We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Howard University political science professor Charles Wesley Harris couldn’t have picked a worse time to release Congress and the Governance of the Nation’s Capital (Georgetown University Press), his thoughtful analysis of the District’s governance crisis. With local politicians floundering and Congress on the verge of appointing a financial control board, the last thing anyone wants to hear is an academic arguing that D.C. needs more home rule, not less. Undeterred, Harris writes that D.C.’s shortcomings stem not just from local incompetence, but from a conflict of interest with the feds. Yet he acknowledges that D.C. should not be a state: The national government would lose control over its capital city if D.C. attained statehood. Harris concludes that the best capital cit ies, such as Brasilia, strike a balance between national and local rule, protecting the feds’ interests but granting representation in the national legislature. This hardly constitutes a revelation, but Harris’ careful prose lends credibility to the D.C.-rights movement—even if Congress is too busy dismantling home rule to listen.