What's In Your Wallet?: D.C. Council chairman candidate Kwame Brown hopes voters don't care about his debts. Credit: Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Get our free newsletter

So the big news today, as LL is sure you’re aware, is that Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown has taken away Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells‘ beloved transportation and public works committee, only six months after Wells took it over.

Why? Well, Brown says it’s because he has a “unique opportunity” to rearrange the council’s committees that “effectively [consolidates] areas of similar interest.” Everyone else, it seems, says it’s because Brown is pissed at Wells for a host of reasons (including Wells’ investigation of Navigatorgate).

Which brings us to the topic of this post: The ham-handed way Brown handled the move with the media.

Observe: Brown tells Wells last night around 9 p.m. about his plans. Wells then promptly takes the story to the friendly Greater Greater Washington blog, which breaks the news around 7 a.m. in a post that casts Brown as a vengeful hack trying to punish Wells for having the audacity to investigate l’affaire Navigator.

Brown is then caught flat-footed trying to explain the move to a skeptical media. Brown’s inability to put the story out first himself,  with his own spin (“Kwame makes council committees more effective!”), shows a real lack of awareness of how narratives are formed in politics. After all, this shouldn’t have caught Brown off guard; it was his decision that set the whole thing in motion.

Now the story that everyone’s chattering about has Brown playing politics and Wells becoming a good-government martyr. LL can’t help but think that a more sophisticated pol would have found a way to handle this move better.

Then again, maybe there is no good way to spin a major committee reshuffling six months after the last one.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery