the money comes out about the same as if he had signed with the Knicks. New York chased him away with HIGH LIBERAL TAXES! LOL!!

Posted by: jamesb3 | July 9, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

LOL to Rep. Anthony Weinie's response!!!

Posted by: forgetthis | July 9, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

One race he could definitely influence is the FL senate race. If he backs Meeks, it probably would not give Meeks a win, but would hurt Crist badly and likely ensure Rubio wins. If he would back Crist it would greatly enhance Crist's chances of winning.

Posted by: chucko2 | July 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, The Decision has been made, but this is a hilarious article mocking the process.

LeBron James announces that he will buy the Miami Heat, endorse the New York Knicks, marry two of the LA Clippers’ Spirit Dancers in a Utah ceremony in August, become Executive Vice President of Mining and Distribution for Polyus Gold (NJ Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s gold empire) and play basketball part-time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Read the FUNNY article here:


http://www.dailygoat.com/2010/07/lebron-james-gives-thanks-god-signing-10-year-100m-endorsement-deal-heaven/

Posted by: eye95 | July 9, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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