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Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen must have grown a pair in the last 29 years.

This past Sunday, Nov. 23, just hours after Marion Barry’s sudden death, Cohen tried to lay claim to being responsible for sticking Hizzoner with the title “Mayor-for-Life” and making it part of the local and national dialogue whenever the subject of the mayor of D.C. came up.

“In July 1985, I called him ‘Mayor for Life’ (though others have claimed it),” Cohen wrote. “The appellation stuck.”

Amazing that Cohen waited so long to make his claim. This is like the unknown heir of a rich, dead relative suddenly showing up with a will that names him as sole heir to the estate, a will that no one has seen before. Even Barry did not acknowledge Cohen’s claim in his memoir, which credited Loose Lips as the source for the title of his book.

But we can settle this like two honorable pundits. I propose a face-off at the National Press Club in January or February to heat up the winter months. Mr. Cohen, you can pick the date, and I will set it up. Jack Shafer can moderate, and the crowd there that night will decide.

I will bring my hundreds of columns in which I used the moniker as part of Barry’s full name on first reference every time, and you can bring your puny July 1985 column about dreaming of Marion Barry still being mayor in 1998. I will even blow up a printout of it for you to make it seem like less of a mismatch.

Are you in, Richard?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery